Celebrating Innovation with OpenCoSF

For the past few weeks, I’ve been spending a huge part of my time developing and coordinating something called OpenCoSF, a festival meant to celebrate the very unique spirit of innovation that exists in San Francisco.  Instead of learning about companies from the confines of yet another convention hall, this festival is all about getting to know who these companies really are — why they’re in the business they’re in, how they’re looking to disrupt the industry, and gives attendees a chance to see where the magic happens at ground zero.  And the lineup we’ve come up with is truly amazing — 80+ diverse organizations across San Francisco from film studios like The Moxie Institute and publishers like WIRED, to clinical trial pioneers like goBalto, and brands that occupy the SF technorati including airbnb, Twitter, Salesforce, and Google.

When festival co-founder and colleague at IPG, Brian Monahan, first approached me about this about two months ago, the festival was but an idea and a dream — but it was a vision I personally shared, and I thought (correctly) that it would be an amazing opportunity to bring something truly unique to the public. Looking back at these past couple months, it’s amazing to see how far we’ve come, surpassing all of our expectations with a line-up we thought would be 75 companies max to 85  and having the unfortunate (albeit good) problem of having to turn away many more great SF organizations who want to participate as host organizations.

With over 1,700 attendees registered, Friday, October 12 promises to be a busy day in San Francisco with salons set up across the city all focused on the topic of innovation and what it means to each of these organizations (And perhaps will answer in part that perennial question of what makes Silicon Valley so unique?).

Here are ten sessions I think are particularly unique and worth taking the time to check out (all of them are amazing though):

The Moxie Institute – Hosted by filmmaker and Webby Awards Tiffany Shlain, the Moxie Institute is a niche film studio creating and distributing socially minded films in exciting ways. Their session is at 12 p.m.

WIRED  – Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of WIRED and author of books such as “Free”, will be hosting a session at WIRED’s headquarters in SoMa. WIRED is a publication explores innovation and what’s next, particularly as it relates to business, culture and technology.  Their session is at 11 a.m.  (sold out)

gitHub – GitHub is the best place to share code with friends, co-workers, classmates, and complete strangers. Over two million people use GitHub to build amazing things together.  Their session is at 1 p.m.

Kimpton Hotels – Steve Pinetti, Senior Vice President of Creativity and Innovation, will be hosting a session on the Kimpton Hotels, the first boutique hotel concept in the US introduced in 1981.  Their session is at 4 p.m.

One Kings Lane – Doug Mack, CEO, will host a session discussing the vision behind the online marketplace for the home that brings members exceptional value on a spectacular collection of top-brand, vintage and designer items. Their session is at 2 p.m.

Mad Valley – Jeff Bernstein, EVP and managing partner, will host a session discussing an initiative at Universal McCann called Mad Valley.  Learn about the evolution of the media industry, and how media agencies can partner with startups and publishers to deliver unique, custom solutions. Their session is at 2 p.m. (disclaimer — I am currently an employee at UM and a driver of the Mad Valley initiative).

Groupon – Pioneer of daily deal sites, Groupon, will be making their San Francisco debut with OpenCoSF. Come hear Jyri Engestrom, Groupon’s Director of Product Management  and Peter Merholz, VP of Design to hear what they’re planning next. Their session is at 12 p.m. (sold out)

Greenstart – Rachel Barge, partner at Greenstart, will be hosting a session as an  investor and design studio for digital cleantech startups – companies using software to reduce dirty energy or expand clean energy. Greenstart runs a 3-month Startup Design™ accelerator in San Francisco that helps digital cleantech startups succeed.  Their session is at 10 a.m.

Automattic – Automattic may not be the same household name its service WordPress is but it is a company who has made a place for itself in powering so many sites around the web (including this one).  Stuart West, CFO, is hosting this session. Their session is at 2 p.m.

tcho – It’s hard to say no to chocolate, especially chocolate as amazing as tcho. Hear host Louis Rossetto, CEO & Chief Creative Officer, discuss their obsession with creating amazing chocolate. Their session is at 3 p.m. (sold out)

Look forward to sharing a day of thoughtful, inspiring, funny, and engaging sessions with all of you! Visit the entire line-up here: http://lineup.openco.us/

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