The second day of Digitalk 2014 brought the audience another series of fantastic speakers, interesting talks and panel discussions.
Friday’s host, Ivo Vasilev from LAUNCHub, quickly stepped into Steve Keil’s shoes from the previous day and created a very warm and cozy atmosphere in the hall. He first invited on the scene Tony Koinov, Head of Cloud Media Engineering at Netflix to talk about the emerging and already establishing itself firmly on the digital grounds cloud computing technology. After him, Jake Levstek, founder of D.Labs and a long-term mentor at Seedcamp, talked about a mysterious far-away galaxy.
Piotr Jas, General Manager of Blabla Car, truly fascinated the audience with his very simple and useful idea that turned into an international business venture attracting investments in the millions. Connecting people, who need to travel with drivers, who have empty seats, changed the way we move around tremendously and the Bulgarians are now more than impatient for the business to set foot on our country as well. Until then, we can always turn to the so common Facebook groups for people in different cities that want to travel to the capital more comfortably and less costly.
After such an intriguing lecture, the audience enjoyed a panel discussion moderated by Maria Karaivanova from CloudFlare. Jambu Palaniappan (Uber), Heather Leisman (HotelTonight), Piotr Jas (Blabla Car), and Georgios Gatos (Incrediblue.com) talked about the rise of the sharing economy and what to expect from it as it will for sure change the way we do business and the way we live.
Ivan Hernandez (The Digital Loop) followed up with a talk on disruptive innovations and the future of digital transformation. One of the key points in his lecture was supported by the fact that users move from owning physical products to sharing experience. This can be noticed particularly easy in the music distribution industry, where it is no longer convenient to buy CDs and music is distributed in digital form through platforms like iTunes and Spotify. In such a competitive field that digital innovation is, Mr. Hernandez stresses on the notion that winning by doing it “better” is no longer a success strategy. Instead, entrepreneurs ought to focus on doing things differently and passionately. Another key take-away is that businesses should not focus solely on developing extraordinary technologies but on customer needs, wants, and behavior, as their demand is what drives our success.
Another panel discussion was separating the audience with their lunch outside the hall. Samer Karam (Alice) moderated the talk on innovation in other industries with Elvin Guri (River Styxx), Daniel Young (DMX), Deven Soni (Sprayable Energy), and Todor Shelyaskov (GE Healthcare). All of them agreed that in the near future major investments will go to healthcare development and innovation, and human well-being will be in the center of the businesses that want to make it big.
The refreshing lunch break spurred heavy networking activities outside the hall, where people, who never met before, were talking passionately about their business ideas and aspirations. Accordingly, the first after-lunch lecture was led by Lisa Lang (Twilio) and was centered on the way communications are changing. Then Marvin Liao (500 Startups) gave essential tips to new entrepreneurs taken right from the Silicon Valley, the venue where all the world-changing businesses started, and the dream place for any ambitious young person, who wants to create a hugely influential startup. Following was Samer Karam (Alice), who talked about bridging the valley of death and all the setbacks an entrepreneur might face.
An interesting discussion on Bitcoins and the future of digital currencies was formed later between Daniela Neumann (Idealo Internet), Alexandra Parcinska (Trento RISE), and Fabio Carati (EIT ICT Labs Outreach). An innovation that is both exciting and disturbing, digital currency promises to change the way we perceive money and the way we use them, and it is yet to be seen where this will take us.
After so many examples of how things work abroad and how developed the entrepreneurial ecosystems are, people could not help but ask themselves how things work here in Bulgaria. For this reason, Tom Higgins (Yatoto) moderated a panel discussion among Daniel Tomov (Eleven), Maxim Gurvits (TERES Capital), Petar Sharkov (Start It Smart), and Stani Milev (StartUP Foundation), which was aiming at explaining the stage of the Bulgarian startup environment. Hristo Odiseev (Rocket Internet) continued the topic by talking about building companies and ecosystems and doing it rocket fast! The honor to close the conference had Tim Rohrich (Pioneers Festival), who made us think more about the future of technologies and the tech communities as major influencers on how the world moves forward.
The organizers of the event held a closing speech and welcomed everyone at club Memento for the weekly Silicon Drinkabout, which this time was dedicated to Digitalk 2014 and was another invitation to the audience to take the best out of the conference and start valuable connections.