When a pandemic hits, conferences—or large gatherings of any sort—understandably see tremendous change. Two events, the Startup Summit and the T-Rex Summit, are coming back to the Triangle this month, but like so many things this year, they will look a little different.
Both will be hosted virtually—the Startup Summit on Thursday, Sept. 3 and the T-Rex Summit on Wednesday, Sept. 16.
The Co-Founders of Startup Summit, Keith Washo and Mark Bavisotto, have hosted entrepreneurship events for four years, but the coronavirus has forced them to adapt the conference they organize every six months into a virtual format. Still, the Startup Summit pair is committed to making their virtual event bigger and better than ever, with more than 100 participants already registered for the free event sponsored by IBM and Oracle.
Says Washo, “We hope that some founder, that some entrepreneur who’s scratching his head, who’s young and ambitious and doesn’t know how to deal with the pandemic and the changing times in the economy, will walk away from this with more confidence and inspiration to be uplifted and excited to move forward and wake up another day.”
Washo said Startup Summit, which this year is focused on making the second half of the year—Q3 and Q4—a success and thriving in a pandemic economy, aims to give you the tools that you can apply to reach the summit of your life and career. Some of this year’s speakers include former Cisco CEO John Chambers and Red Hat founder Bob Young.
While first and foremost a great networking event, Startup Summit is also a way to build community at a time when so many people in the Triangle are stuck at home, Washo said.
“We hope that people walk out of the conference feeling a little bit more alive, that we’re not alone,” Washo said. “There’s hundreds of people around me here, they’re all talking about the same thing, trying to figure things out—and we’re in this together.”
The original T-Rex Summit emerged in 2018 when Vince Beese and Eric Boggs, two Triangle entrepreneurs from Sales@Scale and RevBoss, respectively, came together. They noticed many of the events in the Triangle center around niche areas, but there were few events that focused specifically on growing revenue.
The 2020 T-Rex Summit was originally scheduled for April, but the pandemic first shifted the event into September, when Beese and Boggs hoped they could have their traditional in-person conference. But with the virus that has upended large gatherings still very much around, the duo decided to put on the 2020 T-Rex Summit virtually, something that Beese said opens up the conference to a new audience.
“I think we’re hitting it on the head with the message of, hey, let’s all come together as a community of people interested in growing our company’s revenues,” Beese said. “So that’s what we’re most proud of, that we’ve created this community.”
The keynote speaker is the New York Times bestselling author and Big Questions podcast host Cal Fussman. While the T-Rex Summit costs $35, people who already purchased a ticket for the 2020 event previously can apply their ticket to next year’s summit.
Through the T-Rex Summit, Beese wants attendees to gain tangible knowledge that they can put into practice that day.
“That’s what I hope,” Beese said. “Anyone that attends takes something away, some nugget that they can use that day or in the future.”