Last week, we visited Shift Split 2013, a european conference about startups dubbed "The Cannes of the IT industry".
Ivan Burazin (of CodeAnywhere and Procedo fame) has been a long-time friend of Infinum. We value the work he's doing, and the entrepeneur spirit he's always embodied. So when he said he's going to organize a conference with the tagline "The Cannes of the IT industry", we knew this would be something special.
We decided to leave Tomislav in Zagreb, mostly due to the enormous amount of traffic tickets he and Matej got visiting last years conference. Our budget just can't handle the grief.
So this year Tamara and I went to Split to meet up with IT folk from around the region and see what's what.
Shift Conference was attended by more than 500 international attendees including entrepreneurs, journalists, bloggers, designers and developers.
Tamara was also one of the jury members in the Shift Challenge, which was an opportunity for startups to compete for the grand prize - $10.000. On Wednesday, a day before the start of the conference, mentors were responsible for mentoring and helping startups to prepare for the competition. For the finals, 16 out of 32 startups were picked and given an opportunity to present themselves in front of all attendees of the conference.
Babywatch - $10k award
The winner of the Shift Challenge was an interesting startup called Babywatch. It's an iPhone app (and additional hardware) for pregnant women that enables you to hear and visualize the heartbeat of your baby. If that sounds interesting, check out their indiegogo campaign and help them out.
Building a world class software development agency
We were asked to give a talk about Infinum with the title "Building a world-class software development agency - in the Balkans". It was mostly about the history of Infinum, how Matej and Tomislav started, how Josip, I and Tamara joined later.
Most of the talk was sharing our experiences, from being a startup and fast-forwarding to today, when we're a 30+ people software company.
We talked about the good, the bad, the pitfalls along the way, and mostly about how we're set up today and how we operate.
I actually enjoyed the "talk-show" format, more than the usual "stand in front of projected screen". It seems to me that this kind of communication allows the audience to connect more with the speakers, so we got quite a lot of great questions from the audience - much more than I anticipated.
Some of the areas the audience was mostly interested in:
- the process of coordinating the project with the client and some common mistakes in that process,
- how to manage the communication with the client and how to manage the project internally during development,
- how to maintain the relationship with the client,
- in the end - how to make them feel proud of the product you built for them and make sure they come back again.
Perhaps discussing these subjects in detail would be a good idea for presentations in the future.
I hope that I'll have a chance to attend next year's event also. For me, it was a great experience with great people, great projects, great parties and great food. I will use this opportunity to invite myself again :).
Mentors and speakers dinner at the 1700 years old Diocletian's palace
The Shift Split 2013 organizers