Wednesday, February 11, 2015

RootsTech 2015 - Innovator Summit

This year - I decided to attend the Innovator Summit at #rootstech.  This summit is held on Wednesday, the day before the official first day of RootsTech.   It is devoted to more "techy" related topics in the genealogical community.   Since I work in the software industry - I thought this would be a great blend of both work and hobby - and it was!!

Welcome to Innovator Summit Day!

Even though I live close enough to commute to RootsTech - I like to stay downtown anyway!     So - last night - I got out my suitcase to pack - and was presented with 2 very sad faces!!!

Bella and Peanut

This morning - I went downtown and intended to leave my suitcase at the hotel - and then come back later to check in.   To my surprise - there was a room ready for me.  Go Marriott!!!  At 8am!!!   So I was able to get checked in, drop everything off in my room, grab a coffee at Starbucks and head over to the Salt Palace for the 9am

Sunny Hotel Room at 8am!

Salt Palace

There were 2 speakers in the general session.    Scott Sorensen, the Chief Technology Officer at spoke first.  He talked about the history of, and the ways they innovate, despite being a fairly large company.

Next, Nathan Furr spoke about innovation, what it means, how to do it, etc..  He was an amazing speaker - I have a few ideas I will be taking back to work with me - since innovation is a key focus this year where I work.

Next I headed over to the first breakout:  Inside Look at's Innovation and Product Development.      This was a presentation of several key people at and provided more information and details about the process used to innovate.    I have even more items from this presentation to talk about at work.  This was phenomenal!

Following the breakout - lunch was served and the top 8 finalists of the Innovator Challenge presented their projects to a panel of judges.  The top 4 will be determined and present later this week.   Some interesting ideas here - and one "miss".    The miss was a project to keep medical history for your family and be able to deliver it to various members of the family quickly when needed - say during a medical emergency.     Perhaps they did not get the overview of the audience that attends RootsTech...........


Next - I left the Innovator Summit - and headed on over to the FGS track to listen to a presentation by Judy Russell, about ethics and genealogy.   I heard Judy Russell speak last year at RootsTech and thoroughly enjoyed it and have followed her blog -     This was a fascinating presentation.  I am never quite sure what the rules are about using pictures from something like Ancestry or FamilySearch.   This presentation was more an overview, I will be attending 2 more related breakouts later on as well.

Judy Russell - The Legal Genealogist

After this - I headed back over to the Innovator Summit side of the Salt Palace with the intent on attending a break out about automation.   This was supposed to last 2 hours - and it was not what I thought it was........  I was expecting something along the lines of automating processes, tasks - in a techy software type discussion.  What it actually was - several genealogists with a wish list for the developers in the audience asking for help with research, etc.    I was starving and left after an hour to head back to the hotel to do a little work and get some dinner!

View from My Hotel Room - Salt Palace is on the Right-Middle

At 7 - I headed back to the Salt Palace to attend the FGS evening social, which I have been looking forward to ever since I heard about it!    Behind the Scenes:  Family History & Television.   I watch every genealogy related TV show on - Finding your Roots, Genealogy Roadshow and Who Do You Think You Are.    I LOVE those shows.   And this evening social was with some of the "stars" and researchers for those shows.      

Salt Palace at Night

The first part of the evening was watching excerpts from the various shows - including a clip of an upcoming episode of Genealogy Roadshow.  Next - the panel answered audience questions.   It was fascinating!   One of my favorite questions was about whether the shows were scripted.   The answer was yes and no - there are outlines, and writers, but the people presenting have a lot of latitude.    And it was a resounding no scripting at all for the people who are highlighted - across the board, all the reactions are real.     The panelists from Who Do You Think You Are told us that the celebrities they highlight don't know what to expect - including where they will be going, or what they will be hearing.  They are told what kind of clothing to pack and whether they need a passport or not - that is it.

Behind the Scenes Panel
Now - I'm back in my room - and looking forward to Day 1 tomorrow!!!

1 comment: