One year. One city. Endless opportunities.

The Future is Now

I'm getting excited about the weekend -- and FutureMidwest is one of the main reasons.

If you recall, the region's largest technology and knowledge conference will make its debut in Royal Oak today and Saturday. FutureMidwest is the fusion of two metro Detroit conferences that took place in 2009 –Module Midwest Digital Conference and TechNow.

Check out what co-founder Adrian Pittman has to say about the conference, Detroit and its potential.

By Adrian Pittman
Co-founder of FutureMidwest and director of development and partner at Module

My goal for the Module conference last year was to collect and highlight some best practices from the world of new media. It was essentially a launch party for my company's brand. I expected a small crowd of friends, coworkers and clients who were already involved in that space. But I was wrong. Purely by mistake, I had tapped into a much broader audience that wanted to understand the impact new media could have on their company and brand. I learned metro Detroiters were much more interested than I expected in learning about new technologies. Many were looking for the same answers at the same time. With the Module conference, we had grabbed the attention and focus of a very large audience.

When I met Jordan Wolfe last year after TechNow, I realize there was a piece missing from Module – the entrepreneurial focus. Entrepreneurism is heavily tied into where this region finds itself economically and perceptually right now. Detroit was once the center of the universe, but that rapidly changed. The Midwest never fully came through to the other side as the economy, industries and technology evolved. When the economy flipped, it was obvious that the way our region became accustomed to doing business was no longer working. To survive, we had to change.

Most other conferences were already speaking to those who understood the importance of using the social Web as a new method of communicating and conducting business. But those conferences didn't speak directly to the entrepreneurs. Jordan's TechNow conference did. TechNow didn't draw in the tech geeks, rather people striving to improve their businesses and industries. It felt very much like an event you would find in California, not Michigan.

It was obvious that Jordan and I were telling two sides of the same story, and we needed to bring everything together. As we were doing research to determine if this new conference idea had any legs, we found that blending the entrepreneurial-focused message with the new media educational message from Module created a huge outpouring of support. We put together a team that could make this conference come alive, and FutureMidwest was born.

We've been happy to see people from diverse industries in metro Detroit and beyond registering for FutureMidwest. Our audience won't be comprised of only marketers and tech-savvy people, but also those who have a high-tech need for their business and industry.

What does the road ahead look like? Our goal is to create a melting pot of industries that all come together for this annual conference. We want FutureMidwest to change the way people think about growing their business, building relationships and communicating.

There's a need for passionate thought leaders in our region who aren't afraid to take a risk for the sake of business growth.

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