Fri 9/5 @ 8am
By John Benson
When Paul McAvinchey arrived in Cleveland a few years ago to work in product development at a local start-up, the Ireland native wanted nothing more than to fit into the Northeast Ohio tech community.
This led to the creation of TechPint, which in a nutshell is nothing more than a way for creative folks to get together to talk about the industry while having a pint or two. A year later, the TechPint events have attracted like-minded individuals numbering in the hundreds.
Now McAvinchey is upping the ante with the inaugural Industry Digital Summit taking place Fri 9/5 at RED Space (inside Hotcards, 2400 Superior Ave.) in Cleveland. The daylong event includes national and regional experts sharing experiences and insights while networking and partying into the night.
The speaker list features more than 20 key national speakers, including Digital Royalty CEO Amy Jo Martin. The renowned social-media marketing agency works with clients such as the Cleveland Cavaliers. Also speaking is Bob Moesta, co-architect of the famous jobs-to-be-done framework for product innovation, and Ian Sigalow, venture capital partner at Greycroft in New York.
Cool Cleveland talked to McAvinchey about TechPint and the potential of the Industry Digital Summit.
Cool Cleveland: Let’s start with TechPint. What exactly was your idea and how did it pan out?
Paul McAvinchey: TechPint has been going on for a year and a half in Cleveland and Akron. It’s a quarterly mini-tech conference that we do in a bar. And it blew up over the last year and a half. There were 400 at the last one we did at the Agora Theatre. So I started that as a niche to meet people around here and kind of connect the start-up community. After we kind of hit 400 attendees, I felt like there was a facility to do a bigger one that brought in people from Columbus, Detroit and Pittsburgh.
So what’s your vision for the Industry Digital Summit?
When I looked around here, I didn’t really see anything like Big Omaha, SXSW or any of the kind of big conferences focused on people working with Internet technology. So I decided to put one together with the TechPint team.
For anyone who has attended a TechPint event, how will Industry Digital Summit differ?
It’s a different beast altogether. It’s organized by the same people and it has a similar personality but our intent is to make it an important national conference with a focus on the Rust Belt. I looked around and couldn’t find any event that had the kind of caliber speakers that Big Omaha or events in New York City or Tech Week in Chicago would draw here. I said, “Why can’t we get these big names here like Ian Sigalow and Amy Jo Martin?” It was my hunch we’d be able to and it actually turned out that we did. It’s a whole daylong event. Then afterwards, we’re having happy hour and a pig roast outside of the Hot Cards premises.
So what demographic are you targeting?
Broadly speaking, this is for forward-thinking people who are using digital technologies to create something new. It started off for startup founders. That’s closest to where I am. I see startup founders working on their own but these people exist across the board in marketing agencies and bigger companies. These are people who are proactive about using these digital technologies to kind of shake things up.
It would seem as though the Industry Digital Summit could be a multi-day event. Are you looking ahead?
Right now, we’re completely focused on getting it right the first year, but there’s no reason why it can’t be multi-day bringing in 3,000 or 5,000 people into the city and tackling other subjects. This one we’re focused on digital innovation. But we can take it to engineering and marketing and enterprise. There’s lot of possibilities for it.
For more information about Industry Digital Summit, or to buy tickets – ranging from $99 (limited amount) to $199 – visit indsum.com.
When he’s not writing about music or entertainment, he can be found coaching his two boys in basketball, football and baseball or watching movies with his lovely wife, Maria. John also occasionally writes for CoolCleveland.com.