Arts and Culture, Work

Alt Summit Review


Well well well, I’m back from Palm Springs. I went with our team, as a sponsor.

I’ve attended a lot of conferences: SXSW, WordCamp US, Northside Festival (I used to be the Festival Director!), and ICANN.  I got wind that I was going to Alt two weeks before the event and I didn’t quite know what to expect.  I’ve been back for four days and I am trying to clean up my notes and thoughts and hone in on the general mojo I took away from the event. Where better to organize these thoughts than a blog post?

Alt Summit was such a breath of fresh air! It was the first time I was at a mostly female conference. It made me realize how much more natural it is to start up a networking conversation in such a safe space. I could be more honest and direct. I found my curiosity was at a higher level for the entire conference than it is when I’m at the typical tech-dude conference. This is not a condemnation of other events nor of mixed gender business gatherings. It’s just that being at Alt Summit, as a representative of my company, with the goal of networking, and building our brand awareness, I have never felt more real and motivated.

The talks I was able to sit in on were strong but even more than that, they were HONEST. I listened to the founder of A Practical WeddingMeg Keene,  talk politics, family and business. She was unafraid to call out to the celebrities, brands and personalities who are not using their platforms to speak out against the tyranny and racism of our current administration. She said that those who are not taking a stand are taking a stand (on the wrong side – I’m adding the last part).

Luvvie Ajayi, of Awesomely Luvvie, blended comedy and race relations in such a confident way, listening to her encouraged me to be more comfortable doing the same.  She said she adds comedy to the shit people struggle to talk about – why make it painful? She also chastised writers and brands who don’t take any time out of their regular content to post about serious news stories like police shootings of innocent black people, or the ban on muslims. She argued that even if you do lose followers – these are not the followers you want, or the followers who will stick with you in the long run.

I also sat in on Katie Hintz-Zambrano from MOTHER magazine talk about “ Bringing Quality Back To Content.” She crushed it on stage. Hintz-Zambrano would go on seemingly unplanned tangents about how to use internet-vortexes to your advantage (it involved 90s supermodels, Instagram and a lesbian wedding), and also how to unplug and make space for your creativity to flow (like the shower, or making a sandwich). She was also wearing a most beautiful dress from DÔEN and had a very brief cry on stage talking about the birth of her son Diego.

I felt whole after Alt Summit. The women who shared their vulnerabilities – whether it was about starting their businesses or starting their families – made me more confident and curious to go after all of it.

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