As a writer for Inc. and an entrepreneur myself, I go to a fair share of startup events. Living in San Francisco, the number of events geared towards entrepreneurialism can be overwhelming. Because of this, it is rare that I find an event that raises my eyebrows anymore. But just when I thought I'd seen it all, I came across NewCo, an event unlike any other that I'd attended.
For anyone looking to learn about company culture first hand by stand out companies in their city, there is no better event to attend than NewCo. The company is on a mission is to identify, celebrate, and connect the engines of positive change in our society, and have quickly spread to 16 festivals in cities across the U.S., Latin America, and Europe, involving more than 1,000 companies and 20,000 participants.
Below, I'll go into some of my key takeaways from my NewCo experience, and also a few key reasons the conference really stuck out to me as being the best event this year.
1. The event encourages deeper interaction between the companies and attendees.
It's hard for me not to place NewCo in the conference category, but at the same time it would be wrong not to compare it to a festival. To define it best, I'd say it's a mashup of an open studio tour and a business conference, with the vibe of a music festival.
During the event, I was able to see some of the best companies' offcies in San Francisco, and even get up and personal with a few key members. The Head of Partnerships from Uber, Head of Revenue of Pinterest, and The Founder of Periscope were a few amazing entrepreneurs I was able to speak with.
What I think was most unique about talking with these executives was how casual they acted. I believe this is strongly related to the fact that we were in their office, so it was as if they were right at home. This allowed the attendees to speak to the companies in a more personal way than you'd see at a conference or outside event.
2. Attendees get a sense of each company's individual culture
My favorite part of NewCo was being able to experience each company's culture, and note how different each one was. For instance, Uber has a very different culture than Pinterest, but going to both offices showed me how much culture affects aspects of our businesses we don't even recognize. The way people greet each other, the clothes employees wear, even the food that is served to guests, is all part of the culture the company establishes.
As an attendee, I was able to learn how each organization is driving for positive, transformative change in its industry vertical. I heard founder's stories, took tours of unique workspaces, listened and engaged with panel discussions and experienced each company's product or service via a hands-on demonstration. There's no better way to learn about a company's culture than to experience it yourself.
NewCo San Francisco was a blast, and I look forward to going to more events like this as more startup cities pop up around the U.S. and around the world. NewCo has plans to grow to 20+ cities by the end of 2016. If the event is in your city, definitely check it out. It'll be an experience you'll never forget.