Are You Ready To >play?

Last Saturday was the 7th annual >play Digital Media Conference, a student run conference hosted at Haas that brings together over 500 business professionals, industry leaders and graduate students to discuss the most important trends in digital media and cast predictions for the future.

Let me step back to last Thursday, when >play actually kicked off with an amazing event at the headquarters of Couchsurfing in San Francisco – a great space with couches (obviously), but also swings, and cool murals on the wall. It was a great night with about 150 attendees – a mix of student volunteers, >play vips and friends of Couchsurfing – who all enjoyed the sushi, sake, tea, beer and wine.

Back to the conference on Saturday. I was blown away by how professionally run the conference was. There was definitely no indication that this was a purely student run event. My day began with a breakfast hosted by Groupon which was really informative and interesting given their upcoming IPO. After breakfast it was time for opening remarks from the Dean, Richard Lyons, followed by the morning keynote – Jeff Jordan who is a partner at Andreesen Horowitz, and a real Bay Area identity, sitting on a huge array of Boards, as well as being Chairman of the Board for Open Table.

The keynote took the form of an interview from Kara Swisher, and they both played off each other for a really enjoyable hour, in which they discussed topics from Steve Jobs (Jordan said: “He made science fiction a reality”), to how VCs make investment decisions (Swisher joked:”to me it’s like a bunch of teenage girls chasing Justin Bieber”).

After the keynote there were rocket-pitches from the companies showcasing their products in the expo including Kno, Yelp, Yahoo!, TubeMogul, Rakoko, Pulse,, Sifteo, Wallit, Snapette, OnLive and more. Other companies at >play were Sony Computer Entertainment, Microsoft, Rexly, localmind and many more. Between the rocket pitches and exploring the expo during the day I was fascinated with all of the exciting products and trends … although one of the more fun was playing with the XBox and the Kinect that Microsoft had set up.

Other highlights of the day included talks from Sony Computer Entertainment, and Kno, who are fundamentally shifting the textbook market, to a panel on Search vs. Discovery in which we heard about the need to balance tailored results with the problems of overpersonalization.

The day closed with a final keynote from Geoffrey Moore, a best selling author and chairman emeritus at TCG Advisors, who spoke about Crossing the Chasm vs Spinning Up The Web – the different strategies needed for B2B and B2C success in digital media, which was fascinating to hear.

All in all, it was an excellent day – I had a great time, and also learned a huge amount!

DMEC’s 1st Pre >play VIP Kickoff Event!

The following post was originally authored by David Breger (MBA 2011) and is cross-posted on the Berkeley Digital Media & Entertainment Club blog.
DMEC’s 6th annual >play Conference ( is coming up in only 4 days, and the Bay is buzzing with excitement.  Fantastic speakers, an amazing Expo, exciting Rocket Pitches, and a great Career Fair to come!
However, this year we thought it would be great if >play attendees would have a chance to meet each other before the Conference.  So this year for the first time, we decided to hold a pre >play VIP Kickoff Event to allow for this opportunity.
Yesterday evening, over 150 >play volunteers, DMEC alums, panelists, and Conference attendees descended upon KickLabs, a San Francisco-based technology and online media incubator, to host a one-of-a-kind event to kickoff >play 2010 with a bang.  Product managers, venture capitalists, and CEOs of top digital media firms from around the Bay, along with several Berkeley Haas MBAs, had the chance to interact with one another before the Conference – to eat, drink, and of course talk about the hottest topics in the world of digital media!
This was a first-time event for us, but we really enjoyed ourselves and the chance to talk with many of the >play attendees before the big day on Saturday…and we hope you did too!
Thank you to KickLabs, our >play sponsors, and of course everyone who came out on Saturday!  Only 4 days ‘til it’s time to >play!
David Breger and Vince Huang, DMEC Co-Presidents
Gina Strayer and Dan Parker, >play Conference Co-Chairs


