Chicago’s 2nd Annual Techweek didn’t just start with a bang on Friday — it started with a rallying call to action by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “The city of Chicago is known as the Second City. In three years from now it will be known as the Startup City.” The Mayor then went on to tell the room full of startups, press, and digital innovators that it would be his mission to partner with the leaders of the tech community here in Chicago.
Later in the afternoon on the 8th floor of the event, conference attendees descended on the TaskRabbit Lounge for Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale, conversation, and the chance to win $100 in free Tasks.
After a busy day of running Tasks, Team TaskRabbit got dolled up and headed over to the Trunk Club offices for the very first party of Techweek. The always classy Trunk Clubbers greeted us at the elevator with ice-cold Peroni beers. Amidst the racks of swanky clothing, party goers competed for the honor of best-dressed (which came with a much coveted Trunk Club gift certificate). Alas, although TaskRabbits Johnny and Tighe made it into the running, neither took home the prize. They did, however, gobble up some freshly prepared sushi and crab cake sliders.
Maybe it was the coffee and doughnuts or maybe it was the sunny demeanor of the Chicago TaskRabbits, but the TaskRabbit Lounge was packed Saturday morning. Team TaskRabbit was able to experience a lifelong dream when they walked up to the counter of Dunkin’ Donuts and said, “We’ll take all the munchkins.” It didn’t take long for those munchkins to disappear with the Techweek Hiring fair in full swing all day.
Of the many Tasks we ran for Techweek attendees throughout the day, our favorite so far was for Patrick and EmpowerHR. Like many of us at Techweek, Patrick had a late night. He didn’t have a chance to change, so he hired TaskRabbit Meghan M. to go on a shopping trip. Meghan was back in no time with a spiffy new polo for Patrick.
Update on the TaskRabbit Raffle: So far, the Cubs are destroying the Sox. We’ll choose one lucky person out of the winning team’s jar at the end of the week and award him or her with $100 in free Tasks. So Sox fans, get over here and stuff this jar to get your team back in the running!
The day was packed with seminars on tech issues of all kinds: attendees could duck into talks on anything from raising funds to writing code. We made sure every single one of them had a beer in their hand and a shirt on their back. Oh, and we also made sure Big Marker felt the TaskRabbit love.
Curious about the Chicago TaskRabbits rocking’ our booth at Techweek? Here’s the skinny on the Sunday TRs:
CeCe’s always smiling, and she makes it her goal to make TaskPosters smile too. She’s been the keg wrangler at the TaskRabbit Lounge all Techweek.
An event staffing wizard during the busy show seasons, Meghan has a smile that can light up the Merchandise Mart — and a brain that can solve just about any problem that comes her way.
From handyman chops to bookkeeping skills, Alex has experience in all kinds of Tasks. He’s been running around the Loop all week on Tasks to help save the days of Techweek attendees.
As a former Anthropologie buyer, Jackie has a fashion sense that can make a green TaskRabbit T-shirt look even more awesome. Jackie’s been running Tasks for conference attendees and holding down the booth.
After another day slinging Goose Island 312s and helping people with their Techweek errands, Team TaskRabbit decided to dive into some Chicago-style pizza. An informal poll of conference attendees led us to Giordano’s Famous Chicago Style Pizza. We’re now trying to figure out the logistics of hiring TaskRabbits to ship Chicago-style pizza to our San Francisco HQ…
We woke up bright and early to catch a talk by Travis Kalanick, Uber’s CEO and co-founder on his journey through entrepreneurship. Travis spoke about the challenges of disrupting transportation, the joys of helping Uber drivers attain the American dream, and his biggest take-aways from more than a decade of company building.
After his talk, we headed back to the always-packed TaskRabbit Lounge where conference attendees were enjoying some Wow Baos and Intelligentsia coffee. We loaded up on the breakfast buns ourselves before heading to Techweek’s main stage, where our founder and CEO Leah Busque was ready to speak to a room full of Chicago entrepreneurs.
Leah’s talks always inspire us, and it’s a lot of fun seeing how so many people hearing her speak for the first time react to her story, passion, and vision. Naturally, Kobe made a few cameos in the talk. Leah also spoke about the origins of TaskRabbit, the challenges of building a company to this size, and the lessons she has learned along the way. Here are some of the most-tweeted quotes from her speech:
“Don’t hide your ideas. Talk to everyone who will listen.”
“Network like you mean it.”
“Iterate on customer feedback as fast as possible.”
“Don’t over think it, just do it.”
That’s it for us from Chicago Techweek at the Merchandise Mart. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @TaskRabbitChi