Compared with IRCE, I felt Techweek was much more laid-back, and the attendees and booths more closely related to our own personalities: geeky and technical. Not that everyone was like that, but IRCE felt more geared towards sales professionals.
Short from it becoming a dreaded “brogrammer” atmosphere (it was close at some points), Techweek provided access to fun and innovative tech companies (a lot local to Chicago), as well as entertainment and drinks.
I felt we got to meet a lot of great potential clients, as well as reps from other companies who were very friendly and approachable.
I particularly enjoyed learning more about TaskRabbit (who had the booth next to us) and how they can help me with monotonous or repetitive daily tasks (like dry cleaning, groceries, etc). (They also provided a keg of a delicious IPA each day, which helped loosen up a bit.)
Another booth near us was GoSoapBox, which I thought was an interesting idea – the ability to post questions at speaking events (or webinars) and have the audience “up vote” certain ones so the speaker/presenter knows which questions to answer at the end.
Otherwise it was a nice change of pace to get away from the computer for a few days to interact with people.