Penelope Trunk started out with a few brazen revelations about her writings on sex and went on to demand that the audience tell her where they each fall on the Myers-Briggs scale. Then she mentioned, in passing, that she once stuck a knife in her head and ended up in the psychiatric ward of the hospital.

There wasn’t a dull moment in her hour long talk.

You have to be an ENTJ to make it to the top she told the audience of artists and entrepreneurs and the merely curious, adding that 100 percent of all CEOs in the country are ENTJs. With that, she admonished everyone present to face their fears and ask more questions in their lives, or at least of her as she ended her talk.

The offbeat author, blogger, businesswoman and life coach was the final speaker in the first two-day 2014 DATA Conference  that culminated in the awards presentation.

More than 165 people from the Pittsburgh region and beyond participated in the SXSW-style event sponsored by the Pittsburgh Technology Council. The event featured workshops, presenters, a showcase of up-and-coming talent and wrapped up with an evening presentation of the 2014 DATA Awards Thursday night at the Trust Arts Education Center. The best part was expecting the unexpected.

Many in attendance agreed the two-day event was pitch perfect for the artistic and tech-gifted crowd, especially the keynotes by Trunk and Willo O’Brien, the high energy business woman and frequent SXSW speaker who coined the term “creative sustainability.”

“The event has validated our hypothesis that the amount of people who are really working and thinking and researching in this space is pervasive,” says Audrey Russo, CEO of PTC.

The creative tech space is one that everyone across the country is trying to figure out, she adds. The fact that this conference is attracting people like Penelope Trunk is one example of the buzz being generated by the region in this space. The PTC will continue on an expanded scale to bring people together and create these connections, opportunities and mashups.

Of course, in the end, it was about the awards, which were doled out to the deserving startups, makers and individuals in the design, art and technology categories. Here are the 2014 DATA winners:

Design + Making: MyMixx Fragrance Technology, makers of a patented dispenser that allows you to customize and craft your own beauty products.

Entertainment + Games: Fred Rogers Company/Schell Games for the game Daniel Tiger’s Tea-Party for PBS Kids

Communications: MARC USA for their “Rite Aid’s Online Nail Extravaganza” and campaign, “How To Get to 300,000 Fans in One Year”

Art + Technology: The Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry: CLOUDS

Software + Apps: Smith Micro: Anime Studio

Education: Fox Chapel School District: Creativity and Literacy Program

Community: Alpha Lab Gear: Accelerator for Hardware, Robotics and Physical Product Start-Ups and Assemble: Arts + Technology Community Space

Student: Carnegie Mellon University ETC: Where’s Miss Merry?

People’s Choice: SUPER•BALL: A Multi-Media Exploration

Deb Smit

Deb is an award-winning journalist who loves ancient places and cool technologies. A former daily newspaper reporter and Time-Life Books editor, she writes mostly about Pittsburgh. Her stories have appeared...