OUTC 2013: Reliving the Highlights
Earlier this month, over 200 tech-interested LGBTQ students, company representatives, and O4U volunteers descended upon Facebook’s global headquarters in Menlo Park, California (many an attendee checked in on Facebook at Facebook!) for the second-annual Out for Undergrad Technology Conference. This year, OUTC spanned the whole weekend, and nearly doubled in the number of student attendees and participating companies since the inaugural conference –– but the message remains the same: “Don’t try to blend in. Be yourself. Only then can your identity stop defining the limitations of your career goals and instead help you define how to reach them.”
2013′s OUTC also introduced new content such as the Project Pitch — where students were teamed up randomly to rapid-prototype a business or product concept, which they then presented to Venture Capitalists, product managers, and developers for feedback. Some of the pitches had such legs that VC’s encouraged those teams to consider pursuing their projects beyond concept-stage. Other product ideas made us wonder, “Why didn’t we think of that?!”
On Saturday evening of OUTC, Amy Errett, Venture Partner at Maveron, gave an electric keynote speech, in which Amy echoed the spirit of Out for Undergrad that all of us should bring our authentic selves to what we do everyday. She shared that since she wasn’t out at the start of her career, she wasn’t able to discover what she was truly good at — and implored the audience to embrace who we are in order to “discover your individual genius”. She also talked about her experiences as CEO and co-owner of Olivia in San Francisco, a vacation and travel company for lesbians, which Amy said established her as a “Professional Gay”! It was impossible for anyone in the audience not to feel inspired and motivated to pursue their passions.
More OUTC highlights:
• Engaging panels and Tech Talks from companies spanning from fast-growing startups to tech giants, including Twitter, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Pandora, LinkedIn, Netflix, Airbnb, Uber, Box, Square, and more.
• Some of San Francisco’s most popular food trucks pulled into Facebook’s Hacker Square for Saturday’s dinner
• Many attendees left their mark on Facebook’s literal Wall.
• VentureBeat covered OUTC and summed up why a tech company should hire high-calibre LGBTQ candidates: “at the end of the day, you should hire a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, curious, or other developer because in all the ways that matter, they’re just like the rest of us.”
Check out photos of OUTC on our O4U Facebook page, here!