Redg Snodgrass and Kyle Ellicott, co-organizers of GLAZED. Photo Credit Michael O'Donnell.
BeyondCurious sponsored the GLAZED conference on the business of wearable technology on September 30, 2013 in San Francisco. The one day conference brought together wearable tech's innovators, entrepreneurs, and investors for an electrifying, inspiring conversation on the business of wearable technology. I caught up with the organizers, Redg Snodgrass and Kyle Ellicott of Stained Glass Labs, and got their thoughts on the conference, what they learned, and the future of wearable technology.
Why do you think the GLAZED conference was such a success?
RS: I think that the topic resonated with the community. There was a genuine need and concern within the ecosystem to begin this discussion around monetization and the business around this technology.
What did you learn at the event about putting on a conference that you didn’t know before?
KE: There are so many moving pieces and parts to a conference like GLAZED including the hackathon and fashion show and at the end of the day, what we learned was that it’s all about customer service and treating your sponsors, partners, attendees, press like equal all-stars. We learned how important it is to underscore the fact that everyone involved is worth it and that you want them there no matter what.
What did you learn about the business of wearable technology that you didn’t know before?
KE: That this business is truly something global. We had over 20+ countries represented from press, entrepreneurs and company founders. This industry isn’t something that just one city wants to be involved in, but the entire world.
RS: I didn’t really understand how near mainstream it was, and how passionate people were going to be from all different directions.
What was the most unexpected insight that came out of the GLAZED conference?
RS: I think that Yobie Benjamin’s announcement that he was leaving such a large financial institution [Citibank] and position of CTO to go into the wearable tech business blew our minds when we first found out about it. Also, seeing some of the large enterprises getting excited and jumping on board early was both encouraging and interesting. People from all over the world were at GLAZED, over 20+ countries were represented by attendees and we weren’t expecting such a large international presence at the conference. I think that goes to show just how big this industry is going to be.
Can you tell me about some of the themes that you heard throughout the conference?
KE: There was more talk about hardware than there was software. The common theme was more about product development than it was about application development.
RS: Wearables are in the market today and are closer than we expect.
Rapid Fire: What was the:
Best outfit worn by an attendee?
RS: Besides me and my pink shirt? Eliane Fiolet because she’s always stylish.
Best comment you heard or over heard?
KE:“I’ve never seen so many Google Glasses in one room.”
RS:“There’s almost as many cool things going on outside the auditorium where speakers are speaking, as there is inside.”
Most unlikely connection you made?
RS: Luca Toledo who manages technology for the country of Brazil, and is a fascinating cyborg anthropologist. It’s amazing what they are doing there and I’m super stoked to see future developments.
Stereotype of wearable tech that was subverted?
RS: That it can’t be sexy. We saw lots of sexy products and sexy people wearing wearable tech and rocking it. Especially at the Digital Fall fashion show.
Most surprising use of wearable tech that you saw or heard about at the conference?
KE: Shruti Gandhi from Samsung taking a picture of the audience while she was on stage on her using her watch.
RS: We’ve been seeing a lot of stuff that is being placed on babies and children for health. I believe that we’re coming to a time where children and future generations will always be connected through multiple devices and will grow up with technology and wearable tech, especially. Also, it blew my mind how many people were wearing Google Glass at the conference.
Will you do GLAZED again next year? If so, what will you differently?
KE: Definitely without a doubt, yes. We will make the next one bigger and showcase more wearable tech both big and small. This year we were able to showcase companies that are up and coming and next year we want to get those as well as bigger corporations showing their products, too.
What is next for Stained Glass Labs?
KE: We have our holiday party in December, Wearable Wonderland, which will give us an opportunity to give back to the community by donating 10% of all proceeds to charity. We will also we have a couple of fun hacking events similar to the GLAZED Hackathon. And we’ll soon be opening our office space to kick off the acceleration program of Stained Glass Labs!