If the Internet is a community of communities, Seattle is the hub of the wheel! The many spokes, the A-Z of industry leaders, from Amazon to Zillow, are well-known. Lesser known are the associations and networking groups that weave their threads throughout the social fabric: the Northwest Internet Advertising Group, TechStars, Gnomedex, BizNik, and Seattle City Arts. Organizer Brian Rauschenbach sees each of these strands as part of the helix of communities that make up the DNA for the premiere Seattle Interactive Conference. The conference of networkers behind the Internet’s leaders represents the codebase of a cross-cultural, transmedia, multi-dimensional experience that may someday be nicknamed North by Northwest or NXNW!
The inaugural Seattle Interactive Conference will debut on Nov 2nd & 3rd with multiple tracks to suit every taste: Cloud computing, Entertainment Devices, Mobile, Search, Social, and UX Design The ROI from the “knowledge-transfer” is huge, but if you don’t have the time or budget to attend the workshops you can still engage with various “Stages,” from Biznik to Lockergnome, for a low cost of entry. There are also a number of social networking opps throughout the experience. Bonus: Seattle24x7 readers can enjoy a discount by signing up through this SIC discounted registration link.
Seattle24x7: Brian, you have been a major organizer of networking events in Seattle since 1996. What has inspired you to bring the online world of the Internet into real “meet” space? How has the local Internet community evolved in your eyes over the last decade and a half?
Brian Rauschenbach: I have always been drawn to bringing large groups of people together for professional networking events. It’s a passion of mine. SIC evolved as an extension of my work with the Northwest Internet Advertising Group (NWIAG). I have been wanting to make some more noise locally with our interactive scene. It’s curious. Why are we in Seattle the ones who have to travel to conferences and expos across the country? Why not bring the show TO Seattle! The interactive scene here in Seattle has certainly become more diversified in the past 15 years, which is all the more reason to bring a show like SIC to life.
Seattle24x7: The SIC conference has set up topics that are centered around Cloud computing, Entertainment Devices, Mobile, Search, Social, and UX Design. In each of these categories, Seattle has achieved a significant level of prominence and many would say “thought leadership.” How would you relate these topic areas to the Seattle community in terms of the speakers who are presenting, the companies involved, and the region’s presence in these key areas?
Brian: We took a look around our local landscape of companies and technologies. Then, we picked tracks from that we felt people would want to learn more about and gain insight into. A key was how can people take experiences from other industry vets and apply that knowledge to their own companies.
Seattle24x7: At the event you are featuring a Gnomedex stage and a Biznik stage. How will these work? What can you tell us about them?
Brian: The Biznik stage started as an area where start-ups and entrepreneurs could attend the conference and still acquire good content if they didn’t want to buy a full conference pass. We had our good friends at Biznik build the speakers and content themselves. At the same time, we’ve been following the growth and success of Gnomedex and saw that Chris Pirillo wasn’t going to produce a Gnomedex in 2011 — which got us a bit concerned and inspired at the same time. We were introduced to him and his team from a mutual friend of ours, Jess Estrada from Banyan Branch. We were able to integrate a Gnomedex stage into the conference where they could maintain total control of their special content. We are looking forward to building a long term relationship with the Lockergnome group as we share views on building community and being locally responsible.
Seattle24x7: You have also teamed up with TechStars and a Demo Day exhibition of their incubating companies? How did this synergy come together and what is the participation opportunity for SIC attendees?
Brian: We have known Andy Sack for years, and who isn’t familiar with his impact on the local tech start-up scene with TechStars. He reached out to us, as he was planning his Demo Day Seattle 2011 event and had a hold on November 3rd for the even. It was an ideal opportunity to be able to collaborate. We’ve been working with Andy and his team since on producing the event where his outreach to the start-up and investment scene could also gain exposure from our event. We are doing our closing party together. It should be a great time at the Showbox SODO on the evening of November 3!
Seattle24x7: You’re also hatching a Mobile Apps Challenge at the event. How are you using technology as an enabler at the event? Will there be live QnA via Twitter? Other social media or mobile tie-ins for participants?
Brian: The Mobile Apps Challenge was an evolution of a mobile hackathon event that we were planning earlier. We got together with the folks at Windows Azure,and they are providing a fully functional mobile lab to test applications developed on Android, iOS and Windows 7 Phone, to really make it happen. We hope to attract the rich developer community we have here in the Northwest to attend SIC and thought that this would be a great interactive exercise to do so. We have some pretty interesting social and mobile tie-ins for conference attendees, so stay tuned!
Seattle24x7: The city of Austin, Texas has hosted SXSW and I’ve heard you refer to the Seattle Interactive Conference as the seed of a NXNW event. Do you see the SIC event evolving in that direction?
Brian: Yes!!! We are hoping to partner up with City Arts Fest next year and not only grow our interactive conference to 3-days but roll right into 3-days of music events. The plans for 2013 are to add a partnership with a regional film organization to do the trifecta of interactive x music x film.
Brian: We are hosting 3-4 social meet-ups that are sponsor-based and will service most of the programming verticals we have in our current grid. The night time parties at the Showbox SODO and Showbox Market will also harness a ton of networking opportunities.
Seattle24x7: Seattle was just named the #1 Technology City in America. How does it feel to be promoting its premier interactive event?
Brian: I love it! We are a vital city and a nucleus for the many ways people do business together online whether from a platform level or through communities. I couldn’t be more proud to bring this event to Seattle. The time has come to put the PNW on the map for a conference of this caliber!
Seattle24x7: How goes it in the other parts of your life as a marketing advisor and agency principal? I trust you have found that Seattle is an ideal place to be for the work you are doing?!
Brian: I have put my heart and soul into Seattle and a part of our daily mission is making sure we represent Seattle businesses and help grow them regionally and nationally. When the weather turns cloudy around here— that is when all of the real creative work gets done! [24×7]
Seattle24x7 readers can enjoy a discount by signing up through this SIC discounted registration link.