I saw in the media that companies come to Slush to compete against each other. I didn’t see any of that inside. Instead I witnessed something I have never seen before: the amazing level of excitement, the outstanding production to the finest detail, the equality of people with no boundaries to talk to each other… and above all: the willingness to help.
At the core of Slush were the volunteers. And they were plenty. The 1500 people did their best to make Slush the best possible experience for the attendees, with the only incentive to be part of it. I was blown away with how quickly the volunteers helped me find my way to my meetings, how well they were organized and how they were always able to tell what is happening at that moment. Most of the volunteers were young students and one that I talked to was a teenage pupil from a high school.
The atmosphere may well have been started by the volunteers but it spread through and got amplified from person to person inside the event like a world disruptive message through social media. The startups and the companies weren’t selling to each other – they were having conversations of how they could work together or if they could help each other out in other ways. I heard industry experts – whose advice most startups have no way to compensate for – say “pay it forward”. This is to say that they wanted to repay the knowhow and the experience they received during their careers to the next generation.
Slush sold out all of the 15 000 tickets – to people who have ambition to make a dent in this universe. Many of the people who came abroad had never visited Finland before. Everyone I talked to said that they would come to Slush next year again.
The mentality of Slush is constant improvement. While the food carts and restrooms created long queues that made it sometimes difficult to move on the main floor, and there were issues with the Internet connectivity, the event as a whole has come a long way. In fact, I spoke to people who travelled a long way and who frequently attend conferences around the world, that this was the most energetic and highest quality of them all. If they would only attend one event, it would be Slush.
If people are coming to Slush to compete, the setup must be quite out of the ordinary: I’m sure that anyone who was there feels like they are the #Slush15 winners. In just a few days, in the dark and shivering cold corner of the world, 15 000 people have been converted. These are the ambassadors of the new world.
I’m one of them and I’m here to help,
CEO at usetrace.com
Photo from #Slush15 by Jussi Hellsten
Take part in the conversation for the feedback to Slush from #Slush15. Feedback is important for the organizers to further improve the event.