Innovation and Business Ignite at Inaugural Second Line Conference

Featured: Irvin Mayfield. Perhaps you’ve heard about the coolest startup city in America? If so, you’ve likely heard the buzz about the newest entrepreneurship conference that took place...

Featured: Irvin Mayfield.

Perhaps you’ve heard about the coolest startup city in America? If so, you’ve likely heard the buzz about the newest entrepreneurship conference that took place this May — the Second Line Interactive Conference.

Recently, leading thinkers, entertainers and entrepreneurs from across the country gathered in New Orleans to listen, exchange ideas and have a good time at the inagural Second Line Conference. Held in XLIV in Champions Square, attendees gathered each day to listen to speakers like James Carville, Treme’s Wendell Pierce, Grammy-winner Irvin Mayfield Jr., Kickstarter Founder Perry Chen, Vogue Contributing Editor Julia Reed, Chef John Besh, Hornets’ CEO Hugh Weber, Chief Content Director for Playboy Jimmy Jellinek and more, as they discussed innovation in business, entertainment and New Orleans in today’s economy.

The Future of Business in New Orleans

The conference was a mix of panels and presentations. Speakers discussed new technology platforms and branding strategies, while some provided solutions to world issues like the BP oil spill and coastal erosion. Robert Fogerty, the founder of Dear New Orleans, a photo art project that helps fund his non-profit Evacuteer.org, did his entire presentation without saying one word.

Playboy’s Chief Content Director Jimmy Jellinek engaged in a lively dialogue with audience members about Playboy’s brand and its parallels to New Orleans’ reputation. Jellinek’s message was simple; “Be who you are and don’t deviate. People come to New Orleans because they want to have a great time. The second you start to stray away from that, you lose people.”

Speaker and Grammy-winning trumpeter Irvin Mayfield Jr. echoed this statement when asked how he felt about New Orleans’ new entrepreneurial brand versus our arts and entertainment brand: “You have to have both. I’ve never been anywhere where someone said this place is so great because it has so many corporations. People come here for the arts and music, but they’ll stay here because we have a strong businesses too.”

Work Week, Entrepreneurship and All That Jazz

Sandwiched in between the largest jazz festival in the United States, Second Line’s mission parallels Mayfield’s statements. “With The Work Week and Jazz Fest, you can feed the soul on the weekend and the mind during the week,” said Chris Schultz, Second Line speaker and producer of The Work Week.

Nearly 250 attendees gathered each day for the conference and another 350+ followed along via social media. Over the two days of the conference, over 400 tweets were sent out about the conference or the content and on Monday the word #secondline became a trending topic in the Greater New Orleans region.

Plans for next year’s event are already in the works and conference producer Gerard Cox is currently in talks with the Mayor’s Office and The Jazz & Heritage Festival to become more involved with the conference. To learn more visit SecondLine.com. Visit YFS Magazine on Facebook for event recap photos.

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