The Graduate Business Conference

Today was the first day of this year’s Graduate Business Conference (GBC), an annual gathering of student leaders from MBA programs across the world. For the first time since 1996 the Graduate Business Conference is hosted by Haas this year. Tomorrow will again be packed with activities (and I will host a best-practice workshop session myself tomorrow afternoon) but I can already say that the first day was a great success with workshops directed at facilitating the exchange of best practices between student leaders from different schools and leadership development programs run by respected coaches. After the professional part of the program, a fantastic BBQ in the Haas courtyard provided ample opportunities for networking and if i weren’t still suffering from a cold (the aftermath of late-night sake drinking in Japan) I would now be out with the conference participants.

BTW: If you are a sports fan, you should check out YardBarker, a blog network, news aggregator and community site for all things sports. The company was founded by Jack Kloster and Peter Vlastelica during their time at Haas (both are MBA06 and were also involved in starting up both DMEC and the Play Conference at Haas) and just received second round funding of $6m to expand its operations. Congratulations and Go Bears! (Jack and Peter also frequently come back to school to speak as part of Haas’ entrepreneurship curriculum.)


Berkeley Digital Media Conference

This is a short promotional plug for the Berkeley Digital Media Conference organized by the DMEC club at Berkeley (note that this club includes Haas and other schools at UC Berkeley, but majority are Haas).

Here is a short promotional podcast on >play, (Right click and save to listn). Hear Myah a second year who is leading the >play conference talk about >play.

Recorded by yours truly.

Play website is

You can also follow many of the first and second years blogging at DMEC’s blog.


Recorded my first podcast at Haas

Despite the workload, all solid colored Outlook calendars, there are a few things that I always find time to do. One big thing at Haas is, there are tools and connections available to do anything you set your mind to. Just add your mind and will and magic will happen. The Haas experience can be whatever you want it to be.

I am from all telecom background (shameless plug: My Telecom Strategy Blog). I am looking for a career in Mobile marketing and strategies. On a side note, almost all second years and alumni whom I have met told me, “In the words of Haas Marketing professor Rashi Glazer, Marketing is Strategy“.

I want to learn more about marketing and most importantly want to fill this hole in my background by working on a marketing task before my career search. So at Haas, I am working on marketing the student organized, “>play Digital Media Conference“. This experience is unbelievable as I try out new media marketing methods for >play.

As part of this effort, I wanted to create two promotional podcasts, a 30 second and 5 minute versions. The audience is the “media snackers”, people who snack on news in many different forms and not just the text version. Today I interviewed and Myah, who is leading the >play 2007 for these podcasts. All I needed was the interview planning and Myah’s time, Haas provided me all the tools, from the state of the art podcast microphone to the software to create the podcast.

After my initial planning, total time spent was less than an hour. Everything just worked.

Now I will be editing the podcast, add some transition music and rub out uhs and hmms.

Look for another post with links to the podcasts.

Yo should also check out the Squidoo Lens I created for >play, most probably the podcasts will end up there first.


My first week at Haas

I was warned about how hectic the first semester was going to be but I think nothing could have prepared me for the actual experience. 4 days into the course and I’m already learning hard lessons in time management and decision making. Juggling classes, interesting career workshops, club activity and dealing with the overall deluge of information makes it hard to make choices of what to attend and what not to. There is just no way I can do all of it and that only means I would have to clearly prioritize the most important and sadly forego the rest.

One activity which I’m keen to be involved in and I’m trying desperately to make time for is ‘>Play, The Berkeley Digital Media Conference’ organized by the Digital Media and Entertainment Club (DMEC: ). DMEC organizes the hugely popular >Play conference annually and this year is turning out to be an exciting line-up of speakers and events. Save the conference date 27th October and be sure to check the conference website ( ) for information on the panel line-up, activities and latest updates.

So now that I have managed to shamelessly plug the conference details into that post I better get back to my cases! More soon.

—Arvind K