|I love the style of those posters of re:publica|
- The smaller the room, the better the session. Well, not only me, but many others have noticed the same thing. The less known speakers giving a workshop-like sessions are more interesting than the well known ones or panels arranged in bigger auditoriums.
- More than speeches, I enjoy the new ideas I stumble upon while attending such conferences. So here are some of those ideas.
- Re:public is not held in a fancy conference centre per se. What surprises me last time is that the venue used to be deserted factory, it was prepared and converted into a conferences venue later on. It is cool, cozy and suitable for the spirit of a bloggers conference.
- In the main hall, where key note and major speeches take place, there is a screen behind the presenter, and his speech is being transcribed on that screen in real time. It is a tough task done manually, but it is very useful for those with hearing impairment, or even journalists or others who take notes of what is being said.
- This is a new idea, but it is new to me at least. Fabbeo allows those who do not have 3D printers to send them an STL file for an object they want to print. In fact, they do not have 3D printers themselves, but they just serve as a marketplace matching customers with service providers with 3D printers.
- In conferences like this, people are busy tweeting and taking photos with their phones. So, their mobile batteries are not expected to last for the whole day, right? As a way of promoting their company, Simyo, a German mobile operator, allows people to borrow portable chargers for their mobiles.
- Last year one company was doing one fine marketing idea. They had a vending-machine-like stand that is connected to the internet. When you go there and publicly check into the machine via Foursquare, it gives you a soda can or something. They were generating a lot of buzz on Foursquare about their company this way, as well as attracting people to their stand.
Eric is an okey speaker. The speech was not impressive or strong as Eben Moglen's keynote last year for example. Eric was focusing on the startup scene in Africa, giving examples from different countries. Showing the incubators across the continent, the entrepreneurs and their challenging spirit was a good thing, but the choices for some of their products was patronising in a way. He pointed one of the main problems that face local investors in the Middle East and Africa, where there are lower hanging fruits such as real-estate business and food chain, which attracts investors diverting them from funding technology startups sometimes. For sure, market economics shall fix that someday, but this still is one of the issues. He then stressed on the need for entrepreneurs to find way to collaborate with each other and build communities and ecosystem. He referred to huts building in Africa as an example where a whole village collaborate to build it. It's up to each one to choose whether he want to be a "villager" or an "individual". Being an individual is okey, but they shouldn't expect people to help or collaborate with them. Then came the main point of his speech, at least according to me. He said that Africa does have its own problems, and entrepreneurs have to solve those problems of their local communities as no body else is going to offer to fix them. In other words, a product made for Berlin or London is not usually suitable for Nairobi or Delhi. He gave an example with a 3G model they are producing in iHub. In a way, it is not a new idea, it is just 3G modem produced everywhere. But giving it a second thought, you can see that electricity is not stable in Africa. Hence, their 3G modem (BRCK), is rugged, portable and can work on batteries rather than electricity. He finally ended his talk with the following summary notes: "There is A LOT going on (in Africa)", "Local problems need local solutions" and "Support and growth are lacking".