Well it has been 6 months in Poland and yes time flew by so quickly especially when you have a big event to prepare for!
Life in Poland has been highlighted with a number of ups and downs and I would daresay that this time here has been quite enlightening.
I have been travelling quite a number of times here and I had the opportunity to go to the northern-most part of Poland and went multiple times to both Warsaw and Krakow. They are for sure amongst my favorite cities in Poland. The Startup scene in these cities is quite lively and a substantial amount of people meet on a weekly if not twice-weekly basis and discuss about startup ideas. No wonder people want to set up their technology startup in Poland. There is a feeling which for now might be the closest that I could ever get to the American Startup Scene.
So many people ask me: What is a Startup? and somehow quite a number of times, I was taken aback by this question and as if in a fleet of inspiration I remember this wonderful quote from Steve Blank about startups which says
A startup is an organization formed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model
Then again the next natural question is: What is a business model?
And the way I could explain that is by saying that it is rudimentary/basic essentials of a business plan which will give you the necessary vision and direction to lead your business in the right direction.
I can see we have veered of course here…..back again to my experience in Poland.
I had the wonderful opportunity to attend three conferences(Mobile Developer Conference, Mobile Trends Poland and Makerland) and 1-day Hackathon with one of the best names ever – ‘Hacktory’. All of these different opportunities and events have given me the necessary insight to understand better the Mobile Developer World and what it takes to take a project from concept to innovation. This process, which happens on a frequent basis during hack-a-thons, is truly a magical feeling and it’s my form of adrenaline to keep me innovating and pushing me forward to reach new frontiers.
Hack-a-thon? Is this a place where illegal activity takes place? No. Are people trying to hack into government and banking services? No, and if they would, they wouldn’t be so stupid to do it during a hackathon. It is an event which could last from a couple of hours to days where people are involved in collaborative programming and sometimes these people have never met before.
I had the opportunity to experience this twice to three times in this past 6 months and I am very lucky to say that they have been experiences which helped me grow as a person and which have made me understand quite a lot of aspects of the technology business and the wonderful mobile development world, where quite a lot of magic has been happening recently.
A quick thought about the conferences:
Mobile Central Europe was a truly wonderful experience and I had the opportunity to meet really great people there from all over the world. The best part of this is that all the workshops and lectures were held in English which made it much more comfortable for me to fit in this atmosphere and I honestly felt at home there. I was also lucky enough to meet the right group people to win a Hackathon and thanks to that I got a free ticket to Makerland on which I will talk about later.
In Poland, there are many people who know how to speak English quite well but the large majority of people find it very difficult to communicate in English which has made things a bit more challenging for me here. By the large majority, I am talking about people who work in the grocery shops, supermarkets, bus drivers, etc. These are the places where you spend quite a lot of time and sometimes it has made me nervous but over a significant period of time, I have learnt to embrace this.
Thanks to this, I have been able to learn quite a lot of Polish and despite the fact that I still find it challenging to talk in Polish, I have progressed to the stage where I can understand quite a lot from a conversation and I can answer back most often than not. This has led to a number of hilarious situations throughout the past 6 months(imagine Stefan attending a marriage course for 10 weeks in Polish) which I will remember for some time!
The 2nd conference which I had the opportunity to attend was known as the Mobile Trends Conference, and this took place in Krakow. Here the lectures were a mix of Polish and English, but there wasn’t the same atmosphere that I felt in the Mobile Europe Conference. Its as if there was something quite missing and I was quite nervous as the internet connection suffered quite a bit there(unlike the Mobile Europe Conference, where the internet was quite flawless I would dare say), as I was trying to live-blog the event.
The last conference that I was to was Makerland. It was truly a wonderland of hardware technology namely 3D printers, robots, arduino(small and feature packed micro controllers) and so much more. It was a really great insight into the future of hardware and the magnificent realisation that the offline/physical world is getting closer and closer to the digital/online world through so many different interfaces. The future is truly exciting in this manner and I can’t wait to be a part of it. I also had the great company of my maltese colleague and visionary Jeffrey Dalli.
I have run out of thoughts…..I will post some more next week :)