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TechCon: A Place to Learn, Grow and Experiment


As Clay Shirky wrote about the newspaper industry in 2009:

“There is one possible answer to the question, ‘If the old model is broken, what will work in its place?’ The answer is: Nothing will work, but everything might. Now is the time for experiments, lots and lots of experiments, each of which will seem as minor at launch as Craigslist did, as Wikipedia did.”

It doesn't matter the size of your station or digital department, how much time you've spent investing in new strategies or if you're just beginning; when it comes to digital strategy, no one has it all figured out. And each one of us plays a vital role by running lots and lots of experiments and -- even more important -- sharing out those lessons, failures, epiphanies, and successes so we can all win. In the startup world it's about making a series of small bets so, win or lose, you learn quickly with low risk.

In public media we can do this on an exponential level -- by making a series of small bets across our network of stations, together we will learn faster than any one company ever could.

One of the great things about PBS TechCon, and why it's important to you as a manager, mentor and leader within the system to send your staff, is that there’s a true spirit of sharing: If I've tried something new that worked, I want to share it with you and your team so that you can benefit, too. Or, perhaps I've tried something that failed and need to commiserate and hear your fresh perspective on ways to pivot (if so, come to our session "How to Fail Gloriously—Then Come Back From Defeat!").

In three days of PBS TechCon sessions, your staff will learn all kinds of great tactics to use technology to serve our audiences, and they'll come back with a Facebook feed full of new contacts they can continue to reach out to for brainstorming, best practices and problem solving. It's those connections, born of hallway conversations and personal experience sharing, that will inspire them, advance your station’s vision and build the kind of collaborative, innovative public media system this nation needs.

I'm excited to share what we've learned from our experiments at KQED, hear about yours, be inspired and benefit from great ideas. Come join us in Las Vegas, registration is still open, so we can build on our experiments together. Also check out the PBS Digital TechCon grants, the deadline to submit an application is March 25, 2016. We're counting on you.

Colleen Wilson | Executive Director | KQED

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