By: Lisa Winning
Ironically, for an industry that prides itself on innovation and disruption, the tech community has been slow to change the status quo in our own conferences, and in representing diversity. The archaic model of a speaker at the front of an auditorium, teaching in rote style learning to a subdued, passive audience is outdated. By the way, only 5% of information is retained by listening to a speaker lecturing at the front of a room. Not to mention the lack of breadth in information and experiences when the speakers resemble each other. We all get short shrifted by a scarcity of imagination and diversity with a line up of conference speakers who are homogenous.
If as an industry we are all about KPIs, outcomes that scale, and building the future, why are we still stuck with archaic conference models that resemble 50 years of the past? When you consider that the Internet itself is meant to be the most democratic and inclusive of technologies – truly for everyone, you may wonder why this isn’t easily reflected in real life tech industry events.
Rather than just focusing on the problem let’s look at a solution.
What kind of groundbreaking events can we create that are valuable to the tech community of entrepreneurs and investors as a whole? And quite frankly, how do we build events that are worth going to?
For a start, attendees want to interact, find mentors and connect with a network who will make a difference for their startup, and personal success.
Coming up on our radar is a power charged event that will flip the status quo:#MentHERnyc. On 23 June, the tech community is coming together to found a platform for women led startups in New York City that will hopefully change the conference model, while championing diversity. 75 of the most promising early stage women-led companies will be accessing advice, while building relationships as they create Advisory Boards and prepare to fundraise. In short, the real deal.
Crucially, the ratio of entrepreneurs to investors/advisors is near even, with 75 powerful investors present to give 1 hour of their time to mentor women founders.
“You know the adage, ‘If you ask for money you get advice, and if you ask for advice you get money’? This event is all about giving women entrepreneurs ‘advice’ with the ultimate goal of getting more funded by facilitating relationships with the most active and helpful investors in our city. Diana, Irene and I are all passionate about this goal and making NYC the most diverse ecosystem possible, and we believe #MentHERnyc is a great step in making this happen,” says Alicia Syrett.
Major media is in coming out in strong support, with CNBC Power Pitch actively scouting entrepreneurs to cover, as well as advice sessions from columnists at Forbes, Fortune and the New York Times.
Just as crucially, the investor community is already backing the event with Lerer Hippeau, Time Warner, HearstLab and ENIAC among the venture capital firms participating. Angels will also be in the mix, including groups like New York Angels and37 Angels. Every active women focused investor group is represented. Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to connect and receive meaningful advice from some of the biggest names in the investor community, rather than passively listening to other startups pitch.
#MentHERnyc is important because it represents the new wave of genuine innovation taking place in tech’s real world events. It ensures inclusiveness, diversity of thought, and a practical way for startup enthusiasts to truly connect and together build companies of scale.