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The joy of techs
For the fourth consecutive year, Geekend pulls focus on digital innovation

Because today’s technology is advancing so quickly, it’s sometimes hard to focus and absorb the latest thing — because the moment you do that, there’s something even more innovative and impressive coming around the corner.

That’s one of the guiding philosophies of Geekend, the Savannah–based interactive conference bringing tech and creative visionaries together in one place – according to the Geekend manifesto, it’s a think tank for “the brightest geeks, designers, developers, artists, and social media mavericks.”

The fourth annual Geekend takes place Nov. 8–10 at various locations around Savannah.

“Part of our mission is not just to be keeping up with technology, but staying ahead of it,” says executive director Sloane Kelley. “Making sure that we’re bringing in the thought leaders out there that are coming up with the next crazy idea that may or may not take off, but there may be some nugget of learning in there that’s going to feed the next big idea.

“And if that person happens to be in attendance at Geekend, that would be incredible. But we want to take those thinkers and hopefully inspire the people that are attending the event.”

This year’s keynote speaker is Kickstarter co–founder and creative director Charles Adler.

He’ll speak Friday at 7 p.m., in the Coastal Georgia Center auditorium.

“I think he’s a great representation of what the spirit of the event is all about,” Kelley says. “And he’s someone that’s been on our radar for a couple of years. We’ve reached out in the past, and he was very eager to join us at previous Geekends – and the timing never quite synched up.”

Other speakers, presenters and panelists for 2012 include Neal Holman, art director and producer for Floyd County Productions (Archer, Unsupervised); Code for America Brigade program director Kevin Curry; social media specialist Lars Bredahl; CBS Outdoor Canada creative director Mimi Chan; Rails Machine president Kevin Lawver; Business Bullpen founder Tom Wickersty; numerous digital creative lights from SCAD, and plenty of others.

Like all digital innovations, Geekend started as a tiny germ of an idea, a grassroots project. In these four years, Kelley says, “we’ve learned so much. The first year, really, it was a bit of an experiment. It was an idea that we really had a lot of passion for, and belief in, but it was really an experiment to see how it would resonate with the local community. We were all really stoked to see that it did resonate in a big way. And it started catching on from there.”

As word spreads, more people attend every year. And the speakers’ list gets more impressive.

“We’ve always operated on very, very tight budgets,” offers Kelley, “and we haven’t done any traditional advertising, really, to spread the word. So I think it’s a testament to how excited people have been about Geekend that it has grown.
“But it’s also grown in reach. It’s exciting to see things spread through the digital channels.”

For all the facts, figures and gory details on the 2012 Geekend, go to geek–