It’s Coming! DC Week 2011

Digital Capital Week is a major event in the DC area.  With only one year under its belt, DC Week has become the premier technology event in our nation’s capital and has events ranging from parties to panels to workshops.  I was able to attend some of the events last year and was super impressed with what I saw.  I was able to meet some great people and learn a lot about technology and how I could become involved. 

This year is no different.  With tons of events happening, there is an event for every experienced and novice techie.  I definitely plan appearing at different events, such as Benevolent Media Kickoff, DJ-ital Brew & AutoBridge Mixer, Geek to Chic Fashion Show and After Party, and, of course, the DC Week Closing Party.  Depending on my work schedule, I plan to attend some of the day events. 

For those of you that are interested in attending, I strongly suggest you check out the website at www.digitalcapitalweek.org. Digital Capital Week 2011 is sure to have a plethora of events you don’t want to miss!  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

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Digital Capital Week: Tech Cocktail Party

As I went on vacation with mi familia (and having a blast I might add), my last DC Week event was the Tech Cocktail Party on Thursday, June 17.  I had a great time, was able to get reacquianted with some old friends, and make some new contacts.  The event was sponsored by Bingham Law Firm, who has offices across the country, and Zenzi Communications, which handles various levels of media marketing and was held at Lux Lounge, a premiere location in DC.

Attendees enjoyed complimentary appetizers and received a ticket to receive a drink.  To identify what sector in which you work, attendees were given nametags and stickers; choices included Developer/Designer/Engineer, Recruiter/Human Resources, Entreprenuer, Marketing/PR/Social Media, and Other.  The stickers (and the key) helped you identify who does what and helped in starting conversations with complete strangers.  The first person I met was Renee Turrell of GRT Corporation, based in Atlanta, GA.  With Renee, I came across a first for me, an electronic business card; needless to say I was impressed.  GRT specializes in logos, branding, and marketing for various small businesses and start-up companies.  A friend referred her to the events of DC Week and she was hoping to make some new connections.   Renee even gave me some tips on how I can help build my business; I will definitely be in contact with her to gain some more knowledge!  I also had the pleasure of running into Marcus Finley of Live Liberty, which handles non-profit and social action work.  Live Liberty also works on creating campaigns. Marcus hopes to work begin work on the tech start-up part of his full-time.  He heard about DC Week through a fellow tech start-up “rival”, Mike Romero.  Marcus and Mike, along with some others have a network of small tech start-ups that meet on a regular basis to network and share ideas and events that are taking place that pertain to their industry.  Marcus says there is a little friendly competition among them, but he learns some valuable information.  The second floor was where the Startup Showcase was taking place.  Approximately nine companies were highlighting the things they can do in the tech world for various investors.  (Prior to the event, attendees could complete a sign-up sheet that identified them as a business owner or an investor.)  This was another way that people could network and dialogue on ways to assist each other in the tech world.

I would have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the events of Digital Capital Week that I attended!  I was able to meet some great people, see where I fit in the tech world, and find out where I can help.  I hope you guys were able to attend some of the events, especially the events on Friday and Saturday.   If you attended any of the events during DC Week, please share your experiences.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern Girl…in the city!

This Week in the News

As I will be traveling tomorrow, my weekly news post is coming a day early! (Thank God for family reunions and the beach!)  As usual, here are my musings and opinions of noteworthy things that have occurred this week!

First, Game 7 is tonight!!!  It’s a night we all (well at least some) have been waiting for!  Yes, I am a Celtics fan; Kevin Garnett is my homeboy! (We don’t have each other’s numbers on speed dial, but I did meet him as a teenager at my first job.)  Also, I’m just really not a Kobe fan…but in any event, my money is on the Celtics beating the Lakers. 

For those of you who have been living under a rock, BP is still under fire.  BP testified earlier today in front of the House of Representatives in regards to the ongoing oil spill.  CEO Tony Hayward was very apologetic in his opening remarks to the House Energy Committee.  I really try not to take sides here, lest a political debate be started, but this is a topic that we should all keep an eye on.  So the only thing I will say is just make sure that you are doing your due diligence to keep up with the lastest happenings.

