Challenges and Opportunities 2009
By user13366078 on Feb 20, 2009
This Wednesday I was invited to speak at "Challenges and Opportunities 2009", an informal, almost barcamp-like gathering of startup companies and other bright and innovative people in the center of Munich. The name is the topic and so the focus was on how to make the best of the current economic situation. Surprisingly, the overall feeling of the conference was quite relaxed, almost cheery, as if the econonmy wasn't really that relevant. Just the right attitude to have, I'd say.
Nicholas MacGowan von Holstein of Twidox.com took the effort of putting this event together, which was a remarkable feat, given that he was in the middle of entering open beta with his startup at the same time. Twidox is a new startup company that offers a platform for the collaborative exchange of high-quality documents. The idea comes from Nicholas' experience during his university days where students would spend a lot of time researching publications and trying to find relevant papers to a certain topic. Twidox lets you both publish and search for documents and helps you make sense out of them through tagging, rating and other mechanisms. Actually, there are quite a few parallels to our own SunSpace document management system and so it was not surprising to see Nicholas and Peter having a great interest in each other's work.
Each presentation was limited to 5-10 minutes which was a good thing to keep the pace going. We heard from Terry Bibra about Yahoo's strategy of openness, Stephan Uhrenbacher from Qype talked about principles they observed when creating their startup, Ingo Dahm from Microsoft highlighted some opportunities that today's technologies offer and Nicholas Kirschner of High-Tech-Gründerfonds offered his insight as a venture capitalist about the good, the bad and the ugly of VCs during difficult times. The ticketing logistics of the event were done through Amiando, a fast growing German startup that provides streamlined ticketing operations to everyone. Felix Haas from Amiando offered his own views as a startup, highlighting flexibility in finding the right business model and pointing out that startups don't necessarily need to go for a multi-million Dollar exit.
My own talk was about "Survival 2.0", inspired by Tim Bray's "The Fear Factor" talk at FOWA 2008 that he also elaborated about in a series of inspiring blog posts. Tim talked to developers, so I mixed in some of my own experience of having gone through the Dot-Com Bubble and made a 5-point list of tips to get you through tough times, that everyone of us can use today. Most, if not all of these tips are just common sense, it's just that we sometimes tend to lose our common sense when the going get's tough...
The fine people at Tiburon-TV have recorded the talk and you can watch a video of "Survival 2.0" here. The slides are available from Twidox as well. It's all in German but if you're interested, I can send you a translated version of the slides so you can use them for your own presentations.
Also, check out the Twitter buzz around this event's #cando09 hashtag. It's quite fascinating how dynamic instant communication has become today...