What is AfroTech? Conference for Blacks in tech, startups and entrepreneurs. Find more info here: https://afrotech.com/events/afrotech-2018
Where was it held? San Francisco
Goal for the conference? Network with other individuals and put myself out there. Learn about the way others worked. Wanted a wide variety of experience: I ended up going to many of the design talks (which wasn’t intentional), went to some of the leadership talks and the engineering talks.
Thursday – I arrived later than I wanted – Flight was delayed. We went to the Vegan restaurant where there were a lot of folks meeting up. We were late because the flight was delayed but it was still a good experience. Afterwards a few of us headed over to a curls and cocktail event – The highlight was the rooftop view. Then we headed over the Pintrest – a few of us didn’t have a ticket but we gave it a shot and we all were able to get in. There were some devs who gave short summaries of what they worked on. Afterward, I went to go talk to one of the devs about the skin tone feature they added but the music was up really loud so I wasn’t able to have a very meaningful conversation without yelling.
Friday – We had the app for AfroTech so notifications were sent out but they were delayed which means some folks didn’t see the message until it was too late – I was not in that number, I woke up early that day. Eventually, we got to one of the venues (this year they had the conference at 2 venues which were nowhere near each other which made travel between the two very difficult), got registered, got a our swag bags and started visiting with some of the companies that were there. Then there was the keynote – There was so much energy, so many companies – Microsoft, Target, Google, Tinder, stripe, new relic and so many more.
Then we headed over to the other venue and went to some of the design talks – We walked in on a prototyping session which was great for me because I it’s not a strong point and it’s interesting to see how you have to think about each parts of it. There was a talk from a designer at Netflix. She talked about A/B testing but made it relatable by comparing it to a real world example of Drake’s beard and the process of testing it with different users. Very Interesting! Her presentation was on point and I learned a lot just from her presenting skills.
There were other talks as well in regards to …etc.
After the conference there were several events that were happening – We went to Salesforce. Was trying to get into a Amazon event where Common (a rapper) was there but they were at capacity so we couldn’t get in…I was pretty disappointed but Whatevs. Due to logistics things didn’t work out.
Saturday – On Saturday – I started introducing myself to people randomly. I also got a chance to talk to a lady who actually worked on the product I was currently working on which is crazy because most people didn’t know about the company I worked for. I always had to go through the whole sphell of I work on a resident management portal … Saturday was also the time for the Engineering talk so I spent my morning at that session and then came back to the main venue. During the engineering talk, I heard talks on Product roadmaps, and hearing stories of how people got into tech and how they are paying it forward. It was really inspiring for me to hear. I really related to one of the speakers – We, as blacks in the tech space, generally make more than our parents do so we basically put ourselves in the positions to help our family out. The MC for the other location even told us to get more involved with investing and building for the future which really interests me.
There was Lyft party at their headquarters which was like where a lot of other tech companies are which was really exciting to be apart of. The lyft party was amazing! There was food, a live band playing all the good hits from that early 2000s era
Then the final wrap up party was at a venue with a host of guest djs!
So to recap – AfroTech was an amazing experience just to be in the room with so many black professionals in the industry and those trying to get in the industry and so many companies that are ready to hire us black professionals was an unforgettable experience. I’m looking forward to the next year and if you weren’t there – I hope to see you in Oakland next year!
Get your tickets here for AfroTech 2019: https://e.sparxo.com/Afrotech19
Watch the YouTube Video here: https://youtu.be/5uDy-feIYYA