Bi-weekly column in Savannah Morning News by Emily McLeod Sulkes.
In Quebec there’s the geekbecois, in South Africa there’s GeekFest, in Savannah there’s Geekend. Geeks have truly gone global. To get between all the groups of geeks there’s even Geeks on a Plane, organized by 500 Startups. What’s happening here? Does it matter if you don’t consider yourself a geek?
Miriam-Webster’s defines a geek as (1) a usually intelligent person who does not fit in with other people and (2) a person who is very interested in and knows a lot about a particular field or activity.
“Geeky” interests often accumulate in the fields of innovation and technology but they by no means stop there as groups like Gardening for Geeks attest. While a typical “geek” may not have fit in “typical” town or school, technology-fueled connections enable geeks to find each other and to fit in across boundaries and borders. As technology has moved into more and more sectors of the economy and our lives, geeks have moved to inherit the earth, or maybe they were already there, and the label is worn more with pride than identified with derision.
Savannah’s Geekend embraces the growth of geek culture and the specialized knowledge that comes with it. Through two days of speakers, panels and workshops, Geekend explores technology and entrepreneurship topics designed to educate attendees on future trends they can adapt to their endeavors. Understandable and fine, you may be thinking, but I’m not a Geek.
No worries. Geekend is intentionally interdisciplinary and designed so that everyone is learning more about what they did not know. Maybe you’re a restaurateur? A waiter? A lawyer? A paralegal? At Geekend you can explore how virtual reality might impact your dining experience. Or consider out if gamification could lower recidivism issues? Your competitors might not be thinking on how to incorporate these trends yet and you’ll gain an advantage if you do.
This intentionally interdisciplinary approach seeks to disrupt silos to lay the groundwork for competitive advantages. By introducing the expert technologist to sound entrepreneurship practices or by providing the thriving entrepreneur, in any field, with insights into the innovations that will affect their business moving forward, Geekend can provide any business or professional with potential growth.
The focus on technology and entrepreneurship might seem beyond your day-to-day concerns. Honestly, that’s a bit of the point. These fields will only play a growing role in the economy. Knowing something about them will allow anyone to anticipate changes to their fields more readily. Perhaps you’ll even move ahead of the curve in some cases. First mover? There’s an advantage there.
Geekend can also be a great deal of fun. Our mascot, the 3D-printed Geekbot, pops up in the coolest places. He’s been to Orlando, Washington, D.C., and Charleston. He’ll be out in full force at Geekend and you can win a free ticket if you have the most popular social share with him before June 15.
Then there’s the Geekend Arcade, which is like an art exhibit for student-coded video games. It’s free and open the public. We’d love for the student in your life to contribute a game or just come by and be inspired. The arcade will be coupled with a technology-focused workshop providing kids an opportunity to create and not just consume. For adults there is great networking, eat-up meet-ups over lunches, and live music in the evenings. We’re working on confirming a trivia session featuring tech-focused 1980s movies — War Games anyone?
Geekend is taking shape now and you can see all the latest and greatest on the website at www.geek-end.com. We’ll be announcing speakers shortly after the speaker application deadline of May 27 and ticket prices go up in June so considering buying now. Have a team or group that you’d like to focus on future trends and securing a competitive advantage? There’s a group discount rate for six or more people.
Geekend aims to bring the world to Savannah and to showcase Savannah to the world. It’s about gaining an understanding of the forces of the future to be the best in the Southeast, best in the nation, best in the world. Geeks, and the geek curious, gather together from Canada to South Africa to move themselves forward.
Take advantage of the opportunity Geekend presents to do the same in Savannah. We can’t wait to see what develops for you after spending a weekend at a Geekend.
Emily McLeod Sulkes is the programs manager for The Creative Coast, a not-for-profit organization that promotes the creative and entrepreneurial community within the region.
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Source: Savannah Morning News