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Quick Conference Dash: Tips, Photos & Takeaways
How are you? I hope your week went well.
Thanks for the great feedback on my last news commentary.
Indeed, we’re still deep in what I call “The AI Twilight Zone.”
In the absence of regulations and a frantic arms race to offer AI solutions to people fast - there are some real risks to contend with.
For a deeper dive, watch this nicely done presentation - The AI Dilemma. Yep! From the same folks who did the hyped Social Dilemma documentary on Netflix.
Today, I’d like to share with you something completely different.
A visual diary from attending eMerge Americas a few days ago.
This 2-day event happens every spring and is considered the premier technology conference to transform Miami into a global tech hub.
Arriving at Miami Beach
Being local has its advantages.
Since I had morning meetings I drove to the Miami Beach Convention Center around noon. Half an hour later I got there only to find that the parking lot was full.
I drove around seeing all the nearby streets brimming with a mix of tourists and event attendees with their badges dangling on their chests.
Visually speaking, it always amuses me to see this “fashion narrative” in action.
Event attendees were roughly divided into two groups: those dressing up, likely in leadership roles; vs. those hanging out with jeans, t-shirts, and sneakers, as if saying “Hey we’re in startup country, take it easy!”
I was ready to give up until I found a spot 25 minutes walk from the convention center.
On my way, in the blazing sun, I passed by the Bass Museum and admired the colorful sculpture by the Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone. Miami Mountain (2016).
The strong sun made this 41-foot-tall workpiece - made out of five rocks, painted in a Day-Glo rainbow of colors - shine even brighter.
I liked the interplay between shadow and light areas.
At the Convention Center
I’ve attended eMerge several times already but always happy to visit the Convention Center. You discover new visual treatments like this colorful collage, which for me continued that whimsical colorful theme of the day :)
Like any huge convention center, you need to cross endless canyons of corridors to reach the registration station.
Along the way, I saw some secluded attendees sitting on benches wearing tense “work faces” and chatting on the phone or typing away on their laptops.
I imagined it might be a pressing boss that was likely asking “Did you meet with Joe Hot Prospect? No! Why not???” Or an urgent report that needed to go out and ChatGPT - with all its wonders - still can’t help…
After the long schlep inside, I spotted the registration point surrounded by a pinkish glow as if once you’re signed in you get teleported up to explore the magic of “planet eMerge.”
After typing in my name at the registration, I received my badge and was ready to get whisked up to that famed planet.
The floor was buzzing with attendees, booths, wild music, and chatter - all designed to capture attention and hopefully drive business.
I ran out of space to show you photos, so I’ll let your “Theater of the Mind” conjure your images based on these sound vibes:
I stopped by the booths of three startups I earlier coached on improving their stories for the event pitch deck contest. I was happy to meet them in person after all those Zoom talks, and glad to hear my inputs helped improve their decks and delivery.
After checking out other booths and meeting with friends, I attended a few talks including the main event “Attracting Talent & Creating More Opportunities in Miami-Dade County.”
It’s a topic I feel strongly about as I am also involved in various community initiatives to grow the tech talent in Miami - both as a professional and educator.
Overall, I had a fun time meeting new people - all pushing their stories about new ways to solve problems.
The catch - as always - are you focusing on a nice-to-have or must-have problem?
The visual language all around leveraged attractive booths, demos on visual displays, flyers, verbal discussions, and of course the inevitable tchotchkes (aka branded trinkets) you often end up leaving with.
Through the event app, I was also able to network with people I otherwise would have not bumped into in person. All it took was just posting my profile.
Pull vs. push.
Until next time, use your next event to practice your story, network, and find fresh perspectives about your journey.
It’s those people in those remote outskirts that can make the most impact.