While (briefly) listening to the Tom Joyner Morning Show this morning, I caught the “Little Known Black History Fact”, which was about the African-American slaves who built the Capitol building. (Read details here.)  Democratic and Republican leaders were present to honor those human beings who toiled for 7 years to build the exterior of the Capitol building, and a plaque was unveiled recognizing those people.  I’m happy to know that our current leaders are still acknowledging the work that African-Americans contributed to this country.  As someone who likes to keep up with my Black history, I am glad that I can add this important tidbit to my personal library.

Tupac Shakur would have been 39 years old yesterday.  Various stations in the DC area played select songs the rapper made pretty much all afternoon yesterday.  I enjoyed listening to one mix so much that I told my co-workers that we were going to listen to Tupac in honor of his birthday.  Yeah, not such a great idea.  Unfortunately, the online station we were listening to didn’t play any edited songs, so after one too many, mf’ers, gd’s, and other choice words, I realized that Tupac wasn’t workplace inappropriate, so he had to go.  But we did recognize him!

They did it!!! Just when I thought they would be another couple together forever and never get married, Calista Flockhart and Harrison Ford get married!!!  I am very happy for them!  Yes, being the traditional girl that I am, I love weddings, but more importantly, I love marriages! So I say “Congrats” to Harrison and Calista and wish them many prosperous years together!

Ok, folks, so I know there was something that I missed.  Why don’t you share it with the rest of us!  Just a little FYI, I will be attending the Digital Capital Week 140Tech Party tonight, so I’ll share my perspective with you soon!  Have a great weekend!!! Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

Digital Capital Week: Delivering Happiness

I had the pleasure of attending Tony Hsieh’s book signing for his latest book, “Delivering Happiness”.  Frank Gruber, co-producer of Digital Capital Week, served as the moderator for the event.  During its opening week,  “Delivering Happiness” debuted at #1 on Amazon.com and at Barnes and Noble.  The book mainly discusses how to better create customer satisfaction and how his company (Zappos.com) delivers happiness.

Mr. Hsieh started a pizza making business in college with his roommate.   After graduation, the two friends started LinkExchange.  While they had fun with the company, employees were working around the clock, and it came to a point where Tony dreaded coming to work.   In 1999, LinkExchange was sold to Microsoft for $265 million.  (Yes, you read correctly-265 MILLION DOLLARS!)  He decided to sell the company as the culture went downhill.   The employees were qualified; they just were not good for the company culture.  In 2005 when Tony became the CEO of Zappos.com, he wanted to build a brand that focused on customer service.   Within 4 years, Zappos became the #1 online shoe retailer.  Tony shared that the quality of great companies are a very strong culture and having a concept of a higher purpose.  At Zappos, they have 10 core values, also known as commitable values, meaning that people can be hired or fired based on those values.  Zappos.com also looks out for its employees by providing a comprehensive benefits package and encouraging entry-level hires to work on their personal and professional growth.   It’s Mr. Hsieh’s goal that these new hires can reach senior management level within 5 years.  This young entrepreneur believes it is possible to make customers happy, employees happy, and raise a profit in a successful business.

Mr. Hsieh took the time to answer a few questions from audience members.   He was very forthright and honest with his answers as well, which was very refreshing coming from a CEO of a major company, as one attendee pointed out.  He admitted that his biggest failure was that he hired people to quickly and was slow to fire them, when those should be reversed.  He also admitted that he should have shared his core values on Day 1 instead of waiting 4 or 5 years to share that information with employees.  Another tidbit Mr. Hsieh pointed out was that he encourages his senior level management team to socialize with their employees outside of the workplace.   His experience has shown teams become more productive by increasing their out of work socializing by 10-20%.  Free copies of  “Delivering Happiness” were given to all registered guests; for a donation of $20 to LiveStrong, Mr. Hsieh would even autograph your book!  I had an enjoyable time at the this event and even live-Tweeted from my seat at George Washington University.  One quote that will stay with me for awhile was, “It’s better for co-workers to become friends than friends to become co-workers” meaning it’s not always a good business practice to hire your friend just because they are your friend.  To get more information from Mr. Hsieh purchase the book or visit the book’s site at http://www.deliveringhappinesbook.com.  I know I cannot wait to delve into my copy.  As a budding entrepreneur I would love to hear more of his suggestions on how to create and retain a successful business, be happy, and ensure your employees stay happy.   Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

