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SPROCKIT Sync SV 2018: Connection, Collaboration and Wine Galore!

SPROCKIT’s successful startups, established corporate innovators and select thought leaders converged on Silicon Valley for two fun-packed productive days in California.

Wine & Wisdom

We began our journey at a winery full of innovation itself overlooking the heart of Silicon Valley. At R&W Vineyards, startups, corporate innovators and thought leaders convened to taste wine and talk candidly in a casual and inspiring atmosphere.

“The common driver here is wine,” said Pablo Hesse,  CEO of Teltoo. “We can talk about something else from work, which makes more connections with other people.”

“I love it. I think it is fantastic,” Director, Digital Program Management at Hearst Susanne Sumskis said. “It has been an opportunity to get to have the startups promote their businesses in a very personal yet casual level.”

Andreessen Horowitz – Innovation from A to Z

For our corporate innovators, wine tasting was only the appetizer of the day. Andreessen Horowitz hosted a private event for SPROCKIT corporate innovators featuring presentations and conversations with Andreessen Horowitz partner Benedict Evans as well as an interview with a16z portfolio company Overtime’s founder Anis Rashid and D’Arcy Coolican, another investment partner at Andreessen.

Benedict presented “Ten Years Futures,” talking about the “S-curve” of innovation adoption, followed by a discussion around the future of sports with Anis and D’Arcy.

Getting Our Google On (Sync SV Style)

On Wednesday, the SPROCKIT community gathered with a gaggle of Googlers at the Google’s PartnerPlex in Mountain View to connect with each other and discuss the hottest topics affecting media, entertainment and technology.

The day began with introductions from our corporate innovators and startups in the room. Following introductions were thought-provoking keynotes and discussions, led by Peter Brandt, product manager, Google, and Frank Chen, head of research, deal, and investing at Andreessen Horowitz. Peter spoke about machine learning’s effect on the industry, from captioning photos to translating images with text, recommending multimedia, enforcing copyright and fighting fraud.

Frank discussed the autonomy ecosystem from the standpoint of thinking beyond the obvious. He used self-driving electric cars as an example, encouraging the audience to consider how that shift will affect the world in the broader sense. What happens to the purchasing process, the public infrastructure, the energy grid, insurance, the justice system and shopping? In our complex society, self-driving technology will create profound shifts, and those who think ahead will be at the forefront of innovation.

SPROCKIT’s signature 1:1 meetings rounded out the morning, connecting startups and corporate innovators to discuss how they can work together to accelerate innovation for mutually beneficial results. FOX EVP Richard Friedel enlisted SPROCKIT thought leader Bill Whitehead to join him for meetings and provide an outsider’s perspective, showcasing the strength of the SPROCKIT network.

The afternoon began with a candid conversation led by Chrissy Towle, Head of News and Local Media, on building a culture of innovation. Chrissy touched on her 13 years at Google, sharing personal experiences on how she’s witnessed the company grow exponentially while maintaining its signature “Googlyness.”

It segued perfectly into the breakout session portion of the day, when tables met to discuss hot topics affecting the industry, including:

  • Machine Learning: Practical applications for ultimate impact
  • Innovative Content: Why virtual and augmented reality can no longer be considered fantasy
  • Video: Managing distribution platforms across OTT, Linear and digital video
  • Company creativity: Creating a successful culture of innovation

The action-packed day concluded with additional 1:1 meetings and an afternoon reception, where attendees got to continue building relationships over margaritas and Mexican food!

All in all, another successful SPROCKIT Sync filled with connecting and collaboration among our highly curated group. Thank you for everyone who participated.

Like what you see and wish you were part of it? SPROCKIT accepts nominations and applications year-round for prospective members. SPROCKIT alumni are welcome to participate through the SPROCKIT alumni package. Contact Stephanie for more details.