Slush ‘19

A bit of a departure for the blog this week as I am currently away in Finland for the annual Slush event. As it is primarily a technology event I thought it would fit here.

Slush styles itself as the world’s leading startup event and takes place in Helsinki every November. The event name and the location suggest that we might be knee deep in wet snow but actually when we arrived on Wednesday it was warmer than the UK we had just left.

Having not been before it was difficult to know just what to expect but what I had picked up on was that it had a very different vibe to other tech conferences. And so it turned out.

On entering the Helsinki conference centre the first thing that strikes you is just how dark it is in there. Darker than outside and there’s not much daylight in Helsinki at the moment. The next thing that hits you is the funky lighting – I would say that it reminds me of a club but it has been a very long time since I have been in one of those so I can’t be certain! However, nothing gives a better sense of what it is like than this short video of the opening session on the main stage which was basically a DJ set.

I’m here at Slush with WorkInConfidence as part of a trade mission which is a group of ten companies sponsored by Technation, and the departments of Trade and Industry and Culture, Media and Sport. As part of this we not only have access to the event with all its talks and side events but also a stand for one of the two days.

I’d forgotten just how tiring standing on a stand all day can be but it has been worth it for the quality of the people we have got to meet. We had the usual people after a free pen along with those that wanted to sell to us something (usually outsourced development) but there were also corporates and companies that would make excellent partners.

Here we are on the stand before the rest of the UK delegation had surfaced!

As a side note this has been a real test for me of whether working just with the iPad Pro really is a possibility as I have left behind the laptop for the three days that we have been here. I’ve found that most things have been possible with the exception of editing a PowerPoint presentation that had embedded fonts. I wouldn’t say that this trip has really stretched the iPad Pro though so the jury is still out.

On the whole Slush has been a positive experience in a kind of wild and whacky way. To drive home that point I’ll leave you with a picture of the secret garden that has been set up for the event because no tech event is complete without a secret garden!

The “secret” garden

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