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TECH cocktail takes home the 2008 ITA CityLIGHTS Award

Posted on April 4, 2008

ITA CityLIGHTS AwardWow. Twelve hours later I still don’t really know what to say. For people who know me well they know that says something (yeah, I talk a lot).

Frank and and I were nominated for the Illinois I.T. Association CityLIGHTS award along with some truly incredible people last night (my friend Brad Spirrison and super angel Bob Geras among them) who all deserved the award as much if not more than we did. Winning this award is a huge honor and incredibly humbling. I can’t stress that enough. I was simply stunned we took it home.

As I said in my short speech last night TECH cocktail has really been a story of community. Frank and I look at ourselves as facilitators but the tech community here in Chicago is where the magic is and always was. We just brought it into the light.

Another key point to note is that the tech community here will grow much faster if we all work together. Every chance we get we help other events, startups and people because we need an ecosystem. Other organizations, the ITA being one of them, feel the same way and always try to help others. Bottom line: we need to work together. TECH cocktail certainly can’t do it alone (nor has it - we’ve had a lot of help in the last two years) and it will be much more powerful as part of a larger whole.

I am excited for the future of Illinois technology and for the Midwest overall. I think we’re heading into a new age where we can become the technology center we deserve to be. Do we want to be Silicon Valley? No, I don’t think we do. We want to solve real problems with solid technologies in order to create real revenues and long term sustainable value. This isn’t to say that Silicon Valley doesn’t do that as well but I do think that we tend to escape some of the irrational exuberance that is prevalent in the Valley and that should be looked at as a strength not a weakness.

Here’s to the future. Onward!


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6 Comments so far
  1. […] Reposted from Olson’s Observations […]

  2. Bob Waldron April 4, 2008 11:36 am

    Eric — Congratulations. You guys absolutely deserve the award for how you’ve brought together the tech and entrepreneurial community and given it more visibility in Chicago and other areas. Because the concentration of tech/entrepreneur types in the Midwest is so much lower than in Silicon Valley, a catalyst and an effective marketer is needed to bring together those people and help make connections within and outside that community. A recent report said Wisconsin has more than 80,000 people employed in high tech, so it looks like we need TECHcocktail to collaborate on event in Milwaukee soon to connect those 80,000 people as well as others passionate about technology!

    Keep up the excellent work.

    Bob W.

  3. Mike Maddaloni - The Hot Iron April 4, 2008 11:54 am

    Congrats to you and Frank! And I echo your belief about community and working together.


  4. Jeff Judge April 4, 2008 2:23 pm

    congratulations eric, you guys deserve it.

  5. Liz Strauss April 5, 2008 9:26 am

    Congratulations, Eric!
    It was more than an award . . . it was an acknowledgement. Your work and commitment shows in every event.

    Chicago is lucky to have you back with us.

  6. Terry Kavanaugh April 7, 2008 4:03 pm


    Great work and well deserved.

    Chicago is a great location for many entrepreneurs to develop real world technologies that people use. The Tech Cocktail platform is simply an extension of this ideal and has allowed us to make a lot of great contacts locally.