By Libby Gandhi.
Pause Festival, Asia Pacific’s ‘premier creative, tech and business event’, returns to Melbourne next month. Promising ‘unstoppable inspiration’, between 7-11th February the festival will explore the intersection of smart future, VR, AI, Digital Culture, Blockchain and Brand Marketing, amidst a stellar line up of international industry leaders.
Pause prides itself on premiering creative advancements in technology. Indeed, their launch event caused a media stir after 10 attendees were injected with microchips. These ‘injectables’, the size of a grain of rice, could be used to enter users’ home without keys, as a business card, and eventually with Pay Pass systems. They also contained VIP passes to this year’s event.
Founder George Hedon implores those attending to ‘change the game, adjust your mindset, become the next Elon Musk – become whoever you want – because we’ve got the panel, workshop, experience or opportunity to make it happen for you.’
He wasn’t kidding. Attendees are able to take the pulse of the tech industry though workshops, panel discussions and talks. The 2018 lineup includes seminars on ‘Networking for Introverts’, ‘Smartphone Filmmaking’, and ‘Controlling the Crystal Ball’ to keep participants ahead of trends. Debates titled ‘Bitcoin is a Fraud’ and ‘VR is so Passe’ explore Virtual Reality and Blockchain – the technology behind crypto currencies such as Bitcoin – the two major themes of this year’s event. A Startup expo and five specialist ‘stage’ venues complete the roster.
The festival is designed to develop ideas. Day 1 focuses on ‘the creative’ – it is self and ideas oriented. Day 2 moves on to everything startup, business building and engineering related. Finally, ideas come to fruition on day 3 where the emphasis is scaling up.
Representatives from NASA, Airbnb, Pixar and more will be present. While some lead workshops and others give talks, a commitment to 50/50 gender representation is proudly upheld. This year’s headline speakers include Brian Green (technical director at Pixar), Cecilia Ambros (head of design research at Amazon) and Co-founders of SouthSouthWest, Jonathan Price and Andy Sargent.
Correspondingly, Pause has enormous social appeal. VIP dinners and ‘Business Breakfasts’ offer career making opportunities, while live music and nightly after parties encourage informal networking. In 2016 Pause introduced ‘Escape Rooms’ where each festival attendee would be placed in a random 6-person team tasked with escaping a themed room. In a space full of CEOs, experts, and enthusiasts, the opportunity to meet like-minded people and potential mentors or investors, was high.
However, it’s not just an event for techies; Andrew Ranger – member of the Pause advisory board – insists that ‘anyone can come and float around … and come away with a better understanding of an area they’re not particularly interested in’.
Hedon has credited a ‘sense of exploration’ and ‘[improving] on every single detail’ with the rise and rise of Pause Festival, this year in it’s 8th incarnation.
Certainly, opportunities for networking and collaboration have increased for 2018. New ‘Vault Sessions’ offer secretive, media-free spots for exchanging ideas, while the bespoke and intimate ‘Pause Retreat’ sees just 25 participants whisked away to a Great Ocean Road lodge from 9-11th February for a weekend with the people who define and redefine tech including Gwen Gordon.
Pause’s website has a section on ‘How To Convince Your Boss’ to send you along to the festival. Check it out. Soon. There are just 1000 tickets available and prices are on the rise. Pause promises ‘content you cant Google’ and with their 2018 lineup, it’s certain to deliver.