IMG_64The upper midwest’s first ever mobile software conference was recently held in downtown Fargo.  Midwest Mobile Summit was a two-day conference focused on mobile strategy and technology.  Participants include mobile developers, business leaders, and hobbyists, from across the upper midwest.

Several hundred participants gathered at the Fargo Theatre, Ecce art gallery, and other downtown locations.  Speakers included representatives from Apple, Microsoft, and leading mobile development firm Livefront, and many others.

Myriad Devices, a mobile development and strategy company based in Fargo, was host of the event.  We sat down with James Dravitz, Chief Strategy Officer at Myriad, to ask about the conference.

EP: What was the inspiration for Midwest Mobile Summit and how did it come about?

JD: The concept of a mobile related conference has been an idea of ours for over a year, but wasn’t on the radar until last December. We gathered that everyone around here is itching for conferences like this, and believed that we needed to get everyone involved and help move the community forward.

When planning, we wanted to connect the industry leaders and facilitate an environment where the public could learn more about the mobile world without having to travel to a major city. Every company that is looking toward the future most likely has mobile technology in its strategy, so we knew the need was there.

EP: Can you share any interesting stories you heard from participants regarding the value of the Summit to them?

JD: The best testimonials I can share with you lie in our twitter feed from our mobile app – Midwest Mobile Summit. The feed showed all event tweets with the hashtag #MWMS13. We had nearly 300 tweets over the two days. The interaction between speakers, attendees, and other followers was truly amazing. Quotes from presentations were shared, favorite sessions were submitted, and many posted their appreciation after the event.

Speakers and sponsors alike said they really enjoyed it, were having fun, and were excited about next year.  We also had some great blog coverage.

EP: As the sponsor and host for the event, what is the most valuable thing that Myriad Devices takes away from MMS?

JD: The public really does care about mobile technology and recognizes its role in the future. It really solidified our vision as a mobile company and reminded us that opportunity is right at our front door.

Building the technology community is very important to us and we want this to last for years to come, where people can come together to learn about the current and future states of technology. When you can create an environment that fosters ideas, people connect, collaborate, and come up with greater solutions. Interacting with attendees was great. The audience ranged from business leader, IT professional, to students. Nearly all sessions had Q&A where the audience could ask relevant questions.

Being integrated in a mobile company can keep you out of the loop on the general expertise of the public, and it varies across the board. Providing different sessions to tailor to the different crowds was important and worked out very well for us.

EP: For mobile developers in the upper midwest, what opportunities do you see in this region and why is this a good place to be developing mobile applications?

JD: If you are in mobile development and can’t find any posted positions, you probably haven’t done a thorough search. Not every app is available to the public. There are enormous projects internally that are saving companies millions of dollars with mobile technology, and they need help from skilled developers. The region is full of opportunities, and the landscape is rapidly expanding.

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