Here’s a conversation that never, ever happens:
“So I learned some great stuff this week and it’s going to improve my life and make me so much better at my job.”
BuzzFeed is seemingly no one’s go-to place to learn anything important or useful. It’s where they go for listicles and cat gifs and weird videos that you will NOT BELIEVE.
But not so fast. You actually can learn something from BuzzFeed, and not just your level of post-hipsterness. English teachers use it to keep up with popular book trends. Marketers analyze and adapt BuzzFeed’s successful strategies. We may not expect to learn from BuzzFeed, but it can happen if we look for it and stay open to the possibility.
On Thursday, September 22, technology professionals can experience this for themselves at MarketplaceLIVE, a tech conference unlike any other. Tired of dull panels endlessly rehashing stuff you already discussed last week on Reddit? Good, because there won’t be any at MarketplaceLIVE. Instead, there will be endless opportunities to connect and learn from the community.
Keynoting the event this year is BuzzFeed’s founder and CEO, Jonah Peretti. Peretti’s own career began with an email exchange with Nike that went viral. A friend told him he could never recreate that occurrence, and it got him thinking about what makes ideas spread. He connected a chance occurrence with what he was learning at the MIT Media Lab and his own passions, and now we have the phenomenon that is Buzzfeed.
Peretti’s story is a great example of the kind of learning that is so critical to technology professionals today. It is not enough to have academic knowledge. To innovate, we need to let that knowledge bump into ideas from outside our particular context. It’s what Frans Johansson calls “The Medici Effect”: bringing together many people with different ideas and perspectives and letting them collide to create innovation.
This is precisely what MarketplaceLIVE will do in New York on September 22. The organizers promise that through breakout sessions, Interconnection Meetups, and an epic Hackathon contest, attendees will leave with at least two new connections and an idea to put into practice the next day.
Another unexpected place for learning is through the prototyping process. Educator and technologist Steve Dembo tells of a visit he made to the simulation lab at Northwestern Hospitals. In this multi-million dollar lab where doctors experience the authentic look, feel, and sound of an emergency room in a controlled environment, Dembo happened to see one doctor’s desk covered with a bunch of rubber bands, a golf ball, and some 3D-printed plastic objects. Joking about what the doctor was doing in his spare time, he was surprised to learn that the objects were the prototype for a shoulder joint simulation.
“Golf ball. Rubber bands. Plastic parts off a 3d printer,” says Dembo. “He’s doing exactly the same type of prototyping our students are doing in their makerspaces. Trying it out, iterating, and using whatever pieces he happens to have at hand.” In other words: learning.
An expert at using whatever pieces she happens to have at hand is the “Queen of Shitty Robots,” Simone Giertz, who will lead a Bad Prototype Party in the afternoon at MarketplaceLIVE to illustrate what can be learned, even from an awful prototype.
In addition to Peretti and Giertz, MarketplaceLIVE brings more than a dozen other speakers and innovators, a Digital Reality Lounge to experience cutting edge VR while participants network with each other, and a workshop by the New York Network Operators Group on interconnection. The day wraps up with a Rooftop After Party with appetizers, cocktails, and even more networking.
Attendees at MarketplaceLIVE will surely go back to work the next day saying, “So I learned some great stuff yesterday and it’s going to improve my life and make me so much better at my job. I can’t wait to tell you about it all.”
For more info on MarketplaceLIVE 2016 and to register visit: https://marketplacelive2016.splashthat.com
MARKETPLACELIVE INFO/REGISTRATION: MarketplaceLIVE 2016
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