Digital Capital Week: Opening Party

Everyone loves a good party.  So what better way to start off Digital Capital Week than having one!  An estimated 2,000 party goers attended the Opening Party for Digital Capital Week at the Longview Gallery.  Attendees had the opportunity to party in the actual art gallery, in the fenced in patio,or the alley in between.  There was free beer, wine, and water.  Cool art, videos on wide screens, interactive games, and performers.   My favorite part of the evening had to be the fire-breathing performers.  All you saw were flames and all you felt was heat!  As a self-proclaimed music fanatic, I loved the DJ and the bongo player.  And I must say, I was all too happy when the DJ played “Controversy”!  I had the privilege to meet and hang out with fellow bloggers, videographers, and photographers.  I also had the pleasure to meet and talk to partygoers who were just there to have a good time.   I was able to hone my reporting skills and interview some people, who were more than happy to talk to a complete stranger about their experience.  First, I met Michael, who had just arrived to the party.  He found out about the party that same day by logging on to going.com.  He likes technology and likes jazz, which was being played by a live band at the time, and seemed to be enjoying himself thus far.  Michael is from the DC area and shared the party information with one friend, who was on the way.  Brooks heard about the party through a friend and is absolutely NOT a tech person (YAY, I wasn’t alone!).  She spent time researching the event and arrived with other friends.   Brooks considers herself open-minded and was willing to hear about the other events that were going on this week.  Eric is a tech-savvy person and came to (in his words) “meet tech-savvy smart people”.  (I can’t disagree with him, but he wasn’t going to find that in me!).   Eric found out about the event through pinkline.com.  He knows a lot regarding technology trends and new media social networking.  Ilana’s boyfriend was the curator for the outdoor music (kudos to you, sir!).  Ilana is a contemporary dancer and enjoyed the music and the venue.   Will, who was excited to be featured, is an IT guy.  He’s used to being the guy to always help people, so I think I made his day when I asked him if he wouldn’t mind answering a few questions!   He was excited to see so many technology people coming together and socializing.  His favorite technological devices are the laptop and the internet, which he feels allows people to see and learn about anything.

Yes, your girl was very busy, but I had a great time!   I was able to hang out with some great people, view some cool art, see some great performers, and enjoy a great DJ and live music!  I had a late night, but I was too excited to get up today to hear what Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos.com, had to say regarding “delivering happiness”.   (You’ll see the highlights from that event in my next post! ) If you were one of the cool kids who attended the Opening Party, what did you think?   Was it all that you expected?  Did you have a great time and meet any new people?  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Digital Capital Week

Digital Capital Week is coming to DC!!  Digital Capital Week is scheduled for June 11-20.  The first of its kind in the District, DC Week is essentially an opportunity for all of the techies in the nation’s capital to come together, socialize, bounce ideas off each other, and help the community.  There are numerous events that are being held throughout the District (click here to see the schedule), with most of the events being free.   Be on the lookout for my future posts as I will be an official blogger at three of the events! (Go Southern Girl!)  Don’t worry if you’re not a big tech person; I’m not, but I found multiple events that peaked my interest.  And you can still register for a number of the events, but dont’ take too long; you don’t want to be left out!

Are you technologically savvy?  What’s your favorite technological device to use?  Will you be attending any of the events; if so, which ones?  Until the next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the (technological) city!