What makes a productive and fun conference experience?
For me both the formal learning that comes from keynotes, panels, and mini-workshops, as well as the spontaneous connections (and reconnections) that I make in the coffee bar line, dipping strawberries while at the Fondue-style chocolate fountain, or sitting on the floor chatting with an entrepreneur.
TiEcon 2007 was all this and more. A nice touch at this year's event was the use of SMS text messaging to submit questions as an alternative to 3x5 cards. The event and hotel staff really had their act together in moving almost 4,000 attendees through registration and numerous food and beverage lines. Even the slick flat panel computers available for attendees' use didn't require long waits.
I caught up with Satya Kalyan Yerramsetti, CEO, of India-based SMSCountry Networks Pvt. Ltd., while recharging his notebook computer. A serial entrepreneur who's passionate about offering low cost Internet solutions, Satya's current endeavor allows users to send SMS text messages in their own language from their computer to any mobile phone across the world.
What would he take away with him from this year's TiEcon? Meg Whitman's advice during her keynote about the importance of getting out of our offices and cubicles to see what else is out there. "She's right. I'm glad I left my office in India and came here to connect with other entrepreneurs."
My passion for education naturally led me to Kishore Kumar, Founder, and CEO of Dallas-based iLearning Gateway,
Inc., while he was practicing his pitch for the Entrepreneurs Bazaar. Kishore's company--currently
flying under the radar--provides a variety of unique solutions in the technology
based global academic space.
Kumar, a research scientist from "innovation engine" Georgia
Tech recently started his security analysis company, Zeerive,
an endeavor funded by Venture Lab, which helps commercialize the technologies developed
at the university. Why TiEcon? "It’s my first TiEcon and it gave me a chance to meet one of my UC Berkeley contacts who shared his knowledge of sniff sensor technology with me.”
Networking from the floor takes on a whole new meaning for Sushma Malhotra, VP, CresaPartners. Sushma reinvented her career after retiring from AMD, leveraging her corporate experience and skills to enter the real estate services world where she handles strategic accounts.
Sushma had another reason to be at TiEcon 2007, as the proud mother of Stanford student, Monte Malhotra, who was at the event signing copies of his first book The Young Investor's Guide to Retiring Young.
Frank Cortez was a familiar face at this year's TiEcon having operated his FEMA-certified security services company for over a decade. Deployed to handle emergency services during hurricane Katrina, Frank's team frequently handles Homeland Security requests as well as maintaining military security for the likes of the historical USS Hornet in Alameda.