The Top 3 Innovation Discovery Festivals in NYC

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Credit: CC Pixabay

I’ve always loved interacting with innovators, artists, musicians, techies, and academics and am the first person to try something new, be it a food or a new technology.When I first started my journey into the world of startups and technology, I didn’t know where to start and so I went to every event, meetup, fireside, festival, lecture I could to feed my ravenous curiosity. Along the way, I kept a list of my faves and want to share them with all of you.

NY Tech Day -April 23, 2015, Pier 92, (free to attend)

I was at the first NY Tech Day. I had signed up for a NYC events list and was like, hmmm…I’ve always liked technology, I’m on sabbatical, let me check it out. It’s where I first heard David Tisch (Box Group) and Charlie O’Donnell (Brooklyn Bridge Ventures) speak about the NY tech community. It’s also where I realized how much was happening in NYC and how fast it was growing. Today, there are over 400 exhibitors and 10,000+ people attend.

Why you should check it out:

1. Meet cool people from some of NYC’s most interesting startups. Today’s 2 person startup, could be the next unicorn.

2. Discover an app/tool that makes your life more fun, removes a pain point, or is just the right solution for someone you know.

3. On volume alone, it has one of the highest concentrations of startups in one place. I’ve seen education, health, food, game startups etc. Something for everyone.

4. Fun atmosphere.

Newco New York , May 13-14, 2015, various cool locations

I was at the inaugural Newco New York and have gone every year since. It’s a great way to see the HQ of some of NYC’s hottest startups and meet the founders where they work (and even go up and shake hands). Year 1 I saw Jonah Peretti speak to a crowd of 50+ of us at Buzzfeed and Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures speak at a panel talk at Simulmedia. Year 2, I saw Dennis Crowley speak to 40+ us about Foursquare and Swarm and saw a panel talk at Union Square Hospitality on their philosophy of enlightened hospitality (Danny Meyer was there and he gave us signed copies of his book, which is a good read BTW).

Why you should check it out:

1. Learn something new in an intimate setting. You can learn more about the company, see where and how people there work (architecture of the space often reflects the mission/brand), learn more about startups and entrepreneurship.The line-up of startups/organizations is amazing and it’s like taking a master class from people who are working to build something every day.

2. Go for the serendipity of meeting your next new friend, boss, co-worker or co-founder.

3. Visit the people and places you’ve only read about online/in the papers or whose products you use on a daily basis.

4. Be inspired and let it be the spark for your next great adventure.

Northside Festival  June 8-14, 2015, Brooklyn (Williamsburg)

The Northside Festival celebrates thinkers, innovators, and artists. It has something for everyone, as you can see bands, gallery exhibits, as well as tech/innovation events. They’ve even had panel talks on healthcare.

Why you should check it out:

1. Discover a new artist, band, film, startup.

2. Mingle with creatives, techies, musicians. This year hosts 150+ speakers (from Linkedin, Ello, Gothamist, ApartmentTherapy, Medium, Elite Daily etc). See tons of bands and films. There’s also a concurrent Brooklyn Live Summer Concert series.

3. Great event locations. Tons of stuff to do at the festival and afterwards too. Brooklyn has great restaurants, music venues, and lounges. You can also hop on the ferry to Manhattan.

4. Learn something new. Teach something to someone. Be a part of a creative community.

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