The 10th annual >play conference Oct. 24 will offer students the chance to connect with recruiting teams from top Bay Area tech firms, hear from entrepreneurs disrupting multiple industries, dance at a Silent Disco, and share company ideas at the Start Up Alley.
Up to 1,000 people are expected to attend >play, the largest student-run digital media conference in the country, at San Francisco's Fort Mason. The day-long event, which outgrew its campus location in 2013, is organized by Berkeley MBAs from the Haas Digital Media and Entertainment Club (DMEC).
The Fort Mason move represents another step forward, both logistically and conceptually, for >play, says Jon Weinberg, MBA 15, one of three conference co-chairs. It coincides with broader changes to the program, including a shift away from a conference theme – last year's them was "always on" – to a broader focus on entrepreneurship and tech. Weinberg, co-chairs Bill Blaustein, MBA 15, and Chip Malt, MBA 15, and approximately 60 student volunteers spent most of a year planning >play 2014.
“Our goal with this conference has been to position Haas as the premier option for students hoping to move into tech and entrepreneurship careers,” Blaustein says.
New this year is an expanded Start Up Alley, an exposition space for 30 companies “Series-A and below.” The goal of "Start Up Alley" is to raise awareness of new business models and assist founders in finding potential collaborators and employees, Weinberg says. Four keynote speakers are also scheduled, incuding Mike Olson, co-founder and CSO of Cloudera; Meagan Eisenberg, vice president of customer marketing at Docusign; James Beshara, founder and CEO of Tilt; and Steven Aldrich, senior vice president of applications at GoDaddy.
The week before the event, an >play hackathon is scheduled, where hackers from Berkeley-Haas, the Bay Area, and other schools will compete to present a prototype and product pitch to a panel of Silicon Valley senior executives and venture capitalists – and have a chance to win up to $5,000. The winners of the hackathon, jointly led by Berkeley MBAs and masters students from the UC Berkeley School of Information Systems, will present at the conference on Oct 24.
Panels at the event include :
* Money 2.0: The Rise of Digital Currencies.
* Platform or Perish: The a Future bid B2B and SaaS.
* Mobile Adtech: The Future of Digital Advertising Sponsored by TubeMogul,” (TubeMogul co-founders Mark Rotblat, Brett Wilson (CEO), and John Hughes (president of products), all MBA 07).
*On-Demand Food: How Technology is Enabling Innovation in Food Delivery,” featuring startups InstaCart, SpoonRocket, Sprig, and Caviar.
On Friday afternoon, a DJ running a silent disco will pass out special headsets so students can dance without disrupting panels and keynote speaker.
Tickets cost $39 for students, $59 for alumni, and $79 for industry professionals and are available at http://playconference.net/tickets/.
For more information, or to register, visit http://playconference.net/.