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HPA Tech Retreat 2020

Exhilarating, overwhelming, and immensely inspiring—the HPA Tech Retreat (February 17–20 in Palm Springs, CA) is one of our favorite events of the year. As an advanced AWS Consulting Partner in the M&E industry, we’re excited to be in the midst of this amazing confluence of technology and media thought leadership—plus an up-close look at the innovations changing the industry landscape.

Here’s an overview of why you should go, what to expect, and how to get the most out of the event.

Why should you attend?

This is the place for M&E industry leaders to collaborate, ideate, and explore the future of content. With an impressive roster of the most forward-thinking players in the industry—including both sponsors and attendees—the retreat promises you’ll come away with valuable new connections, a refreshed 30,000-foot view of the landscape, and practical solutions to take back to your organization.

What should you do at the event?

With four full days of activities, the conference schedule can seem overwhelming. The first thing you’ll want to do is zero in on any sessions that have a direct link to your enterprise—whether that’s presentations from companies operating in the same space or talks that explore issues you encounter in your own operations. 

On top of that, there are several unique features of this retreat you won’t want to miss. Here are our top picks for must-do activities. 

  • Innovation zone (Tuesday, 5:40–7:30): Unlike most conferences, where you wander the vendor booths fielding sales pitches and gathering branded tchotchkes you’ll toss in a drawer at home, HPA has created a unique space for hands-on discovery. Both individuals and companies will be demoing game-changing innovations with practical applications to the M&E market. The new, the experimental, the radically creative—this is where you’ll see it in action.
  • TR-X (Monday, 1:00–6:00): What disruptions are on the cusp of fundamentally changing how M&E professionals operate? How will our skills and ways of thinking need to evolve in order to seize the future? This half-day session is the place to find out. It’s worth your time to spend Monday afternoon soaking up mind-blowing insights from some of the top thinkers in the field. If you can’t make the whole conference, you can register for this session as a standalone event—it’s that important. 
  • Supersession (Tuesday, 9:00–5:30): Watch live in real time as HPA creates a short film—from acquisition to post to screening. The session takes a full day, but watching a film be created from start to finish may be so illuminating that it may well be worth missing the other Tuesday sessions.
  • Breakfast roundtables (Tuesday–Thursday, 7:30–8:30): Start your days with sessions that feed your brain and your belly. You’ll get a smattering of insights and news every morning over breakfast to jump-start your day. 

What should you bring?

With a packed schedule all four days and tons of options, you’ll want to remember a few key items to stay comfortable and make the most out of your attendance. 

  • Water and snacks: You’ll find plenty of opportunities to grab a bite while networking at one of the many sponsored meals and snack breaks, but if you’re going to be attending one of the very long sessions, stash some quick snacks and water in your bag. 
  • Business cards: Half the point of attending is making connections. Be sure to bring cards so you can easily exchange info, especially during quick meet-and-greets when there’s no time to add contacts to your phone.
  • Chargers: Juice for your phone, tablet, and laptop is as essential as juice for your brain and body. Bring a portable charger or power pack for your phone to avoid having to hunt for an outlet during a session.
  • Notebook: You’ll hear a lot of ideas you want to refer back to and follow up on. Always a good idea to stash an actual paper pad and pen in your bag for quick jotting (or if your phone or laptop batteries die), especially if you’re ducking in and out of sessions.
  • Elevator pitch: Come prepared with a 30-second overview of what you do and why you’re attending the retreat—it will make networking faster and more valuable. Write it out in a note on your phone for easy reference.
  • Your clubs and racket: With two championship golf courses and seven lighted courts at your disposal, take the opportunity to get in a game or two while you’re at the conference—a perfect way to get to know new connections better and decompress. 
  • Your LinkedIn app: You’ll be making a lot of connections—make sure you have the LinkedIn app on your phone so you can add people quickly. Follow the Hollywood Professional Association for updates throughout the conference. (And be sure to follow Metal Toad too!)  
Date posted: February 19, 2020

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Metal Toad is an Advanced AWS Consulting Partner. Learn more about our AWS Managed Services

About the Author

Joaquin Lippincott, CEO

Joaquin is a 20+ year technology veteran helping to lead businesses in the move to the Cloud. He frequently speaks on panels about the future of tech ranging from IoT and Machine Learning to the latest innovation in the entertainment industry.  He has helped to modernize software for industry leaders like Sony, Daimler, Intel, the Golden Globes, Siemens Wind Power, ABC, NBC, DC Comics, Warner Brothers & the Linux Foundation.

As the CEO and Founder of Metal Toad, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, his primary job is to "get the right people in the room".  This one responsibility is cross-functional and includes both external business development functions as well as internal delegation and leadership development.

A UCLA alumni, he also serves in the community as a Board Member for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce, and Stand for Children Oregon - a public education political advocacy group. As an outspoken advocate for entry-level job creation in tech he helped found the non-profit, P4TH, an organization dedicated to increasing the number of entry-level jobs in the tech industry, and is in the process of organizing an Advisory Board for the Bixel Exchange, a Los Angeles non-profit that provides almost 200 tech internships every year.


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