Fuelling the future: Tech Gurus and Students Unite

Benjamin Shepherd - 1B Mechanical
Posted on: January 20, 2010

I’ve just entered a room full of tech savvy looking students, laptops everywhere tweeting, last minute presentation preparation, most people know at least one person in the room… I know no one.

Epcon is a conference for young students who have a passion for technology. It isn’t necessarily a technology conference- it’s more of a social atmosphere where the aim is to connect young aspiring people.

Realization of this fact occurred as soon as I sat down, when a conversation bloomed, business cards were exchanged, and I was graciously accepted at the table. The day was off to a stellar start.

As a conference for tech savvy people I wasn’t sure what to expect: were we going to hear about products, innovation, opportunities? These are the ideas that came to my head, though I was pleasantly surprised.

The schedule was filled with keynotes, breakouts sessions, really good food and a fun, surprisingly involving “e-lympics”. We started out with a keynote speaker and that’s when the day started flying by.

My first keynote (I showed up a day late) was by Paras Dharamshi on Myths & Realities of Entrepreneurship and I soon learned this was the major focus of this conference. Parash pulled from his experience as an entrepreneur, speaking of the pitfalls and rewards in this perilous path.

Following this keynote I attended my first breakout session. These sessions were designed to promote ideas of what the “next big thing” was. This first breakout session was presented by Peter Sweeney of Primal Fusion (primalfusion.com). I highly encourage people to visit his site to see what his company is up to.

The other breakout sessions focussed on Nanotechnology and Technology in Developing Areas. I attended the web sessions as it is a strong interest of mine but as you can see there was a fairly broad spread of topics.

In a flash we were onto lunch. Lunch at a conference doesn’t sound like it should be overly important, but my mind was soon changed. With great food, conversations were quickly started and connections were made. The networking done at this conference was immense. Business cards whistled past heads, names were shared and ideas multiplied.

Next we heard the story of Steven Woods who is currently employed with Google at their Waterloo site. This keynote filled with personal experiences really showed how the life of an entrepreneur was not the thing for everyone. Stories of failure and debt were countered with his success and big payoffs.

Next event was filled with competitions involving cellphones and computers that really broke the ice and soon I was sitting at a table with a bunch of friends I hadn’t known an hour before. There were texting relays, blindfolded typing contests and trivia to top it all off.

After a final breakout session, we were onto 7-ate-9. I would call this dinner-at-its-best: more connections were made, great food and to top it off an epic talk by Saul Colt the lead evangelist for Thoora (thoora.com). Saul brought humour, experience and advice to a whole new level and blew everyone away with his great talk.

I’d like to send out a big thank you to all the people who organized this event, and also anyone who reads this, sign up next year and be prepared to have an epicly awesome time!
Check out the website at epcon.epitech.org and the twitter stream @HiEPIC