The 100 Years Club Installment #35: Hanging With the “AV Guys”Reading Time: 3 minutes
I just came back from one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended — Blueprint.
Although it lacked the free samples of the Fancy Food Show, I was able to feed my brain with so many new insights about the real estate and construction industries and how technology is transforming them.
When I was in school, science was a “boy’s thing,” and technology was still in its infancy. I never really learned how science and math fit into everyday life. The entire AV (audio-visual) squad was comprised of dudes who knew how to operate the projectors.
But fast-forward to today.
Sadly, not enough women are getting into the proptech (property technology) space, but that’s starting to slowly change, and I sat in on a great lunch about the women of proptech. We’re a feisty and forward-thinking bunch. But enough feminist cheerleading. Here are the conference highlights:
With 2,000+ people in attendance, finding those you want to meet can be tricky. But…
- The technology that Blueprint used to enable people to meet was terrific. The event app was super easy to use. And you just pushed the buttons on the devices on the back of your badges, and poof — a new contact! We were even using it at the after-party for those of us geeky enough to bring/wear our badges at night.
- The VC “Open House” was a great way for early-stage companies to get face time with investors.
- Live meeting opportunities abounded, and I was reminded of how karmic connections can’t always be pre-planned. Cocktail hours, lunches, a bar on the show floor, conference sessions, and a spectacular after-party (featuring CeeLo Green) gave attendees lots of ways to meet each other.
New and Next
Events like this are a great way for companies to showcase innovations. I can’t possibly list them all, but among my faves were:
- Bubl, a company that designs and manufactures private workspaces for open-plan spaces, co-working environments, and homes. I love the fact that the desk moves up and down (and can even be a standing desk). It’s customizable and it doesn’t feel claustrophobic.
- Saltbox provides shared warehousing space for fast-scaling businesses. It’s the co-working manufacturing operation.
- Groundfloor allows non-accredited investors (like me) to dabble in real estate. They even gave me $100 (in the form of a redeemable poker chip with a QR code) to start my portfolio! Great concept AND clever swag.
- Bellhop is using tech to disrupt (and remove stress from) the moving process. As someone who’s moved multiple times in the past ten years, I was thrilled to see it!
- Placer.ai. Data is everywhere. And today’s businesses need it more than ever, especially when figuring out how to succeed in the brick-and-mortar world. You’ll be hearing more about them in my Street Fight column.
I loved the fact that the event organizers offered a variety of booth options for companies at all stages. A big obstacle to start-ups has always been the cost of exhibiting, but “tiny house” booths abounded, and some of the VCs supported their companies by hosting them at the show.
All Work and No Play Sucks, So…
What trade show excursion would be complete without a little playtime? Just as in school, we need recess. When I wasn’t on the show floor or in a conference session, where was I?
- A fun happy hour hosted by Gutter Capital, where I got to speak with their start-up/scale-up companies (like DEN and BuildCasa) and the other guests.
- The ultimate after-party at a club (co-hosted by REACH) was a great opportunity to meet, sing, imbibe, and dance but still get back to my hotel at a decent hour.
- I drove to Vegas with my new Arizona friend, Sarah Richardson, and we arrived a day early to enjoy a typical Vegas pool party (my first). We also made a great tag team on the show floor and made lots of new connections for her AI-powered start-up for realtors.
- I even squeezed in some time for the gym, the pool, and a massage before the show kicked off!
So, although I was never a “science girl” in my youth, I am now officially a member of the cool kids club, thanks to the brilliant David Hirschman, who I’ve known for almost a decade. He is committed to building and programming (pun intended) intelligent and meaningful media experiences for professionals in both the online and real world.