This is the first ever guest post on my blog. Gabriel is a really good friend of mine who not only took up these tickets I offered him at the eleventh hour, he also agreed to take notes so he could write this post for me.
Photo from CIO
I was fortunate enough to be generously given a ticket to #TECHmyway hosted by Lenovo and featuring Ashton Kutcher about two days before the event took place. My benefactor invited me to guest post on her blog. I do not have a blog and I don’t write very much outside of university and work but I couldn’t say no lest my Lenovo goody bag be seized.
I attended Doltone House with Robert on a rather warm Friday morning. The people in the queue seemed to mostly consist of well-dressed young people. We even spotted a group of contestants of Australian Idol fame from several years back. My initial expectation was that the event would be full of middle-aged IT people who were invited because Lenovo had an interest in supplying their companies/departments with server racks.
Getting past my surprise at how ‘hip’ the event was, the actual presentation was held in a large function room. The front row seats filled up instantly so Robert and I were seated in the back third of the audience. There were three speakers: Marita Cheng, founder of Robogals, Cameron Parker, former head of sales and marketing at Black Milk Clothing and of course, Ashton Kutcher.
Photo from LifeHacker
Marita was an engineering graduate from the University of Melbourne who had accomplished quite a bit in the area of education and robotics and had won Young Australian of the Year for 2012. She mostly spoke about her organisation, Robogals which she formed to educate high school students on the practical application of science and mathematics through robotics and build enthusiasm for engineering. She had also founded a robotics company whose products included apparatus for assisting people with disabilities. Playing about with Lego certainly took her a long way. I never progressed beyond building a few houses and a spaceship or two.
Cameron Parker was the second speaker who spoke about the success of Black Milk Clothing and the importance of storytelling in marketing a brand and also the way in which BMC interacted and fostered communities of fans. I actually quite liked Black Milk Clothing’s designs, not that I have ever purchased anything from them but I was somewhat aware of the brand’s popularity before. Cameron described the extent to which Black Milk Clothing’s social media activities were bringing girls together and the fact that they had events and get-togethers numbering in the hundreds of people. The thing which caught my attention the most was that Cameron claimed they had spent zero dollars on advertising/marketing and everything had been done online through social media.
Ashton Kutcher was very charismatic. I could tell the audience was hanging on to his every word and comment. That said, I thought that much of what he said falls under the category of ‘general life advice’. Key words and phrases included: hard work, dumb questions and smart is sexy. He quoted a bunch of other celebrities on their favourite piece of life advice. Again, most it was all very general. A good example was Taylor Swift’s “You’re not entitled to anything, but there isn’t anything you can’t earn”.
The one thing he did say was that he believes that the next big growth areas for technology were:
- Improvement in provision of products and services in the public sector;
- Virtual reality;
- Improved input sensories;
- Smarter ID;
- Biotechnology; and
What he had to say about each of these was quite fascinating and insightful. I may not agree with his views entirely but any commentary on the growth of these areas is speculatory anyway.
A few other observations:
- No Lenovo products were pushed or promoted during the talk;
- The goody bags had a pretty decent thermos and a 4,800mAh power bank;
- I don’t own any Lenovo products;
- My goody bag hasn’t been seized.
You can watch the entire event in the video below:
Once again big thanks to Gabriel for this write up!