Known as the “fastest growing tech conference in North America”. After three sunny years in New Orleans, Collision moved to Toronto this spring. Follow all social media updates at #CollisionConf, which will return to Ontario’s capital again in 2020.
Opening Night set the tone for the conference in the best way possible. Attendees crowded Centre Stage to catch an impressively eclectic lineup of speakers including Justin Trudeau, Jessie Reyez, and Seth Rogen. Tech has infiltrated every industry, and nothing could have demonstrated this better than the cross-sector perspectives offered on Opening Night. There was hard-hitting wisdom about diversity, passion, and the road to success. But always though, the stars of the night were Justin Trudeau’s socks.
Top takeaway: “If we don’t succeed together, we’re going to fail separately.” – Justin Trudeau
The social media mogul – Ev Williams
Society hasn’t yet moved into the post-Twitter era. Ironically, Twitter’s creator has. Ev Williams sat down with Kara Swisher, the straight-talking titan of tech journalism, to discuss Medium’s next steps and the future of free media. Can we expect high-quality reporting for nothing or will the future be subscription-based? Some fascinating insights into where things went wrong from the man behind one of the largest social media platforms in the world.
Top takeaway: “The reason media sucks is because of advertising. When the business model changes, the content changes.” – Ev Williams
The eco-evangelist – Christiana Figueres
Climate change and the environmental crisis are dominating the conversation worldwide and took pride of place at Collision. We heard from one of the world’s most important environmentalists, and an incredible speaker to boot – Christiana Figueres. Like many others, she hails tech as the solution to our climate crisis and never fails to leave us inspired to do more. Rather than ducking responsibility by placing the blame on past generations, she’s calling us out. We have the knowledge, the resources, and the technology – let’s make the change. In an era of doom and gloom, Christiana’s pedalling optimistic action, and we’re big fans.
Top takeaway: “Put a price on what you don’t want. Put a price on pollution, on carbon. Don’t put a price what you do want. ” – Christiana Figueres, Convenor of Mission 2020 & climate activist
The fintech first-timer – Akon
Akon’s had an eventful few years. At Collision this year he talked about his foray into renewable energy in Africa, his plans for a presidential run, and his vision of building a city run entirely on his signature cryptocurrency, Akoin (we’re also awarding him cryptocurrency name of the year). He’s not taking himself too seriously, and likened his move into energy and fintech to “Kim Kardashian getting into law”. His success record tells a different story though. His renewable energy project “Akon Lighting Africa” is already serving more than 250,000 residents with plans to expand, and Akoin will open doors for young entrepreneurs across Africa, a talent pool bursting with potential. Sure, it’s a lot of ambition for one man, but Akon’s proved himself to be the ultimate all-rounder, and we wouldn’t bet against him.
Top takeaway: “Africa has built every country in every continent. Every stable society that has an economy was built from African resources. The problem is that African people have never been in a position to be able to utilise those resources for their benefit.” – Akon
We were so proud to announce that 11,750 out of 25,711 of our Collision attendees identified as female – our most positive gender ratio ever. Every element of the conference benefited from it. On Opening Night, Justin Trudeau told us that “making sure there are opportunities for women at all levels is essential if you want to succeed. Diversity and resilience go together”. He was proven right again and again over the course of Collision. We’re committed to continuing to strive for better, but for now, we want to thank every single woman who helped to make Collision 2019 such a success.