We love events. We attend, speak, mentor, and organize events. That's why we decided to share our subjective list of conferences that inspired, motivated or impressed us this year. Agree, disagree or just tell us your thoughts on this years' events in the comments!
For obvious reasons, our own conference, MCE2015 is not included in this list – even though it was memorable for all of us!
While being a part of the IT world, we can clearly notice that technology positions are rarely taken up by women. Lean in STEM, a Warsaw based conference, has taken up the challenge to explore the issue of supporting women in science and technology. The conference encouraged interactions, communication and exchange of views among the lecturers and auditorium as the event mainly took the form of discussion panels with Q&A sessions. It is worth mentioning that the agenda was enriched by male lecturers – a nod to including women into male-dominated professions. The conference is constructed around a mentoring program that helps young women develop their careers and the event was the kick-off of the mentors’ and mentees’ cooperation. Lean in STEM is an idea we advocate and approve wholeheartedly!
4 Years from Now is a global startup event that gives entrepreneurs, investors and corporations a chance to meet and build relations. This event is part of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and gathers a similar crowd: people interested in mobile technology. It gives great opportunities to listen to inspiring talks by people such as Eze Vidra of Google Ventures, Mike Curtis of Airbnb and Di-Ann Eisnor from Waze and meet startups that will be driving the economy 4 years from now. For us meeting these people is always an opportunity to learn about new trends in mobile tech and spread the word about Polidea and our skills and values.
A spectacular conference for Python developers that took place in May 2015. Thanks to the event's placement in Polonia Theater in Warsaw, all the talks gained an unforgettable dramatic charm. It was an excellent chance to listen to important people from the not-so-small Python world, such as Marc-André Lemburg and Brandon Rhodes or famous Python community speakers. If you didn’t have a chance to be there, don't worry - there will be a 2016 edition!
Stockholm is a very energetic city, full of hardware companies and startup accelerators. I had the pleasure to attend the Hard Talk event co-organised by Hardware Club, People People and Narrative. The event gathered over 150 attendees and 24 speakers (sic!). The innovative idea of giving speakers only 5 minute slots made the event very dynamic. Each talk served as an introduction to a particular startup, so that you knew who to approach during the networking sessions. I especially loved the Solu.co idea of a social computer reinveted to be operated by several people simultanously. Stockholm is very strong in design and you could surely see that in the design panel led by Martin Willers from People People.
This year’s edition left me with mixed feelings, although it was definitely one of the biggest events of the year in Android. I enjoyed both keynotes, from Sandro Mancuso and Chet Haase – they were full of wise words on personal development and choosing the right paths in life, all served with humor and lots of motivation. Other standout talks for me were Cyril Mottier’s on types of scrolling behaviour, which verged on the edge of UX, UI and coding, and Wolfram Rittmeyer & Pascal Welsch’s with practical tips on using RxJava for both user events and backend requests. I did think a lot of the talks were very basic, and there were a couple of annoying marketing pitches disguised as talks (Amazon, Facebook and Audi/Android Auto, I’m looking at you). The afterparty was also a little disappointing considering the price of the tickets, but the venue itself was great for this amount of people and the WiFi was solid.
Devoxx is the second biggest Java conference in the world after JavaOne. This year’s edition was part of the 20 Years of Java celebration. As such it attracted many “rockstar” speakers, including Oracle staff who discussed details of the upcoming and highly anticipated Java 9. Professor Lawrence Krauss’s opening keynote was pure magic – great idea to have someone who doesn’t code. There were other standout talks, like Venkat Subramaniam’s, who's presentations occupied all of the top three spots for the first three days, before Hadi Hariri stormed the podium in spectacular fashion. In general, there were many interesting speakers and I was able to have a number of great technical discussions.
Codepot is a 100% workshop conference – during two days, there were more than 80 workshops and more than 300 attendees took part in it. This was a special event for us – 5 of the workshops were led by people from Polidea, also a big part of the organiser’s team were Polideans. What was also special about Codepot was that often people chose workshops with topics that they were quite unfamiliar with and where they could learn something totally new. In my case, how data scientists work and what tools they use was really interesting, similarly to some non-technical sessions, where we could learn about interactions between people, for example how to listen to others.
This was my first Bar Camp and I admit I was a bit scared – but it turned out the organizers had prepared this event flawlessly, so that everyone who wanted to speak had the opportunity to do so. The venue was the modern IT University of Copenhagen and even though the crowd was predominantly Danish everyone was open and friendly to foreigners and I never felt excluded. Special kudos to Johan Knattrup Jensen for the talk about his Oculus Rift movie, Ida Aalen from Netlife Research for the Core Model and to Sofie Hauge Katan from think! digital for the Slow Sketching workshop.