Although the target audience was for start-ups looking to network, I could not help but find myself happily lost in the Silicon Valley culture here in Poland. It was a nice feeling to see interest in the local tech community.
All of the presenters at the Nonference (not a conference) had experience in what it meant to invest in the tech youth of Poland. They either had incubators/ accelerators to foster development, or were investors. During the presentations, they posted things that worked and things that didn't. Oddly, it was mainly in hindsight. We all know why certain websites failed to gain a critical mass of users or why certain products fail. It has been written time and time again. The jewel of the presentations however, was what is expected of potential investments. How you look and present your ideas, how you breathe, and how confident you are, and most importantly, how smart you are. Most investors will not invest in a company where the chief technical engineer is dumber than they are. Fact.
Pitch your idea and pitch as you might, but it is a sobering feeling when someone says to you that they can't see your product being commercialized.
But the vibe at the Nonference was energetic. A lively bunch with a set of principles, plus networking and/or pitching. We all have ideas but only a few can actually realize them. Worst yet, 3 out of 4 will fail. Despite that, they still drum on hoping to make a dent in the tech industry – inspiring stuff indeed.
This was my first TechSaturdays event. I plan to attend more and cover them as detailed as I possibly can. I was simply overwhelmed with everything happening both on stage and off. It was quite a lot to take in – information overload if you like.
If you are interested, there is a great show on HBO called Silicon Valley. Check it out and you will see what it means to live in an incubator and seek funding. It is a stressful existence, but it just might make you the next billionaire.