On 30 November and 1 December 2016, the (European) start-up community decamped to frozen Finland (no pun intended) to attend Slush, one of Europe’s most spectacular start-up events. Slush, which went from small-scale gathering to massive extravaganza in just five years, completely took over Messukeskus (the biggest convention space in Finland), where it brought together an eclectic, diverse audience made up of entrepreneurs, investors, journalists, students and scientists – not to mention a huge army of volunteers.One key take-away from Slush2016 is that the future belongs to products that support and facilitate authentic human communication. Just like Canvy! The Canvy team that attended Slush (made up of Horia, Marius and myself) experienced the event in many different ways and at a number of different levels – which in itself says a lot about Slush’s versatility and value for attendees. We all agree on the fact that Slush2016 was an overall impressive event, both in terms of concept and contents-wise. It blended Finland’s penchant for dark rock glamour and theatrical performances with a rather pragmatic approach to connecting its main categories of attendees and facilitating the transfer of knowledge and vision from its speakers to its (very diverse) audience.
The organizers did an impressive job of covering many of today’s hottest subject matters, no matter how diverse they may seem at first glance. The talks ranged from no-nonsense heart-to-hearts (dubbed fireside chats) with leading industry players such as investor extraordinaire Chris Sacca (of Twitter, Uber and Instagram fame) to talks on creating abundant mind-sets (Moonshot Thinking with Steve Jurvetson and Naveen Jain) or else on block chain and the decentralized future of the world’s financial ecosystem (the presentation was delivered by Thomas Conté, Jutta Steiner, Paul Puey and Elizabeth Stark).
What impressed us the most?
Horia: If you get people talking, everything else will come. That’s about the long and the short of it. My main take-away comes from this idea (not sure it can be called a trend because it’s not exactly a new thing) that technology must serve a higher purpose and it must do its part to help people connect in a genuine way, at a genuine level. Technology for technology’s sake is a dangerous concept – it should be understood and made to work FOR people, in order to bring them together and help solve real needs.
Monica: What can I say – Slush2016 had big-name speakers, a cool pitching competition, massive attendance and an energetic, impressive opening ceremony energy that set the tone for the rest of the event. I enjoyed the ease of interaction with the rest of the participants and the sheer volume of new ideas to which I was exposed.