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Posted under: Business Technology

11 Things we can't wait for at #AfroTech16

Blavity's inaugural tech conference kicks off in a little under a week, and needless to say, we can't wait. Starting with startup and entrepreneurship programming on Friday, the opportunities, community and innovations to come are undeniable. If you'll be in attendance, get ready to hear from peers who are changing the game, talk to leaders who can help you achieve your goals and mingle with brands you already admire.

And although there are countless things we're looking forward to, these have to be at the top of the list.

1. Lit happy hours

Friday will kick off with a happy hour, a panel about starting up, a fireside chat with Airbnb about what it's like to be a black traveler, and even a meet & greet and book signing with Luvvie, NYT best-selling author of I'm Judging You: The Do Better Manual. Get ready for drinks brought to you by Gentleman Jack, and save some energy for a second happy hour sponsored by Twitter on Saturday.

2. A Milli: Life scaling your business after raising 1M+ in funding

One of the first morning sessions is with Porter Braswell of Jopwell, Rodney Williams of LISNR, Frederick Huston of Pigeon.ly, and moderated by Jason Townes of Groundwork. Raising a million dollars is hard, but this panel will talk about life after a milli and how these business leaders are managing their cash.

3. IRL: Being a digital brand and the media landscape

Hear from Everette Taylor of Skurt, Rashad Drakeford of REVOLT Media & TV, and Quinta B of Buzzfeed Video on branding yourself in the digital age. Social media has created many opportunities for people of color to build their own audiences and generate revenue - this fireside chat will be full of gems.

4. AMA with Ben Silbermann, CEO of Pinterest

The Pinterest Founder will answer all of our questions in this open conversation about startups, leadership and making it in Silicon Valley. This is a rare opportunity to have access to one of the top CEOs in the Bay area. His story to success is unconventional and we can't wait to get a chance to ask him questions.

5. The networking and recruiting office hours.

In between all of the awesome panels, be sure to mix and mingle with the incredible startups and entrepreneurs that will be around every corner. Companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Uber, Automattic and Atlasssian will all be there to recruit —have your resumes ready!

6. Building apps without code by Tara Reed

If you're afraid about hopping into tech without a technical background, let Tara Reed's inspiring words motivate you to get back on track and not let anything stop you. Her lunch time session will be a hands on opportunity to take the leap of faith and build an app.

7. Start-up Survival: Building a Small Business from the Ground Up

This panel, brought to you by Ebay, will be moderated by Venture Capitalist, Chairman and cofounder of Cofound Harlem, John Henry; Andrea Harrison, owner and founder of It's In A Clutch; Odane Hanson of Second Life Mac and Emeka Anen, CEO of Throne. If you're in the business of startups, you need to be here.

8. Hack it 'Til You Make it: Acing Your Next Technical Interview

/Dev/ Color will help you prep for that interview that's been looming over your head. You got this, and this session will help.

9. The Blavity Team will be there.

Curious about how Blavity got started or the people behind the website? Well this is your chance! All of the four co-founders will be in attendance as well as more than 10 employees. Be sure to grab one of us and say hi!

10. Lightning talks

For a variety of chats with industry game-changers, you won't want to miss AfroTech's TEDx-style lightning talks. Catch Zim Ugochukwu, CEO of Travel Noire; Cedric Rogers, CEO of LookLive; Jason Mayden of Stanford d.school/Accel and Jessica O. Matthews of Uncharted Play, and get ready for some real conversations.

11. Do you like Soulection? Well...the after party will be brought to you by Toasted Life and features 3 celebrity DJs

And after all of the socializing, networking, business advice, startup expertise and overall great company, there's only one thing left to do — party. Join us at the official after party, hosted by the Bay-area gem Toasted Life.

So, what are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below! We'll see you there.

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