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I had the opportunity to attend the first annual Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, the spin-off conference from the founders who ran D: All Things D for the past 11 years. It was truly a marquee event attended by the who’s who in the tech world, and it was a great privilege to see and meet with a few of the tech leaders and hear their predictions on where the industry is headed.

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The real genius of Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher brightly shined through this “rebranded” event when they put some of the top visionaries in the “hot seat” onstage, asking truly tough and flat out blunt questions that made some of the industry heavyweights squirm. These Spotlight sessions forced C-level executives, founders and industry heavyweights to share what’s really on their minds and what keeps them awake at night. The talks with Sergy Brin, John Chen, Drew Houston, Brian Roberts and Travis Kalanick were incredibly interesting and shocking at the same time. It was also great to see Kara and Walt squirm when Marc Benioff threw the tough questions back at them during his session.

Beyond the sessions, lunch breaks led to great takeaways for me personally when I got to chat with attendees from all walks of life. One of the questions I asked when breaking the ice was, “Is this your first year at this conference?” It was amazing how many of the attendees were “regulars” and on their 5th or 6th year of attending the conference.

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One of the most thought-provoking quotes of the entire event came from Jimmy Iovine, the Co-Founder and CEO of Beat Electronics, when he said on stage (I’m paraphrasing), in the entertainment business, everybody is desperately insecure, whereas the guys in Silicon Valley seemed to be overconfident. I think this sums up the vibe at the event overall for me, and I can see how the confidence of tech leaders have in themselves and their vision sets the tone for their personal and professional success.

I really enjoyed the full event, from the impressive roster of speakers and interesting attendees, to the wonderful venue, beautiful accommodations and fantastic giveaways. I’m already looking forward to attending next year to see how the conversation will shift in the next 12 months.

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