Visionary Day highlights

EntreFEST is an opportunity each year to spend two days making new connections, discussing new ideas and applied business techniques, and learning from the best professional resources in the field. It wouldn’t be a progressive and thought-provoking conference without futurism, emerging technologies, and the predictive exercises determining what this means for your business.

To bridge the gap between the spring opportunities for these discussions, we unveiled a series of single-day events dedicated to each EntreFEST theme. Friday, October 10th introduced a special set of attendees to Futurism. These Visionaries are immersed in the field, dabbling in emerging technologies or leading their surrounding communities into the future of business. Inspired by the traditional EntreFEST scheduling approach, the day was a mashup of non-traditional presentations, tours, and creativity-lubricating beverages.

Guests kicked off the day at a local coffee shop The Early Bird cafe, allowing some time to meet, mingle and caffeinate for the jam-packed agenda. Heading down the street, the room at the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance filled up to hear about machine learning and a sudoku-solving app by Brad Dwyer at Hatchlings. Britton Langdon continued the conversation about fabrication and mechanical contracting through their online platform FabPro1, and the traditional presentations were rounded out by a Cryptocurrency introduction by Chris Stewart with SuredBits.

In EntreFEST planning, we build in strategic breaks made for conversations in spaces you don’t expect. Believe it or not, walking between locations allow for quick strategic discovery between strangers that can turn into future business meetings, and career-making referrals. We sent the group out on a short walk to BeraTek Industries, and they arrived deep in conversation, but ready for a tour.

We toured BeraTek Industries to see what a small, agile company can do while setting a new standard for manufacturing. This highly-effective company, buried in our own backyard, that attract attention from the likes of Mark Cuban, was a great behind-the-scenes opportunity.

We launched into the afternoon session with hands-on demonstrations from autonomous vehicles to virtual reality. Three leaders in their fields provided attendees with the ability to ask questions and interact with technologies not available in other settings. Dr. Daniel McGeehee elaborated on the technologies that outfit the fleet at University Of Iowa’s National Advanced Driving Simulator Laboratories. Guests could get comfy in a Volvo with +$200,000 of smart tech. GovRED created speciality settings for guests to explore the world of virtual reality. And personalized EntreFEST laser cuts were created filling the room with the sweet aroma of scorched birch carvings.

For a tools-heavy workshop, Matt Arnold, an EntreFEST veteran and member of the 2018 Advisory Team, encouraged attendees to walk through their business while incorporating customer experience, and highlighted the importance of how thinking about the future of business can save you from an embarrassing, failed business snafu by not applying predictive reasoning.

After an intense day of scheduling, Rob Merritt provided an intense finale on the day. Whiskey was poured, and attendees closed in for storytelling about exploring the world of Transhumanism. While Rob was writing the screenplay that was turned into a movie last year, his years of research spanned from robotics to artificial intelligence. The questions brought to the table in this discussion covered everything from religion to labor laws.

The day successful introduced attendees to new tools, unique experiences, and a dive into futurism to spark further conversations.

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