Society 2.0: DC’s Digital Oasis

by Editorial

DCWEEK continues to grow – we caught up with co-founder Peter Corbett for a debrief and sneak peek at 2012.
By Michael M. Clements

Peter Corbett and Audrey Matthias at the DCWeek closing party at the Arena Stage. (Photo by Dakota Fine)

Digital Capital Week, aka, #DCWEEK bills itself as a week-long festival in the US capital focused on bringing together designers, developers, entrepreneurs, and social innovators of all kinds – it also likes to have plushy sitting areas at its parties. Quirky gimmicks aside, the gathering, co-founded by Tech Cocktail‘s Frank Gruber and Jen Consalvo and Peter Corbett of iStrategyLabs is galvanizing an exciting and emerging digital and tech scene in Washington (which we’ve been following for a few years – check out our list of leading area New Media thinkers.) We caught up with Corbett after he had a chance to come up for air following the most recent installment of DCWEEK in early November. No stuffed animals were harmed in this interview.

How was DCWEEK this year compared to last?

It was nearly twice the size for one thing. Aside from that, the production, creative and content were all so much tighter and of a higher quality. We had a year to prepare this time instead of just three months.

Part of DCWEEK’s focus is connecting developers and entrepreneurs. Were any partnerships formed?

It’s hard to tell just yet – the festival ended just last week so we’ll have to see what comes out of it over the course of the year.

Dazzle us with some analytics and numbers from this year.

There were over 17,000 tweets with the DCWEEK hashtag, reaching nearly 8,800,000 people on the web. That’s mind boggling. We had people from across the world saying, “What’s this DCWEEK thing I’m seeing all over twitter? Man I’m sad I’m just finding out about it.” We also had a major push with the Give to the Max team and raised nearly $2,000,000 for local non-profits in just one day on 11/9.

What surprised you the most about this year?

I’m surprised at how many new people joined the DCWEEK community. We had 6,000 attendees in the first year – and to get over 10,000 was not easy. We’re trying to figure out how to grow this to 20,000 next year.

Does the growth of DCWEEK mirror that of the metro area’s tech industry?

Rather than mirror it, it’s part of driving it. DCWEEK, DC Tech Meetup and all the things that iStrategyLabs and Tech Cocktail do are proactive ways of growing and supporting our tech and creative communities.

Who won the Hackathon? And how exactly does one win a hackathon? This isn’t a feeder program for Anonymous, is it?

The actual winners will be announced on 11/20 during the Apps for Entrepreneurs competition. You win by building a great app that helps entrepreneurs do their jobs. I won’t comment on Anonymous for fear of getting my company hacked out from under me.

Ford was your main sponsor this year. Why would a car maker get involved in DCWEEK?

We had been talking with Ford for a while and they’d loved the warm and fuzzy (and geeky) aspect of DCWEEK. After learning that they were rolling out a Ford Focus with an integrated WiFi hotspot it was clear that attendees would love the car so Ford made for a natural sponsor. I think nearly 10% of the DCWEEK festival is planning to test drive one.

How are you going to top this in 2012?

We’re going to make the content even better for one. We’ve already started inviting speakers for next year – the dates have been announced as 11/2/12 to 11/9/12. RSVP because the most sought after speakers are always booked way in advance. Second, we’re going to double the size of DCWEEK to 20,000 people. We have no idea how that’s going to happen, but that’s our goal. And lastly, 11/6/12 is the Presidential election, so we’re starting to plan for some kind of special “mass action” on that day.

How can people get involved?

For now, just register at We’ll have calls for volunteers and bloggers soon – and we’ll also start curating community projects in Q1 as well.

View all of Dakota Fine’s images from DCWEEK Closing Night at Arena Stage HERE.

DCWeek co-founders and Tech Cocktail's Frank Gruber and Jen Consalvo at the DCWeek closing party at the Arena Stage. (Photo by Dakota Fine)

"Sparklemonkey" installation with lots of stuffed animals at the DCWeek closing party. (Photo by Dakota Fine)

Jesse Kaye, Katie Balloons and Nick O'Neill at the DCWeek closing party at the Arena Stage. (Photo by Dakota Fine)

Holly Bass and Josef Palermo at the DCWeek closing party at the Arena Stage. (Photo by Dakota Fine)

DJ KC spins at the DCWeek closing party at the Arena Stage. (Photo by Dakota Fine)

Performance artists "Kwaff" perform at the DCWeek closing party at the Arena Stage. (Photo by Dakota Fine)

David Bonck, Glory Edim and Josh Studl at the DCWeek closing party at the Arena Stage. (Photo by Dakota Fine)

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