Once upon a time I was given an amazing opportunity to go to New Orleans for Collision Conference 2016… Ok, so it just happened and instead of forgetting everything I’ve learned and experienced, I want to write about it while it’s still fresh.
Collision is a tech conference made for everyone. New Orleans and Collision hit every check on my “was it worth my time” list. Here are a few take aways and final thoughts for you to take…
- OMG, I came out of my shell and socialized. Luckily Collision is super networking friendly and has so many “go here at this time and meet up” opportunities it was easy to just join in. AND, I had fun.
- I got to have dinner with my most favorite uncle. He lives about 45 minutes from NO so he drove down and took me out to dinner like he has been doing for the past 30 years 🙂
- I learned that my OCD research pays off! My blog reading, Foursquare following–self found the most amazing places to go and see. Even the locals were asking how I found some of these places, haha!
- Any time I can meet other women in my industry or even just other motivated, hard working women in general, I am all for it and I met a lot of them. Collision gave 10,000 women FREE tickets to attend this years conference just by referring another woman to attend as well. I am so thankful that some companies are doing more to ensure the future of women in tech and I will always try to support companies/conferences like these.
- This conference definitely counts as my ‘attend a big conference’ bucket list item. I have always wanted to see what the hype was about and be a part of this larger community and this was a HUGE crowd. It was a lot of people but it was super organized and there was truly something for everyone.
- I got to see some of the greats speak and inspire…
Rand Fishkin from Moz, UsTwo (Made Monument Valley!!), Nick Rappolt from Beyond, Brandon Berger from Ogilvy, Donisha Prendergast from Marley Natural (she was my fave I think), Harry West from Frog, Phil Gilbert from IBM, David Mellor from Framestore, Cal Henderson from Slack and many more.
- The entire experience was really amazing to see these large-scale, international companies in action. Seeing how humble these folks were reminds us no matter how large you become, you still need customers… you still need to offer a great service to be a great company. One other thing to point out, (a common trend I noticed) all of the companies killing it out there– treat their employees well. They make their people feel special and in turn their people do special work. They offer good benefits, paid time off and other office perks. Everyone wins. Think about it.
So many great restaurants, so little time… Here are a few that blew me away and I would absolutely recommend.
- Compère Lapin | Central Business District
Get the Hamachi/Melon/Nasturtiums (HOLY YUM) and ask for the bread… it comes with homemade BACON HONEY BUTTER, yes I am yelling.
- Bacchanal Wine | Bywater Area
Pick a few meats and cheeses (they will build your charcuterie for you), grab a bottle of wine and head our back to enjoy live jazz and a festive crowd. We were able to catch The Willie Green Band!
- Mimi’s In the Marigny | Marigny Area
Do not fear this place. When my husband and I first walked in, it was basically a bar with one pool table and a few cocktail tables, no kitchen in sight. We confidently asked the lone bartender if they served food and we were SO glad we did. Get the mushrooms on toast and the lamb chops… you’ll thank me later. Sorry we forgot to take pics, it was just toooooo good to not eat immediately. Instead, please enjoy this photo of me wearing my jazz leggings in Mimi’s haha 🙂
- Coquette | Garden District
Three words: 3 Course Brunch… whatever you choose beyond that, you’ll be just fine, this place can do no wrong. We had a bloody mary (made with homemade ingredients), black drum, gulf shrimp n’ grits, gumbo, key lime tart and cookies and cream dessert. Oh and don’t forget the fresh bread!!
- Two Chicks Café | Central Business District
First, we had fresh (watched them make it) juice and a Mighty Leaf smoothie, then we had Crab Benedict and a Café Breakfast and it was wonderful. PLUS, all of the ‘chicks’ working were completely gorgeous and covered in tattoos, I wanted to ask them all out… badass and beautiful!
- Ooh Poo Pah Doo Bar | Tremé
We came here on a whim and had the BEST time. My husband made friends with Auntie, the owner (who happens to be Trombone Shorty’s aunt) and we enjoyed live jazz from Waterseed.
- D.B.A. | French Quarter
Our super Airbnb host (mentioned below) hooked us up with some VIP passes to D.B.A. so of course we went. We were not disappointed and danced the night away to Luke Winslow King and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band… both bands put on a great show!
- HOT BLOG ALERT: Through some connections I met a new friend, Jaclyn, who is a holistic nutritionist as well as a green beauty expert. I am beyond intrigued and hope to work with her somehow in the future. Check her out here.
- NEW APP: I came across a super cool, up and coming app for fashion called Adoorn. Basically it lets you shop any store, take photos of your own clothes to create outfits or sell them online… all through this one app. I can’t wait for it to launch. Stay tuned with me by following along here.
- AIRBNB: I had the most fabulous Airbnb experience and just want to give Alton, our host, a quick shout out. From bikes to a private bamboo deck with jacuzzi, this rental was mint. Alton and Chaya are wonderful hosts, every detail has been thought through and we felt completely at home. If you are ever in the New Orleans area, skip the stuffy hotel and opt for the real thing. Peep the pad here.
Collision Conference 2016 was one for the books and New Orleans is a very unique place. In the short week I was there I was only able to scratch the surface of it’s art, music, culture and culinary experiences. People always say, “talk to the locals”, well NOLA is no exception…
Tech conference or not, get out there and explore, meet as many people as possible and challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort level. Go to a bar off the grid, mingle with tech gurus at a conference, explore a cemetery at night, try the alligator and for goodness’ sake please go find some live music!