One of my favorite quiet little luncheons happens in Palo Alto’s MacArthur Park restaurant every fall thrown by Germany’s Hubert Burda Media. The brainchild of Burda’s annual digital conference DLD (Digital, Life, Design) is Steffi Czerny co-founder of the conference and head schmoozer. Keeping close to the heart of innovation in Silicon Valley has helped DLD tap into the pulse of things before they explode onto the world stage. Steffi has delightful stories about giving artists like Lady Gaga a stage when they were little known...and CEO's who were just coming up, like that founder of Snapchat we all kinda hate or the founder of Uber we are so grateful to. DLD has managed to harness the collaborative openness that Silicon Valley is so famous for. It doesn't matter who you are, a good idea will get you places.
Like TED, DLD curates not only their audience but also their speakers, so needless to say it's an invite-only event that is attended by Silicon Valley heavyweights. The difference between attending an event hosted by DLD versus the run-of-mill Silicon Valley event is that you'll meet an eclectic bunch. I ran into writers, journalists, artists, as well as the usual VCs and startup entrepreneurs. In Silicon Valley, where it seems impossible to meet anyone who isn't connected to tech, it's nice to sit down with a writer promoting her book, or an artist who just finished her masterpiece.
It's nice that Silicon Valley is deemed so important that the rest of the world doesn't flinch to make a trip here just to have lunch. This event confirms the adage that one must go where the action is...and we all know where that is. The effort seems worth it, as DLD has built a formidable brand after all, they have hosted Presidents, scientists, VCs, innovators, artists, CEOs, and of course Lady Gaga.