Last week was TribeCon in New Orleans.
We had mimosas on the panel discussing the difference between online and real-life relationships.
Molly Oehmichen moderated the panel I was on (pictured on the left). She wrote a great piece on TribeCon here.
The concept is the same online. In a panel I moderated about Online vs. IRL (in real life), we discussed the age-old saying, “If you build it, they will come.” You can’t just show up online and expect people to care about what you have to say. You can’t just build a product and expect everyone to inherently understand the value. Online and offline: Community and value must be built and proven from the ground up.
Chris Tew also posted about the experience, including a video as he was being left out of the group photo. It was great to meet him and learn about running a comedy club.
I always enjoy traveling to New Orleans. The hospitality of everyone you meet there is kind. The culture of “Be who you be” is both empowering and the pitfall of community. Want to drink at 9am? Be who you be! Want to start a company? Great! Be who you be! Want to come together as a tech community? Is everyone off being who they be?
Chris Schultz announced that this would be his last year organizing TribeCon, which he founded. The hardest part of event organizing is throwing a party that your friends are not excited about, or just don’t show up for. I feel like that happens a lot, and as strong as the pride for New Orleans is, the need for community might be less important than the need for him to focus on creating a scalable business. I think you can derive some really negative conclusions from Chris + team leaving the event, but I don’t buy it.
The event and community have a chance to grow, take over or evolve.
TribeCon is about the community I love, the tech community in New Orleans. Two things have inspired TribeCon for me more than anything else: First, the emergence of the grass-roots New Orleans tech community that picked itself up by its bootstraps on the heels of Katrina and realized that we had the both the opportunity and responsibility to shape this City’s future. This inspiration led to Net2NO, Launch Pad, the SXSW pilgrimage, GNO Code, and so many other groups. Second, after the death of my father, I examined everything I was doing, and decided it was time to follow the old entrepreneurs’ adage – do work you are passionate about.
So what is next for New Orleans and tech?