Last week I had the chance to attend the first day of Paradoxos, the Durham tech-and-culture festival that just completed its inaugural run. Also referred to as ‘PDXS’ or ‘Durham’s South-by-Southwest’ (though that comparison was soon dropped as all agreed we were creating our own special event), Paradoxos built off of some of the city’s best assets and left room to grow in years to come.
The fun kicked off Thursday with an expanded version of Triangle Startup Factory’s Pitch Day, as its most recent graduates presented to a crowd filling the Carolina Theatre. These fledgling companies focus on a range of mobile apps and new consumer technologies to make our lives easier. Investors were waiting in the balcony to get in on the action. So many ideas with great potential, and this is just their Spring 2013 graduating class!
Thursday evening featured a concert series and beerfest at CCB Plaza. It drew a great cross-section of Triangle residents who know that music and brewing are some of the things we do best. Oh and food trucks – of course they wouldn’t miss out on the fun. I sadly got caught up with other things Friday and missed The Next, a discussion of emerging technological trends. But our own Julie Terry caught all the action – perhaps she’ll share her insights if you ask nicely.
Aside from the main events, crowds were spilling over into nearby pubs, wandering into the Downtown businesses holding open houses, and then heading off to after-hours events to mingle and hatch the next great ideas. Also ongoing during the festival was the filming of a video, spearheaded by Shoeboxed, to promote the greatness of our community around the world. I was lucky enough to take part and weigh in on the Research Triangle Park’s efforts to become a stronger entrepreneurial hub through our new Master Plan. With 30 minutes between Downtown Raleigh and Downtown Durham, we think there’s room in the middle to create new development that complements and expands our region’s stellar entrepreneurial community.
It will be interesting to see how Paradoxos takes shape in its next few runs (organizers are already taking the 10-year view in planning it), but what the festival already gets right is capturing the enthusiasm of Durhamites and making everyone want to pitch in. The community coming together to build something great – it’s nothing new for us, but it’s always a thrill to see it in action!