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Bright Lights, Big Omaha

WRITTEN by: Crystal Olig |
categories: Business Growth

May 2013


One of the reasons I love working in technology is the ability to surround myself with smart clients and colleagues who push me to constantly come up with new ways to use digital tools to innovate for all sorts of businesses. In that spirit, I'm attending Big Omaha, a conference built with the challenge to present some of the best disruptive thinkers and tech entrepreneurs to a new generation of business leaders. It's rumored to be "like [South by Southwest] before it got huge," with a format that allows face time and one-on-one conversations between attendees and presenters.


Some of the speakers I'm looking forward to include Gentry Underwood, co-founder of Mail, one of the hottest apps of the year;  Megan Casey, founder of Pack (gotta love a female Gen Y entrepreneur in tech—who loves dogs!); and Dave McClure, founder of 500 Startups accelerator program.

I've been eyeing this event for several years, as I've watched all parts of the Midwest become more focused on growing technology business and talent. As a Nebraska native and graduate of that other football-playing college (my Buckeye colleagues have forbidden any Husker references at the office), I was intrigued to find a mini technology hub popping up not only in Omaha, but in Kansas City and Des Moines as well. And they say Columbus is a cow town! Apparently in the Midwest we are just teaching the cattle to code.

I'm going to bring new ideas to the team, expand Upward's network of smart folks and rejuvenate my own perspectives. As this is probably the coolest conference I've ever heard of—featuring three evening networking parties (one including a fashion show, the other a skate show), free yoga and manicures, a Twitter scavenger hunt and a "Style Your Startup T-shirt" contest—I'm pretty sure I'll be back with stories to tell.

I'll be posting and tweeting throughout the conference, and sharing some wisdom from the speakers here on the blog. Keep up with me @SparkleGem or @Go_Upward and stay tuned!

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