This is the first of a series of guest posts from the Twilio Roadtrip team as they travel through Poland, written by Tony Blank of Context.io
Day One: Poznan
The tour of Poland started at the Rainmaking Loft in Berlin before we headed to the Polish city of Poznan. Our first meeting was at Netguru, a web development agency that is growing quickly. Wiktor, its CEO, talked with us for an hour about Netguru and the Polish tech scene. I was quite impressed with the company’s focus and ability to grow so rapidly – it has roughly doubled in size the last three years.
This kind of growth is proof that the quality of work produced by the developers here is very good. High quality work combined with the low cost of living makes Poland a very attractive location to seek outsourced developers.
Next up, in the evening, was the Hive61 meetup. Hive61 is a Poznan startup and business community which brings in a variety of speakers for meet ups. There were around 100 developers, designers and entrepreneurs in attendance. Besides the five of us, Mikolaj from Legimi.com talked about bootstrapping, which was a common theme throughout the evening as there are currently few investors in Poland. I expect that to change in the near future as the startup community grows.
In my talk, I shared my experience with a startup that failed, with the main point being that the entire team in an early-stage startup needs to have a very clear vision of what they’re doing.
In the networking time after the talks, I answered many questions about coping with failure, when to pivot, and my current gig as a developer evangelist for Context.IO. There were definitely fewer people here who knew what a developer evangelist does and I enjoyed explaining the pros and cons of it.
Afterwards, we went out for a few drinks with some attendees and I had a conversation with one of the Hive61 organisers about developer outreach best practices. He advises a developer-facing startup. My advice was to start with content and actively blog combined with making the effort to talk to all of your early customers. This fosters a great relationship and can give vital input on where the product needs to go.
Day Two: Poznan
After grabbing a quick breakfast with Josef at the Radio cafe, we walked around the offices of a few startups. We wanted to learn what they did and they wanted to see what kind of advice we had for them.
Whalla Labs is a mobile dev shop that currently focuses on Windows Phones. Soon, they will be expanding to Android and iOS. Piotr, from Whalla Labs, was interested in getting help growing the developer community in Poznan. We were able to offer up advice on where to look for sponsors, and what they expect from events.
We also met with Attensee which is doing some really neat things with simulating eye-tracking analysis for websites. We were able to give the team feedback about our first impression of their product.
Lastly, we met with devs from UsabilityTools, a company that has a suite of tools to help UX. Many people were in London, but we had a chat with some of the developers about what they are up to.
After my first two days in Poland, I’m looking forward to meeting more developers on the rest of the trip. I was impressed with the curiosity of the people I talked to at the meet up and the company visits. It’s apparent to me that innovation doesn’t have to happen in the traditional tech hubs and I look forward to seeing what comes out of Poland in the future.
Tony Blank is a developer evangelist from San Francisco-based startup context.io. Check out the cool Twilio implementation by Keith Casey.