Those of us in the Weber Shandwick Seattle Tech Practice all have our favorite media outlets to get our news from – Ars Technica, Bits Blog or Mashable, to name a few. Personally, I’ve become a daily visitor of GeekWire, the premier technology blog for the Pacific Northwest and one of the most read tech sites in our office. That’s why I was thrilled to attend this year’s GeekWire Summit on behalf of Weber Shandwick Seattle, to listen and learn from the innovators shaping Seattle’s tech scene.
You may not know that Seattle is booming with technology companies and startups. The Puget Sound region is currently viewed as the second biggest U.S. technology and engineering hub after Silicon Valley. The GeekWire Summit played host to companies like Microsoft, Concur, Zillow, Glassdoor, DocuSign and Uber, to name a few.
The event touched on nearly everything – technology and science, technology and business, technology and sports – but we narrowed it down to six key insights and recurring themes to highlight from our experience:
- Techies Need Love Too: On the heels of the New York Times’ exposé of Amazon’s intense work culture, many panelists gave their two cents on the importance of creating a company culture and work-life balance in a dynamic, competitive industry.
— Natalie Beaulieu (@NatalieBeau1ieu) October 2, 2015
- Cyber Security is Top of Mind: The president of China recently visited Seattle to meet with tech leaders from companies like Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft to discuss cyber security, which panelists saw as an important current issue and will continue to be an international focus in the tech community in the coming years. Coincidentally, T-Mobile (headquartered in Bellevue, just across the water from Seattle) announced the discovery of a large data breach affecting 15 million customers on day 2 of the Summit.
- Use Tech For Good: Technology is inherent in every business and is transforming “older” industries’ end-to-end with efficiency, open communication, and scalability, among other benefits. Throughout the event, we learned how technology companies are working to help connect people during natural disasters and save lives, collaborate with the scientific community to prevent a 21st century plague and increase access to clean water in developing countries.
— Taylor Soper (@Taylor_Soper) October 4, 2015
- Mobile, Mobile, Mobile: At the conclusion of each session, each panelist was asked, “What will be the most important technological development in 2018?” Many tech leaders said that mobile devices are, and will continue to develop into a tool we use for anything and everything, and companies should strive to have a mobile mindset.
- Kids Care About Climate Change: We had a few laughs when five kids, ages 6-10, took the stage to discuss their insights on technology. Each kid was asked what they would use technology to create a solution for a problem facing their generation, and interestingly, every kid answered that they would prevent climate change.
- Consumer Experience Comes First: My favorite panel of the day was from Nike COO Eric Sprunk, who discussed everything from Nike’s selection of athlete spokespeople to his practice of creating a work-life balance culture from the top down. He noted that while Nike is not seen as a technology company, it’s been in the wearables game since the beginning. The Nike Fuel Band and Nike+ technology in running shoes may not be at the forefront of wearable technology today, but he stressed the company’s dedication to working with all players in the tech ecosystem to deliver the best experience for consumers, no matter their device of choice.
Want more? Check out GeekWire’s recap of the two-day conference here.