Guest Contribution By: Anirudh “Ani” Ravichandran
Hi everyone! I’m Ani, and I just finished my freshman year at ASU. Right after completing my final exams, I flew to New Orleans to attend Collision Conf, which is a large tech-focused conference. Nearly 20K people attended, and I was able to be a part of the crowd after winning free tickets through a GitHub contributor giveaway. I went with no specific agenda, other than getting a feel for what a big conference would be like.
Like many events, Collision Conf included:
• An exhibitor fair, where you could connect individually with startup representatives
• Workshop and roundtable events
• A series of incredible speakers
Because so much goes on simultaneously, you have to prioritize the events you want to attend since so many things happen at the same time. During Collision Conf, you might even stumble upon speakers and investors in the crowd, as they walk around like other participants.
The highlight of the event had to be Chris Sacca’s talk. Chris is the founder and chairman of Lowercase Capital, and was an early investor in companies you may know: Twitter, Uber, Instagram and Kickstarter being just a few. His speech was supposed to be an hour, but ended up going on for two; he is actually retiring from investing, so it was really interesting to hear his perspective. Afterward, he came down and was willing to chat with the remaining audience. I was grateful to be a part of that conversation.
It was a fun experience, and there were some good opportunities to connect with people and get a feel for what it was like to attend a large conference. Next time I attend, I hope to be representing my own startup.
Three quick takeaways from the experience:
1) Going without an agenda just for the experience is nice, but having a specific motive or startup to present would be more useful
2) Talk to everyone—you never know who you are standing next to at an event like this
3) Specifically at Collision Conf, if you are lucky enough to get into a roundtable, do not hesitate to speak if you can contribute something useful to the conversation and make sure to connect with the host of the roundtable at the end
Anirudh “Ani” Ravichandran is studying computer science at ASU, and plans to build a startup. As part of his freshman year, Ani was selected to be an E+I Fellow, and quickly became a regular at entrepreneurship-focused events both on-campus and within the Phoenix community. He enjoys all things startup.