Berlin Can Learn from Other European Tech Hubs

By Silicon Allee |

Conferences, meet ups, summits, startup bootcamps, festivals… the list goes on. Are they useful? Some say conferences are a waste of time and money, festivals are for tech nerds to party and that networking is generally passive and fleeting.

I would argue it’s what you make of it that is important. There are clusters that exist everywhere in tech and it’s about tapping into them and effectively using the power behind them. You could argue that I’m a serial networker. Why? Because I realize the importance of ‘face time’. Trust me, it’s far more effective when connecting with people than, say, emailing or phone calls.

When I attend events, I already have a list of ten people who I would like to meet. I’ll often sneak into the speakers’ room and press room, and try to get into the after parties with the VIPs. This year’s goal is to make it to the Valley and share a Apple Martini with Sean Parker. Maybe even talk about resurrecting Napster from the dead…

But I don’t always have to sneak around as much, however. Last year I was given the wonderful opportunity to speak, interview and moderate at the STARTeurope conference (now the Pioneers Festival). I quickly became friends with the amazing group of organizers behind the event.

I was proactive in meeting them, maintained a relationship and was offered a mentor role at their sister event called Startup Live Athens.

The head co-ordinator of Startup Live Athens, Konstantina Zoehrer, said: “The main aim of this event was to give something back to the community. I believe in social and cultural values.” And that is exactly what we did.

As I’ve mentioned before, I believe we all have the ability to become mentors across many different cultures. It’s about tapping into our personal knowledge base and sharing our passion and expertise with others around us. There will always be a group of people interested in learning, especially in tech. Europe has 733 million people, 50 countries and 40 languages (source).

This past weekend, I mentored at Startup Live Vienna. I met with many groups and fell in love with the ideas of each team. I spoke with many of the participants and Tomáš Baran, founder of Goldenfish Lighting, told me: “We figured out some things that we wouldn’t have figured out for three months. We got a lot of feedback, a solid list of people that wanted to test the beta prototype. There were some mentors who showed us some ways that we didn’t think existed before.”

I have learned a lot from the Startup Live events. I now realise that it’s important to understand how another startup scene works, and the way the people within it think. It’s not good enough to only know the Berlin startup scene. You need to have a look how other hubs are doing it; their strengths and weaknesses. We can learn a lot from our European counterparts.

We certainly have a strong community here in Berlin that shows no signs of slowing down. Let’s use this momentum not only to build Berlin’s tech scene but to bridge relationships across Europe and the rest of the world. We are creative and connecting at faster speeds than ever before. We need the right group of people who will allow the tech community in Europe to flourish.

I want to thank the organizers behind Startup Live. Not just for giving me the chance to network, but for providing me with the opportunity to both share my knowledge on the art of communicating and to brainstorm with some amazing minds.

This is a post by Jess Erickson, the newest member of the team at Silicon Allee’s parent company Four Sektor. For more information on attending and/or mentoring, check out Startup Live Hamburg and Startup Live Athens.