On the 17th of September I hosted an actual physical conference called the GreenTech Festival in Berlin with 700 attendees and over 35K online viewers. It was the first physical conference I've attended since Techchill at end of February, and it was a fantastic feeling.
At the GreenTech Festival the atmosphere was grateful, people were very happy to be there. It felt that this event came at the right time.
I noticed that:
1) Attending corporates have implemented strong & trackable environmental strategies that are starting to be effective. So the talk is becoming the walk. Finally!
2) Ocean Cleanup crew have started cleaning the oceans and rivers, they don't need financing, but they need governments to give them access to their territories and people to join their ranks. This is very important because it means we can actually clean the vast oceans and seas with technology if we work hard on the solutions.
3) People paid more attention during the conference, listening in carefully and filling all the seats. There were the occasional people who were glued to their phones, but it was by far less common than before. There was so much desire to connect with fellow humans and it seemed to me that more time was spent with each person rather than the pre-COVID rapid exchange of cards and forget later.
4) Covid has not stopped the most dynamic and future oriented corporates/companies to support these events. They brought their executives, listened in to the attendees and to the speakers, with more interest than before. Sponsorship money was available as companies seek for more niche events that can galvanize media, impact and innovation into one location.
Conversations with speakers onstage were very thoughtful and genuinely interesting to watch. As a host and moderator, I rarely have the time or interest to watch other onstage conversations, but this time I paid attention and it was rewarding.
Most interesting aspect of this entire conference was how people were happy to listen to online/video panels or interviews, this was mostly due to the fact that some speakers could not make it to the event, but also it was due to our mindset change. We understand that this is the new normal and we digest it in a different way than in PC (pre-Covid) era.
However, networking hasn't changed. People were over the moon to have the opportunity to meet new people, converse and exchange contact details. I've rarely had so many people coming thanking me wholeheartedly for my onstage performance and moderation, taking their time to learn about me and inviting me to visit their offices.
It was a glorious feeling! Things have changed folks, and I'd say to the better. We might not see it now but in couple years time we will.
We will rise from the pandemic stronger!
Full conference video:
Three upcoming events that are of particular interest:
Digital|K - 15+16 October - A hybrid event taking place in Sofia as well as online. With a particular focus on the CEE region, Digital|K will be tackling issues including defining the NEW future of work, from Adversity to Innovation, and Predictability in the New Normality: Online Shopping Implications.
ML Conference - 16 - 18 November - As you might have guessed from the title, a Machine Learning focused event (hybrid) that will be addressing real world implications and strategies for devs and entrepreneurs.
Stack 2020 - 1-3 December - The government-led developers event in Singapore that connects government, industry and the tech community.