Collision 2018: Five Lessons on Tech + Entrepreneurism

PURSUIT PR had the pleasure of attending Collision 2018 in New Orleans. From May 1 – May 3, the world’s leading tech entrepreneurs and founders took over New Orleans. The conversations ranged from what’s next in technology to best practices for entrepreneurism.

Thought you’d be interested in the key takeaways:

1. Virtual Reality is Not a Fad

Kalon Guiterrez, Co-founder and Head of Corporate Development at Nomadic VR, says that #virtualreality is not just hype. Just how people once thought the Internet was dead, and now it’s shown its staying power, the same can be said about VR. Nomadic VR is an immersive entertainment company creating tactile VR adventures for neighborhoods everywhere.

While VR gained initial attention as an expensive in-home product, Guiterrez anticipates that VR will transition from in-home to out of the home – and back in the home at a later stage. In-home, both space and money are needed. Out of the home, it’s a lower cost for the consumer and an even better experience. That’s exactly what Nomadic VR intends to create as they partner with cinemas, real estate developers and more to extend the life of entertainment experiences.


2. Tech Shines a Light on the Human Pysche

The tension between physical and digital reflects the tension between our inner and outer selves. Or at least that’s the consensus among the amazing panel of Saul Williams, songwriter and poet; Ralph Echemendia, The Ethical Hacker; and cyber psychologist Mary Aiken. Saul Williams delivered a gripping song which shaped the panel, a discussion about the use of technology as propaganda of the self. Can privacy and digital co-exist? According to this panel, we cannot legislative ourselves out of our own issues. We need technology that makes us better.

3. AI is the Heart of Robots

According to Fahri Diner, co-founder and CEO of Plume,  we need to pay attention to AI not just to figure out how the computer can adapt to the human. He is focused on learning the psyche of each of Plume’s 1 billion devices. By doing so, he understands how each device behaves and ensures it will provide the best service for the human – anticipating issues before they even arise. Plume is a self-optimizing network powered by the cloud that adapts to your home in real-time so every room and device has a blazing fast connection today, tomorrow, and years from now.

Going forward, Oracle CEO Mark Hurd notes that AI will be a critical part of most company’s strategies. It is less of a solution and more of a feature that needs to be deeply integrated in a company’s DNA. He thinks AI is generally an overused term, in that sense.

4. Generate Wealth or Pay the Bills

Rahul Varshneya, co-founder of Arkenea, and I met at a Young Entrepreneurs Club event. Arkenea offers specialized software development and technology consulting services for fast growing companies. Rahul highlighted the important decisions founders need to make when it comes to building their business. To scale, execution cannot be entirely founder led. However, it depends on whether the founder’s goal is to generate massive wealth or pay the bills and then some. He also talked about the importance of pricing well, and not being afraid to price in line with even larger competitors – as long as you are delivering value, you can price accordingly.

5. Invest in Raw Talent + Stay Grounded

Wyclef Jean is working on a new mixtape, Wyclef Goes Back to School, which will feature young talent he discovers through a nationwide college search.

On a personal level, I had a chance to connect with him in the speakers lounge where he gently played guitar while having conversation. He talked about the intricate experience of life and the “middle” – the path between birth and death and the importance of making the most of it, and how lucky we are. He is clearly grounded by his profound appreciation for life and this undoubtedly fuels his success.

A big thank you to all of the incredibly smart, motivated and kind people we met at Collision. In addition to the above, shot out to inspiring entrepreneurs John Rampton at Calendar (can’t wait to book your basement AirBnb), Andrew Thomas, co-founder at Skybell Technologies, John Hall, co-founder and CEO of Influencer & Co. and Thomas Ma, co-founder of Sapphire Apps.