Geeks On A Beach Conference 2017
Way back in my formative years (circa 2000), it was social suicide to be labeled a geek or nerd or be associated with them. Everybody else wanted to be the cool kid, or so I thought that to be. Fast forward to now, this mermaid found herself in the beautiful city of Puerto Prinsesa attending an international technology conference called Geeks On A Beach (GOAB).
I’ve never been to GOAB and to Puerto Prinsesa City before but I did hear of GOAB a few years back thought it was one of the coolest events I ever came across. When you’re young, a little dumb and a lot broke, it was easy making decisions that involved quite a lot of money – long story short, I couldn’t go back then.
GOAB-bound instead of Guam
I was supposed to be on a trip bound for Guam but the US Embassy decided that it wasn’t the right time to approve my US visa application so instead, I was with some 400 participants gathered in Puerto Prinsesa City in Palawan for the fifth annual GOAB conference.
GOAB brought together people, from all walks of life, in every corner of the globe, who were passionate about startups, tech, design and basically, making the world a better place.
Undersecretary Monchito Ibrahim from the Department of Information and Communications Technology said during the keynote that “GOAB has become an institutional annual event for the Philippine startup community. It has serves as a pioneering effort that gave a venue to gather the local and international technology and business communities.”
Adding that GOAB is both as an effective learning ground and a chance to expose itself in one of the most enthusiastic and inspiring group of people in the country.
Jojo Flores of Plug and Play Technology Center said during one of the interviews discussed why is important to create IT-based, knowledge-based companies. “You get that from startups. It’s for the next generation.”
He adds “The world is changing. You cannot fall behind. That’s why we need to do this now. That’s why it’s important.”
Learning nuggets from GOAB
For two days, I got to listen to valuable insights from the big names in the startup and technology community. There were inspiring keynotes, panels, and my favorite, information-filled discussions with separate breakout tracks in between. Safe to say, it was not a vacation for the brain but it definitely pumped every nerve in me because almost everybody I met was passionate about something.
Startups from different phases experienced developers and those who are just starting out in the tech industry – regardless of what stage they were in, one could sense the enthusiasm overflowing in the room. It was invigorating to see all these people together in one place.
The conference was such a treasure chest of knowledge listening to panel discussions and audience questions every after breakout sessions. I got the opportunity to have a short chat with some amazing people that lead the list of the world’s prominent names in the field of startups and technology like Yobie Benjamin.
IdeaSpace Foundation executive director Diane Eustaquio, whom I had the pleasure to spend a delicious pizza lunch with, was one of my favorite panelists. Responsible for managing the foundation’s flagship incubation and acceleration program, her stories of her journey towards IdeaSpace and her passion to help people (young and old alike) keep the entrepreneurial
spirit alive was infectious.
A non-tech person would think how intimidating it would be to be in the same room, breathing the same air with CEOs, directors and other tech VIPs. It was actually but when I got there, the atmosphere was the opposite. Startups actually do make the world a better place by providing solutions to people’s problems.
What’s better is that you don’t need to be a developer, have millions or know how to code! You do need to have the passion, a brilliant idea of the solution to a problem and an awesome team to help you get through. It’s exciting to see how the Philippine startup community grows and who knows, the next Facebook or unicorn (a start-up company valued at more than a billion dollars) would come from us Filipinos?