I’ve attended a number of tech conferences in South Africa and at every one of them one of two topics seem to raise it’s head, and frankly I think we need to ban the types of people pushing these topics on stage from speaking… Social Media Marketers
Every time I attend a conference I find that I would have much rather have been listening to one of the developers in the crowd than the person on the stage, this feeling is amplified when a self proclaimed Social Media guru takes to the stage. In South Africa this is especially true because we have a huge amount of talented devs often sitting in the crowd, and a social media evangelist hogging the lime light.
I have nothing particularly against Social Media agencies, but I do take issue with the fact that they insist that a room filled with a thousand tech savy geeks live tweeting from their latest Apple iSomething has never heard of Social Media. VC and Angel Investors
Another group of people I think conferences can do without are all these VC and Angel Investor types. These blokes very often have never written a line of code in their lives, have a horrible track record in picking investments and most of them have never run a start up or even launched an app. Then we ask them to run onto the stage and for 30 minutes tell us what we should be doing as entrepreneurs thinking about starting up?
This is very much like having talent scouts running on stage explaining what they are looking for at a talent show instead of having the actual talent showing off their skills on stage. It’s always so sad to see all the people clamouring for attention from investors after they speak… Why on earth are we flocking to investors anyway? Shouldn’t they be flocking towards the talent? Put the talent on the stage for goodness sakes.
The Silicon Cape events have been trying to put the talent on the stage. They have this elevator pitch competition they always run, and although it’s a step in the right direction, I feel a 30 second time limit on a world changing idea someone has spent months, if not years coming up with, is grossly dehumanizing and insulting. I personally would never do an elevator pitch at a Silicon Cape event on stage, for that matter I refuse to do elevator pitches in general. In Conclusion
Can we please for the sake of sanity put people on stage at Tech conferences that are actually trying to build tech? Investors and Social Media Marketers are essentially fanboys of tech, using it and investing in it but not building it. Can we get the engineers and tech entrepreneurs back on the stage please?