UPstarts Enliven Capital ICT Scene

Unlimited PotentialAfter a period of quiescence, Wellington’s technology and business networking event scene is now undergoing somewhat of a renaissance.

On Thursday evening this week Unlimited Potential are throwing a launch party for Start-Up magazine and Silicon Welly whilst throughout July and August 7X7 are offering a thought provoking weekly think-fest on “economic transformation”. But wait there’s more!

Also in the pipeline @UP is the annual Geeks, Games and Gadgets technology showcase in August, Software Freedom Day in September for Open Sourcers, and a possible Town and Gown collaboration with Victoria University ICT researchers. With UP taking over managing the ICT Capital membership base it brings this collective community to over 1500 ICT sector professionals, business owners and technology managers.

After the wild successes of XMediaLab and  Webstock it is clear that Wellington is now emerging as a “go to” destination for technology and innovation related events in New Zealand. People are talking more and more about the value of community. Sponsors, opinion-makers and governmental agencies are now realising there is tremendous value in leveraging the interest groups that grow up around such events and Unlimited Potential is rapidly positioning as the event manager of choice for this sector.

In 2002 when GeniusNet set up the first virtual community for innovators and entrepreneurs, we did not have the resources to run live events as well. Back then, people struggled with the concept and of course the term “social network” was not widely in use in a web context. But our research found that the best ideas arise from the creativity found where community boundaries overlap. You can’t build a collaborative community by email, webforum or teleconference alone however. Trust is the bandwidth for the exchange of knowledge and one generally needs to meet people face-to-face to build that trust.

Virtual communities and social networking platforms do facilitate engagement to a certain extent, but real live meetings build much deeper foundations of trust. Jobs are located, deals transacted and relationships forged ultimately because people met together in person, eyeballed each other and learned trust. I know  this for a fact, because right now I’m developing a very cool business with some smart guys I originally met online. How Web 2.0 is that?!

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