I spoke recently with Peter Corbett, CEO of iStrategy Labs and one of DC’s tech celebs. Corbett has been named one of the Most Influential Washingtonians Under 40 and one of 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers by Government Technology Magazine.
DW: 1. Did you have any inkling how much effort and time would be required to pull off DC’s first Digital Capital Week June 11 – 20, 2010? It seems like you and co-creators Frank Gruber and Jen Consalvo of Shiny Heart Ventures got more and more organized as you went along, with weekly meetings, a growing team to support you and so on.This is the “If you had known ahead of time what you were getting into, would you have done it?” question.
PC: We knew what we were getting into. It was like knowing you were driving towards the edge of a cliff, but had enough time, resources and capability to be prepared for a safe landing. We did get more organized over time, because the volume of our registration and content grew very quickly.
In the beginning there was no content, no venues, and no sponsors – and as all of those thinks began to ramp up, we began putting in place some really interesting collaboration methods to get everything done efficiently. We did all the organizing even as Frank, Jen and I traveled the world in our normal digital nomad way.
DW: Why DC WEEK? It seems we have a digital event or conference every week in Washington, from TEDx to Social Media Club breakfasts to my Sweets and Tweets. Why did we need a 10-day extravaganza? What did you and your co-creators hope to achieve?
We needed to jam a stake in the ground and put up a flag so that the capital region, the country and the world could see DC as the innovative place that it is.
– Peter Corbett on why DCWEEK
PC: DCWEEK was necessary because all of our individual efforts were not helping DC break through on a national or international level as a hub for innovation. Certainly the DC tech, creative and social community is very vibrant and our individual meetups and conferences are important now and will be into the future. Certainly there are projects/companies here and there that have reached national and international recognition (CrisisCamp, LivingSocial, Apps for Democracy, Clearspring etc. come to mind).
We needed to jam a stake in the ground and put up a flag so that the capital region, the country and the world could see DC as the innovative place that it is. DCWEEK is and will continue to put this place on the map as a hub of innovation. It will bring smart and passionate people here. It will keep talent here. It will grow companies. It will stimulate project that are fun and important. No of this is possible without a big, connected, vibrant community – we have that. And now we’re working on activating in new, bigger ways.
DW: Sex, Lies and Videotape, if you recall, was a 1989 film starring Andie McDowell that is said to have revolutionized the indie film movement. With its plot-within-a-plot video of women talking directly to the camera about their sex lives and relationships, it foreshadowed Reality TV. As well as the world of social media in which everyone is a content creator and publisher and authenticity rules. Without going too meta on you, was there any sex during DCWEEK?
PC: Yes I remember watching it on HBO. I was 9. I’m sure there was plenty of sex during DCWEEK – perhaps there will be “DCWEEK” babies born sometime next March. There was one unconference that I won’t mention by name focused on Sex, Sex Toys, Fetishes etc. that we had on the calendar for a bit but we had some sponsors balk so we told the organizers we had to take it down.
As for me Debbie – I’ll be honest. I had zero sex – I spent most of my time making out with my laptop late into the night, then passing out with my iphone clutched in my hand as i fielded 1000+ emails a day 🙂
I did hear that McWorm (who crushed it at the closing party at the 9:30 Club) ended up having an after party that included him, a couple band members and roughly 40 girls. I think that’s a solid ratio to go for. Some great pics of the closing party can be found here.
DW: Thanks Peter.