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Tech Cocktail Chicago

July 26, 2013

Tonight we went to Tech Cocktail Chicago, a networking event for Chicago entrepreneurs at 1871 in Chicago's famous Merchandise Mart.  

The keynote speech was given by former Priceline.com CEO Jeff Hoffman, who is an amazing speaker.  He had many great points, but some key takeaways:

  • Create innovation by listening to everyone, especially your customers
  • Focus on the experience you give to your customers
  • Don't be afraid to fail

Following Jeff's presentation, we saw 1 minute presentations by 12 startups.  Our favorite was readingglue.com, which provides tools for parents to reinforce the reading techniques and comprehension strategies used by teachers in the classroom..  However, the winner was wedeliver.us, which aims to give its customers same day delivery via a network of unemployed or underemployed workers.  Interesting idea!

For winning, wedeliver.us received the following:  an invitation to Tech Cocktail Celebrate, an invitation to an upcoming Tech Cocktail Week, as well as the honor of being recognized as Chicago’s Hottest Showcasing Startup.

After all of that there was a networking hour, where we got a chance to talk with James from readinglue.com about the educational market.  James had some good ideas for connecting with schools that would benefit from adding the Raspberry Pi to their computer science curriculum.

We also met Pete who is the co-founder of urbanbuddy.com.  We really like the concept of their app, which connects people that are "in the know" with visitors to a given city.  For example, most people who visit Chicago rarely see the neighborhoods.  Connecting via urbanbuddy, a tourist in Chicago can find the best neighborhood restaurants, which are generally better than the places you might find downtown.

 

Lastly, I was able to test out Google Glass.  Unfortunately I was not wearing my contacts, so I can not give much of a review.  I can tell you that the interface is very slick, you can control it with voice commands or touch motions on the side of the device.  It can interact with Android phones, and you can use it to view all sorts of information.  The built-in camera is a great feature, and it is the perfect device for navigating a confusing area (Boston, I'm looking at you).  I view Google Glass as an "alpha" product that has a lot of potential.

 

 

All in all it was a great night and we look forward to our next Tech Cocktail event!




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