Famous German scientist Georg Lichtenberg once said that each person is a genius at least once a year, but the best geniuses have their brightest ideas closest together.
If that’s truly the case, then the Durham enthusiasts planning the second annual PARADOXOS Festival are onto something. They believe they can force that collision of genius into existence by bringing together Durham’s arts, technology, music, maker, entrepreneurial and food communities and proving the city’s sum is greater than its parts.
Not exactly sure what that looks like in practice? Then check out 10 reasons you just might want to witness next week’s festival of events.
1. You don’t have to watch this creative girl-power video anymore to marvel at modern-day Rube Goldberg machines. The folks at Shoeboxed, the Paragraph Project and the Scrap Exchange are partnering up to build a life-size machine that spans PARADOXOS Village in downtown Durham. Come shock audiences with your tinkering abilities.
2. It’s promoting high school entrepreneurship, and that’s just cool. American Underground is hosting a Pitch Event for high schoolers around the region. Hillside New Tech and Voyager Academy in Durham, Raleigh Charter and Enloe in Raleigh and Southern Nash in Rocky Mount have students signed up to pitch ideas and get feedback from entrepreneurs and MBA and Law students from Duke.
3. Techcrunch East Coast Editor John Biggs will be in attendance, looking for tech startup stories out of the Triangle.
4. You can bring those friends and family members who have no clue what you do. The fast-growing email marketing software startup Windsor Circle is hosting a party and tour of its space and the rest of [email protected] On each stop will be details and explanation about the journey of a startup. It’s a first step in making PARADOXOS a regionwide affair rather than a tech community event.
5. Find an intern or your next employee (or a job for you seekers out there) at the carnival-themed Tech Jobs Under the Big Top, an event opening PARADOXOS the evening of Wednesday April 9th.
6. Get inspired by TED-like talks at The NEXT.(Photo above shows last year’s talk by investor Paul Singh) Learn about the future of sex from a Duke University expert. An IBMer at RTP shares her work building serious games. Hear all about the philosophy behind the 21c Hotel and contemporary art museum, opening in Durham next year. A Chicago investor from Ringleader Ventures shares his strategy of finding synergies between large companies and startups that lead to investment. And, there’s all kinds of music, dance and theater planned amid the talks. Also, at the Durham Art Guild’s Build-A-Party, innovators around the community will do some show-and-tell about the creative things they’re working on.
7. Most burgeoning startup communities have events like this—there’s Big Omaha, Everywhere Else in Memphis, Southland in Nashville,Chicago Ideas Week, South by Southwest in Austin and Moogfest, coming up later this month in Asheville—and PARADOXOS needs to get on that national radar. How does that happen? If people show up, lend a hand and blast it out to friends and social media contacts.
8. It’s way cheaper than all of the events above. $25 for a festival pass. (Buy them here.)
9. No one is left out at PARADOXOS. There’s a health innovators event, a GLBT gathering, concert for jazz aficionados, dance party for ravers, talent competition for hams, art exhibition for enthusiasts, creative-stuff making for kids and crafty adults and matchmaking for recruiters and jobseekers. Check out the full schedule here
10. This isn’t some for-profit tech conference where speakers are paid tens of thousands of dollars to show up and big corporations are footing the bills. This is a community affair, where anyone with an idea can take part and volunteers rule the day. Shoeboxed’s Taylor Mingos told me that organizers are up for any creative ideas that merge technology and entrepreneurship with Durham’s unique arts and foodie culture. It might be too late for this year, but don’t be afraid to share your thoughts for next.
11. Surprises! (At least that’s what I’m told) Need I say more?