Techmanity Struggles to Live up to Bold Ambitions

It billed itself as “Silicon Valley's Biggest Annual Gathering” and the “biggest tech event of the year”—a bold boast for an event that had yet to draw a single attendee. It laid claim to being Silicon Valley's “official” technology conference, while actually there is no such thing. And it fibbed that it was “the first” event of its type; Mercury News columnist Sal Pizarro astutely noted that it seemed to have “just copied [Metro-produced] C2SV's blueprint.” And despite some big name partnerships with Samsung, Cisco, Adobe and IDG World Expo, Techmanity’s chest-thumpers found out what others have—numbers don’t always align with ambition. The opening sessions with actor/musician Jared Leto and former Lady Gaga manager Troy Carter drew a few hundred attendees, but attendance dwindled to barely more than 100 in a Convention Center ballroom set up for many times that size. Electronic duo Thievery Corporation played to a mostly empty City National Civic. The next night, despite handfuls of free tickets distributed by Techmanity, the San Jose State’s Event Center pipe-and-draped off empty sections and slid the stage toward the middle when Weezer drew about half of the facility’s capacity. Mysteriously, Crown and The Mob, announced as a signature act, disappeared from the bill. “We won't be performing in San Jose,” Crown tweeted. “In this business, there are things you just can't take personal. Suck it up, and Move on. Nothing surprises me. Next.” The one event that packed the house was T-Mobile’s pop-up concert at Studio 8 with international DJs Dash Berlin and Kat Lane. But it turns out the capacity crowd got tickets free on Eventbrite. Surveying the barely drinking age, freebie-chasing crowd, not necessarily “the best minds of our generation—the firestarters, malcontents, trailblazers and dreamers” promised by Techmanity’s promotional materials, a national T-Mobile exec said its San Jose concert would be a “one-time” event.

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  1. An object lesson in how much the social/techno mavens DON’T know.

    I always wondered, “What kind of shaggy, tattooed, pot-smoking, hygiene-challenged, socially-inept, horn-dog techno-geek goes to these things?”.

    Apparently, not even enough for a decent photo-op.

  2. Well, you have to start somewhere and while there will always be lessons to learn, the event has the right goal in mind and is certainly positioned in the right area to draw the kind of attendance they aspire to. It’s easy to critique, but just remember that every big event today, started as small event with big aspirations at one point. Give it time.

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