Software professionals, students, and CEOs of million dollar companies spent the afternoon of Wednesday, April 23, networking and sharing ideas in the Stueckle Sky Center during the fourth annual develop.idaho tech event, presented by the Idaho Technology Council (ITC).
Develop.idaho 2014 was followed by a cocktail party presented by the ITC and Tech Cocktail. Tech Cocktail gave attendees an opportunity to further network with fellow software engineers and potential employers in a less formal environment, as well an opportunity to discuss the day’s event.
Martin Hambalek is the chair of develop.idaho and the co-chair of the IT Software Alliance.
“I think develop.idaho is really about the ‘why’. Why are we in the software industry? Why do we do what we do? Why are we solving problems, and what are those problems?” Hambalek said.
Develop.idaho draws professionals from the local, national, and international tech community to speak and network with other software professionals as well as with students who are interested in pursuing careers related to technology and software.
Senior information technology management major, Sean Wakeley, decided to attend develop.idaho because he saw it as a networking opportunity.
“I got a degree in general business, went out into the job market for a little while, and just realized that a lot of the jobs that I wanted I didn’t have the qualifications that they wanted,” Wakeley said.
Wakeley decided to return to Boise State for his second degree in order to pursue his passion for technology. He is interested in working in the Boise area after he graduates.
“Boise has a hard time keeping talent. A lot of my friends personally have left because they found better jobs elsewhere, but I want to try to stay here if I can,” Wakeley said.
Although develop.idaho is predominately a tech event, the technology community encompasses several areas of academia. The event even featured two major breakout sessions: one focused on technology, the other on business development in relationship to software.
“You could be in the school of business, you could be a computer science major, you could be an information technology major or even a marketing major and come to develop.idaho and learn something and meet people,” Hambalek said. “If you look at a software company it’s not just a bunch of coders.”
Develop.idaho has undergone some changes in the past year that reflect the breadth of the software community.
“Last year, we had a few more developer-level type people but we’ve tried to, what I call ‘raise the game,’ in terms of the quality of the content and the type of individuals that are speaking,” Hambalek said.
Featured speakers this year included two CEOs of $400 million companies.
Boise native Ryan DeLuca, CEO of BodyBuilding.com, opened the event, speaking about using passion to create a culture and a brand.
“If you went out of business, who would be devastated because you cant be replaced? If you can’t answer that, change what you’re doing,” DeLuca said.
DeLuca detailed his experience as a startup company in the 1990s, working out of his garage for years, highlighting the significance of tech events like develop.idaho, which provided an opportunity for students and software professionals to learn from successful business people.