The Techies: Vancouver Startup Week’s past and present, BC Place looks dashing in teal and coral and the PNP Tech Pilot lifts off

The tweets you may have missed while you were attending Community Crawls or streaming live sessions.

Remember events? Remember gauging a room to figure out who to talk to and drink tickets and trying to perfectly time the navigation needed between sessions and cold pizza? In a world flipped upside down and deeply digitized, it’s hard to replicate. Events and event planning seem to be defined by “before” and “after” COVID-19 reared its ugly head.  

Vancouver Startup Week, appropriately condensed to VSW, bridged the gap between both those last week. Community Crawls paired with fantastic zoom sessions, a resplendent union between introvert and extrovert. As always, the VSW team pulled out all the stops to make the event a marquee offering for Vancouver’s tech community.

With the event still mostly virtual some of the best commentary came on social media. We’ve dusted off the Techie trophy and compiled our favourite tweets. Here are the Techies for VSW 2021.

Best nostalgia

Cue the music: The a-team was assembled once again. Kathleen and Hayley kicked off Tuesday’s slate of sessions with an engaging seminar on PR and storytelling for startups. As for that Farhan guy, he has been building an a-team of his own, I'm pretty sure

...anyways, Siddharth’s fond recollection of his inaugural VSW is a tad more—ahem—pure than my own. One of the first events I attended in the space was the kick off to Vancouver Startup Week 2016: the BCIC-New Ventures BC Competition. Microdermics received the top prize that evening. I, too, had hoped to come out ahead. I remember trying to use one of those aforementioned drink tickets for a top shelf cognac. The bartender gave me history’s wryest ever smile. He uttered a simple “no” and I accepted a Heineken as my consolation prize. 

Best new fashion

Best #patioszn

Best activation of a local landmark

Attending events seems to build a deepened intimacy to the city you’re in. Routines are changed and commutes vary as you bounce around to different sessions. It seems one takes heed of your surroundings in an increased capacity. For a mostly virtual event, it was fun to see how this manifested for VSW. Their pre-event swag included masks. Dining options were limited (or perhaps improved) to outdoor seating. BC Place joined the squad. All of these seemed to be distinctly Vancouver and distinctly VSW and distinctly event-esque.

Best influencer pro tip

Best DM receipts

Best Schitt’s Creek gif usage

VSW’s co-chair Vivian Chan definitely earned a beverage or two. Overseeing, promoting and supporting an event of this scale is no small feat. It was nice, also, to see the receipts of an overwhelmingly joyous DM thread to warm the heart and body perhaps more than a vodka soda could do. Even David and Moira Rose agree that VSW would be a treat. 

Best takeaways

Wrk, in a heroic social media display, became something of an aggregator this week, hand picking a few highlights from the sessions. It’s perhaps not the hero we deserve—I’m sure we all wish we could’ve attended every single session—but the hero we needed. 

Best stop the presses!

Fire up the dulcet tones of breaking news. An orchestral swirl of Muzak building suspense to indicate that the freshest of information is mere seconds away. A session on Friday deserved this musical interlude. Brenda Bailey, MLA, went off-script. The smiles on the faces of the other panelists at the session—Ray Walia, CEO of Launch Ventures, and Jill Tipping, CEO of BC Tech Association—were profound. I think I still hear them clapping as I type this. 

Bailey was too excited to wait for the scheduled announcement set to come later that afternoon to share that British Columbia’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) Tech Pilot would be made permanent.

Isn’t this what events, virtual or digital, are supposed to drive? Conversations that lead to more conversations, all acting as fuel to a collective fire. Perhaps it was a past event and past conversations that ignited the initial spark rejoiced upon in real time as the PNP Tech Pilot received a permanent promotion. 

Best put a bow on it

VSW can be seen as an event acting as a microcosm of the Vancouver tech community at large. Dedicated individuals create space for dialogue, connectivity and teaching. Announcements and awards are presented, a culmination of weeks, months and years of moving the needle forward by Vancouver’s best and brightest. Innovators eager to break into the space are paired with entrepreneurs to learn from and patios to unwind on. 

I’m sure we’ll all see news, innovations and partnerships stem from VSW 2021. I can’t wait.