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GeekWire Summit 2019

The GeekWire Summit did not disappoint.

We learned. We laughed. We met some of our local heroes. And we left feeling inspired by the future of tech and the incredible talent and innovation in our region.

Here are a few of our favorite moments from the event:

On leadership

Thursday’s conversation with UW president Ana Mari Cauce, DreamBox Learning CEO Jessie Woolley-Wilson, and Marilyn Strickland, president and CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, included so many gems.

  • Diversity as asset, not merely a box to check: Woolley-Wilson urged us to shift from viewing diversity as something to manage to something to leverage. At DreamBox, they view diversity as a requirement for building a more empathetic—and successful—product. Yes.
  • Husky quotables: “None of us are leaders out of central casting … but maybe we’re changing what central casting looks like.” – UW’s Cauce, who also encouraged us to “say yes a lot” to whatever opportunities come knocking.
  • Benevolent friction: Hard on ideas; soft on people. That’s the DreamBox Learning team’s approach. We love this notion of encouraging respectful, yet lively discourse that encourages innovation, without cutting people down.

Core values that make a difference

  • Have your back. – At Outreach, employees are encouraged to drive hard, take risks, and innovate, with the safety of knowing that the team has their back, said CEO Manny Medina.
  • We give a shit – An intense care for customers and team is a foundational core value, said Auth0 CEO Eugenio Pace.

On disruption

Charlene Li delivered an incredibly powerful presentation on disruption and why some organizations fail when others transform. She challenged us all to examine our organizations’ current beliefs and get clear on which will move you forward—and which will hold you back.

To drive forward, Charlene believes that organizations must embrace openness, agency, and bias for action.

Ask the right questions

Microsoft President Brad Smith shared his big-picture views on the future of tech.

He discussed the importance of being curious and not just asking questions, but asking the right questions.

He also stressed that humans must be able to press the off switch as AI continues to progress, citing the example of plane crashes that claimed lives because the pilots were unable to take control.

Via Geekwire: “That should speak to us,” Smith said. “That is not just something that should speak to one company or just one industry. It should speak to everybody who creates technology, who uses technology, in every part of society, and that’s a lesson we should remember. We’ve got to be able to create good technology and we’ve got to be able to turn it off.”

Customer journey, a la NYT

Marc Levalle, Executive Director of R&D at the New York Times, shared a glimpse into how the news machine is using cutting edge tech to bring news to life. We loved this view of the Times’ customer journey map as they think about how consumers engage with the news throughout the day.

The kids are all right

The fan-favorite inventor was 12-year-old Nir Pechuk, CEO of Extentek and creator of Galina, a device to help visually impaired people avoid over-filling a container when pouring. Nir nailed his elevator pitch and wowed us with his journey from LEGO prototype to market-ready product.

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