When was the last time someone called you a geek? And more importantly, how did you react?
In grade school I was a nerd, a dork, a geek. I had it coming: I wore glasses AND got good grades. Tough combination when you're nine years old.
But when I got a phone call late last year and the voice on the other end called me a geek, it wasn't an insult. I was being invited to be part of the founding board of GEEKmemphis, an organization dedicated to promoting the awareness and adoption of technology in the Memphis community.
In other words, we want to make everyone a geek. Including you.
And here's how we're going to do it: TechCamp Memphis. It's a one-day educational event on November 3rd for technology users at all levels. And I mean ALL levels. Whatever your interests, however tech savvy you are (or aren't), TechCamp has something to offer you:
• Are you a developer scratching your head about microframeworks in PHP? We've got a session for you.
• Are you a small business owner trying to figure out how to use social media to boost your business? Then you'll love our Online Marketing curriculum.
• Are you a student considering a career as a programmer? We've got a whole 101-level developer track with your name on it.
We've got instructor-led sessions, panel discussions, networking opportunities, a business expo... if it's technology-related, you'll find it at TechCamp.
As with any non-profit event, TechCamp is a labor of love. It's required countless hours of planning and organizing, the support of several generous sponsors, and a groundswell of interest from the community to validate our efforts. But our successes so far have reminded us why we're doing this in the first place:
For ourselves. Because when you have a passion for something — whether it's sports or food or technology or whatever else — there's no greater joy than sharing your enthusiasm with others. That's why over a dozen Memphians have volunteered their time as presenters to share their expertise with others.
For our fellow geeks. Because Memphis has a thriving tech-oriented community that benefits from opportunities to trade knowledge, share experiences, and build connections. Behind every argument over preferred programming languages, operating systems, social media platforms, etc., is a shared love of technology. We bring that common ground to the forefront.
For non-geeks. Because we know there's an inner geek in everyone just waiting to come out at the right time. For some, that time is when they get that first glimpse of code and grasp the possibilities of writing their own programs; for others, it's when they start to see the "big picture" in online marketing and realize the vast potential for building relationships with their customers; for others still, it's realizing that they now have the tools to share all those great ideas or short stories or photos with the world. And frankly, for others it's just a matter of no longer feeling intimidated by technology.
And finally, for our city. Because we recognize that Memphis is teeming with incredible talent, passion, and energy — and access to technology translates into new avenues for all those wonderful attributes to be expressed.
So put us on your calendar for November 3rd. We've got a full day of fun presentations, great food, smart people, and some cool door prizes to boot. I hope to see you there... and I hope you don't mind if I call you a geek!
Tom Logue is Vice President of Message Factors, a Memphis-based marketing research firm. You can follow Tom on Twitter at @TomBLogue. While you're at it, why not follow @TechCampMemphis and @GEEKmemphis too?