Smith MBA’s Trek to TechCrunch Disrupt Conference

The Dingman Center sponsored several students that are attending the 2015 TechCrunch Disrupt Conference in San Francisco. The students will be blogging each day from the event about their experience. Follow all week to hear more about Disrupt!

Smith School MBA students teamed up this year to take a trek to TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference in San Francisco, CA and we couldn’t be more excited. This event has attracted a lot of key figures and companies in the startup industry in the past, and this year is no different.


Disrupt SF is all about encouraging and debuting innovative startups and technologies. Companies like Uber, who revolutionize the old standard way of doing things and promise a better way, are the new norm for innovation. We’ll get to hear founder stories and insights from some of the best in the industry. There are more than 80 speakers and judges that include the likes of Snoop Dogg, Y Combinator’s Sam Altman, Dropbox’s Drew Houston, Facebook’s Andrew (Boz) Bosworth, Cowboy Venture’s Aileen Lee, Houzz’s Adi Tatarko, the list goes on!

There are a lot of new technologies out today that are laying the groundwork to radically change our lives in the future. Two promising technologies that I am most excited to learn more about this year are Bitcoin and virtual reality. Bitcoin is a digital currency that allows people to make transactions without any middlemen – no transaction fees, no banks, and no governments. Not only is Bitcoin itself potentially very disruptive, but the underlying technology, blockchain, can be revolutionary for many other applications. The other technology, virtual reality, is an immersive, computer-simulated world that has practically infinite applications. While initially thought of for gaming, virtual reality has many other uses including education, entertainment, and exploration. Companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Sony are racing to be the best and take advantage of this ripe new industry.

We took it upon ourselves to leverage our Smith network to line up some additional opportunities while we were in the Bay Area. Sunday night we have dinner with a whole host of Smith MBA alumni who ended up here after graduating from Smith. Apple, Google, and eBay are just a few of the companies where alumni are working and our Smith School Business Development team helped to get us in contact with them.

The Dingman Center connected us with an EMBA graduate who used to work on Google payments and is a serial entrepreneur. We’ll get to meet him for drinks and dessert on Monday evening and pick his brain on how he’s been able to apply his Smith education to be successful.blog2

The Smith network also extends to friends of the Smith family. We leveraged our personal networks to arrange meetings and tours of some nearby companies. On Tuesday we’ll get to take a trip over to Mountain View and Menlo Park where Google and Facebook have their headquarters. We’ll get to go on informal tours of their glamorous campuses: Google’s Googleplex and Facebook’s brand new 430,000 square foot campus. On Wednesday we’ll be going over to LinkedIn to have lunch with some employees. All made possible
from our network!

By: Shane SaltaSaltaS-18Aug15-5

Shane is a first year MBA candidate at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. Having gone through GE’s IT Leadership Development Program, Shane has 7 years of diverse technical leadership experience at GE Capital. While at GE, Shane implemented streamlined IT systems to efficiently handle billions of dollars of sales. Prior to GE, Shane worked for the National Football League and Lockheed Martin. In his free time, Shane has been known to build & program robots as well as LED projects such as his iPhone Controlled LED Suit ( Shane holds a B.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Miami (FL). He currently lives in Annapolis and enjoys volleyball and extreme sports such as wakeboarding and snowboarding.

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