The “Welcome to Interconnect” keynote kicked off the first day of IBM Interconnect 2017. The Mandalay Bay Event Center was quite full (which was evident as we began to file out!) and the speakers were engaging.
Some of the most memorable talks came from Indiegogo, Delos, and of course, Will Smith.
Indiegogo is probably a familiar name for most people who know about crowdfunding. Over $1.1B has been raised by over 8 million backers since Indiegogo got started. They showcased three crowdfunded projects during the keynote and allowed audience members to vote for each one! The talk moved quickly, but it sounds like IBM committed to contribute one dollar per vote given to a project!
One of the most interesting one was Waterbot. It detects subtle changes in water quality and can alert people to the nature of the change.
Another project was SmartPlate. It detects the quantity of food on the plate and what type of food is on the plate. It can make estimates on the contents of the food (calories, fat, etc) and could potentially warn someone if they’re about to eat something on their list of allergies.
Delos is in the business of making buildings work better for the people who work in them. They dig deep into everything from lighting to temperature to window placement and understand the best combination of environmental factors that enable people to do great work. It’s challenging work because changing buildings is costly and different types of industries may do better in different environments.
The “one more thing” moment of the morning was an interview with Will Smith. It may seem odd in the context of a technical conference, but he provided lots of good advice for people who are trying to transform themselves and their companies. He shared a lot about the early days of his career and how he transformed himself from a “clean rapper” to a TV and movie star.
There were several quotable (and often hilarious) moments:
Two things stuck with me the most: what it was like to portray a hero in film (like Muhammad Ali) and how important it is to always have a simple mission statement:
He talked about how he approached new challenges and forks in the road. Each time he approached one, he asked himself: “Will this improve people’s lives?” If the answer was yes, he signed on and put his maximum effort behind it. It’s a simple question, but he talked about how it helped him get through some highly complex decisions.