4th Annual NewCo Detroit Event Adds National Tribute Chance for Tour Hosts

April 10, 2016, 6:48 PM by  Alan Stamm

Up to five Detroit companies this week become eligible for recognition in a national NewCo Honors program, based partly on comments from participants in citywide office, workshop and studio tours this Wednesday.

"Between three and five nominees from each NewCo city will be selected by the NewCo edit team, with important input from local NewCo advisory council members," the sponsoring firm says at its site of the first-time tribute. It adds:

These nominees will be announced after each city festival. . . .

With the NewCo Honors, we seek to identify and celebrate the kinds of companies which place purpose and people at the center of their enterprise.

That "festival," as the business promotion and networking event is dubbed, hits Detroit for the fourth straight year. Forty-eight sites -- tech startups, incubators, retailers, nonprofits, training programs, media -- will host one-hour presentations.

Among hosts are Rocket Fiber, Rock Ventures, Bamboo Detroit, Techstars Mobility, Techtown, Detroit Bikes, Shinola, Detroit Creative Corridor Center, Grand Circus, dPop!, Downtown Boxing Gym, Motown Museum and both daily newspapers, 

"Can't wait to celebrate Detroit ingenuity and entrepreneurship," the San Francisco-based coordinator says on its Facebook page.

The city is among 16 globally that host NewCo tours. Links for more information and registration are at the end of our first article below.

Earlier article, March 28:

Is straight talk now old school? Is soft sell too wussy in this Year of Yuge?

These questions arise after hacking trough a thicket of buzzwords and clichés pitching an admirable, worthwhile all-day tour of Detroit businesses April 13.

Amped-up promotion makes the fourth annual NewCo Detroit event seem akin to a carnival with blinking neon signs or an ice cream truck jingle cranked to 11.


Judge for yourself:

  • "Connect to Motor City industry like never before."
  • "Ride DET’s information superhighway."
  • "Authentic conversations, true connections." 
  • "This deep dive experience into the innovation economy."
  • "Learn . . . how the Motor City’s best-and-brightest drive purposeful transformation."
  • "Get a sneak peak at innovation." (Psst, Team NewCo: You mean "peek.")​

Also, this tweet Friday is a painful echo of nonsense that will not die (see a 2012-16 headlines collage under the video below).   

Look, we're Detroit partisans who welcome this event and the innovation renaissance that ranks our city with Austin, Boston, Los Angeles and a dozen others hosting "NewCo’s global festival tour." Overheated copywriting that hypes too hard does the hosts a disservice.

The company's LinkedIn page starts with buzz phrases such as "dynamic sessions," "mission-drive organizations," "authentically engage."

If organizers want to embrace buzz phrases, here are others to consider: less is more | keep it 100 | tell, don't oversell.

Behind the tricked-out language is a nine-hour opportunity to hear from and interact with executives from each attendee's choice of five Detroit enterprises. Forty-seven sites -- tech startups, incubators, retailers, nonprofits, training programs, newspapers -- will host one-hour presentations. There also are two receptions.

Detroit's event is one of 16 around the world arranged by NewCo, a four-year-old San Francisco business created in 2012 by Wired co-founder John Battelle. Next month's Detroit version costs up to $350 for a "curated experience" with "luxury transportation and exclusive perks." Regular packages are $90 and $190, or any donated amount to hear two speakers ($40 is suggested).    

The value of these presenters and dozens of others (full list here) can speak for itself more softly than the hype does:

  • Shinola chief financial officer Jonathan Hughes
  • Rock Ventures vice president Lisa Dancsok
  • Techstars Mobility managing director Ted Serbinski
  • Techtown CEO Ned Staebler
  • Detroit Bikes founder Zak Pashak
  • Detroit Creative Corridor Center executive director Olga Stella
  • City of Detroit head of innovation & entrepreneurship Jill Ford
  • Bamboo Detroit co-founder Amanda Lewan
  • Three Rocket Fiber founders
  • Grand Circus founder Damien Rocchi
  • Free Press executive editor Robert Huschka
  • Detroit News managing editor Gary Miles
  • Motown Museum chairwoman/CEO Robin R. Terry
  • Downtown Boxing Gym founder Khali Sweeney
  • dPop! chief executive Melissa Price

So enough of our language-bashing. If you're intrigued by the substance behind the hyperbole, take a closer look below at what NewCo Detroit offers. 

Learn more

 These 2012-16 clips show why we recoil at Detroit NewCo's tweet Friday (top right): 

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