What drives major Israeli startups and companies like Magic Leap and monday.com to sponsor and send staff members for a whole weekend of building completely useless inventions?
It’s an exercise in sheer fun, teamwork and thinking outside the box.
The Geekcon 2018 Israeli makers movement mega-event, held recently over three days in seaside Sdot Yam, attracted over 200 entrepreneurs, developers and makers, amateurs and high-tech executives competing for the coveted title of “least useful project.”
They built things like a Mentos and Coke rifle, a dancing spider robot, a Wi-Fi point-finding telescope, a hot-dog cannon, a whiskey distillery that mines digital coins, an instrument that identifies artificial clouds using artificial intelligence, and “Miss Geekcon 2018” – a robot that gives sarcastic comments to participants.
Although the official goal of the event is to build useless inventions, organizers estimate that past activities have resulted in more than $180 million in business activity and that there have been quite a few products, technologies and technological solutions with commercial applications.
“Technological innovation in high-tech and in the Israeli industry is an inseparable part of the entire ecosystem. People cannot be expected to invent, innovate and think outside the box if they do not have strong communities that make it happen,” said Geekcon initiators Adan Shochat, Gili Cegla, Inbar Raz, Shahar Zrihan, Eyal Hershko, Boaz Mamu, Tzach Moshe, Kfir Matza and Matan Sherf.
Loyal members of this community include Magic Leap CEO Tamir Berliner and monday.com CEO Roy Mann. Those companies also sponsored the event along with others including Samsung NEXT and HEREmobility.