This was the third occurrence of the BC Tech Summit, and it was by far the best organized and most well attended. That said, there were also a high number of consultants selling, academics recruiting, and Government influencing. It seemed that the conference is going in an accidental direction rather than an intentional one. I was lost as to what the purpose of the conference was.
After walking the halls for the better part of the day, I’d seen and engaged with most booths and had seen some very cool tech that is being developed in our province. However, as I left panel sessions, I found myself unsure of what to do with the information I’d received. In one of the panel discussions, a panelist spoke excitedly about how her massive firm is pushing the industry forward, & closed by saying that they can’t hire Canadians. It absolutely was encouraging to see the talent we have in British Columbia, though it would be much more inspiring to see how we could work & grow together.
How do we accomplish more connection and coordinated regional economic growth? Well, why not bring together a large area of BC based service providers that tech startups need? This could include designers, artists, illustrators, developers, QA, and UX and strongly encourage attendees to work local as much as possible. Or, crazy thought, have the Government provide incentive for doing so!
Additionally, why not have a “problem zone” where attendees can post challenges they may be facing in any aspect of their company, and encourage other attendees to solve them by “paying” those solving the problems in points, which could result in being rewarded prizes, or with a live leader board to encourage competition?
In the end, yes the venue is beautiful, and yes the food was amazing, but I would much rather hear past attendees talking about how much of a positive impact the conference had on their business, over a discussion on what they learned from a developer working in quantum theory.