How to Build an Inclusive Tech Community: The Technori Way

This article was originally posted by Robbie Abed on Huffingtonpost.com

When I joined the Chicago startup community in 2012, I didn’t know a single person. I was as lost as they get.

So, I did what any lost entrepreneur would do. I went to Google and started searching for local networking events.

One of the first events I went to was an event called “Technori Pitch” at Chase Auditorium. It was five startups pitching their companies and one keynote speaker.

At the time, I had no idea what Technori was all about, but I knew after the first event, I wanted to be part of it. A few weeks later, I met with Seth Kravitz and Val Chulamorkodt, then co-founders of Technori and before I knew it, I was working with Technori and others to plan out how we could expand.

As a group, we decided our mission was simple: To build the world’s best community.

Of course, Facebook beat us to that mission; however, the drive continues at Technori to build an inclusive community. Seth Kravitz, now the CEO of Phlearn, recently passed on the torch to Scott Kitun and I couldn’t be happier to see the legacy continue.

In addition to celebrating Chicago tech entrepreneurs, Technori is making a bigger push into the media space. Scott is a broadcaster on WGN Radio where he interviews Chicago startup founders and the Technori.com website which features stories from Chicago entrepreneurs.

Three things stand out to me about entrepreneurs in the Chicago startup community:

  1. Always open to coffee meetings. I took 250 coffee meetings in 400 days. I don’t think there are many cities I could have done that. Every meeting I learned something new and most importantly, I gave back as much as I could through connections.
  2. Genuinely interested in the success of others. Even when I set up coffee meetings, not many people asked what the purpose of the meeting was. They were genuinely interested to see how we can help each other. It’s something I’ll never forget.
  3. Not trying to be Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley, by far, is the leader in tech. I don’t care what article you read; Silicon Valley is the leader. However, most Chicago entrepreneurs I’ve met have come to terms with who we are and how we can succeed. The community is unique in many ways.
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I haven’t been involved much in the startup community in a few years, but it’s obvious the community is growing faster than I ever could imagine. Most importantly, Technori is back to celebrating the tech community.

On Tuesday, August 1st, Technori is hosting “Technori Legends.”

Here is a brief blurb of the event.

Technori Legends is an EPIC outdoor showcase event celebrating our tech community. Join 1871 CEO Howard Tullman, Lightbank Managing Director Vic Pascucci, and a panel of fellow Legends, including; Genevieve Thiers, Jimmy Odom & Sai Rangachari as they welcome Seth Kravitz back to the stage he created to talk about the impact of building inclusively.

The tagline of the event is: “Legends do what people say can’t be done.”

My recommendation is to attend the event even if you don’t know a single soul.

You may make a few friends, get a new business partner and at the bare minimum, learn a few new things.

The event is sponsored by CBREHiredOra Interactive and World Business Chicago.

Technori LIVE full show with San Diego Comic Con and Technori Legends

Scott covers the next digital path for local news, online catfishing, Chicago as a tech hub with Spothero’s latest receipt of  $30 million dollars and the upcoming Technori Legends event on August 1st.

Sean Froelich of The Feed then joins Scott LIVE from Comicon to talk about the excitement at this year’s event and they discuss the future of media  and tech, a major theme at this year’s Comicon.

Listen to the show on WGNradio.com

Startup Showcase: The Future Of Media And Sean Froelich LIVE from Comicon

Video games are destroying manhood!

You can’t win the #GameofThrones if you’re playing too many video games, just ask Ed Sheeran!

On the latest edition of #TheFeed we dissect a recent study on how young men are less involved in the work force. We also goof on Sym Gym and introduce the Tovala Smart Oven.

Why are so many companies moving to Chicago?

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Sports Mockery, Chicago’s #1 Sports Blog

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It’s me. The American Product.

It’s the Fourth of July. America is now 241 years old. You may pop a bottle of Barefoot Sparkling Wine or ponder our history for a bit. I can’t dictate how you spend your damn holiday.

Since I have you here, let’s take a moment and consider our economy. The United States has an estimated worth of $18.170 trillion dollars. That’s a lot of gravy.

Americans see freedom of choice among endless brands and products including the holiday hot dogs and buns we stereotypically devour. Isn’t it nice? As we get absorbed by limitless consumerism, it’s important to note that you, yes you, are also a product on the market.

Do I come off as a little harsh? Well I’m a chef who doesn’t sugarcoat. Let me start off by saying that, yes, I do love this home, The United States of America. But let’s also be real.


“THE BIG POINT IS THAT IF GOOGLE AND FACEBOOK ARE THE PRIMARY INTERFACES TO BUYERS, OVER THE LONG-RUN THEY OWN THE RELATIONSHIPS  AND THE RELATED DATA.” 


You (American readers) and I both are products of the Grand American Experiment. President Trump and former President Obama are American made. Other American products include Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. We’re all developed by the American marketplace.

We also live in an incredible technological age. Just here in Chicago, Embodied Labs is using virtual reality to help us empathize with our aging loved ones and patients. The Wabash Lights is mixing science and creativity to beautify the city with your input. Meanwhile, Blue1647 is using startup ingenuity to empower underserved communities.

But on the flip side, the cost for these advancements means a price tag placed firmly on your digital forehead. It’s widely documented that both Facebook and Google sell your personal information so marketers can better target you with ads.

The biggest names in tech wish you a happy Fourth.

The internet ad industry is booming. A study by eMarketer predicts that ad spending will rise from $83.00 billion in 2017 to $129.23 billion by 2021. And now, nearly half of all ad dollars go to Google and Facebook. I’d wager that our tech giants would like to get to know us on an even more personalized level.

This type of innovation is both scary and brilliant. The ability to locate and identify us in a progressively deeper fashion could save lives in hospitals. But on the other hand, with Facebook and Google owning so much of the ad market, they can start calling shots. Who knows where this path leads? Business Insider recently interviewed Brian Wieser, a senior analyst at Pivotal Research group about this.

“The big point is that if Google and Facebook are the primary interfaces to buyers, over the long-run they own the relationships and the related data,” Wieser told BI via email. “Every partner they work with is subservient.”

It’s important to recognize how data operates us because Amazon, after an acquisition of Whole Foods, will continue taking advantage. Let’s be ahead of the curve in understanding how we are slyly manipulated.

The startup world is filled to the brim with creativity, great ideas, innovation, passion, hard-work, lying, cheating, abuse and, deception. It’s American. We should stop and take a pause to understand that it is no ill will to recognize our dark side. That’s the kind of appreciation I enjoy, taking a clear look at things. Humanity is the biggest startup on the planet, and this startup takes relentless innovation, care, and creativity.

The Fourth of July is a day to be grateful for the loves in our lives. But it doesn’t hurt to stop and think about the big picture, including the dreadful details.

Watch Sean Froelich every Monday night on “The Feed” where he dishes out top tech news with a bonus slice of weird. 

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Feed the social media monsters

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Goodbye autographed ball, hello personalized video

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