WBJ: The next edition of infoShare will be held in May. The theme is still new technologies and the venue is still Gdańsk, right?
Grzegorz Borowski: New technologies and the reality they create are certainly constant elements that are a big part of our identity. The rapid pace of their development and the range of possibilities they create allow us each year to fill our agenda with household names – people who know the most about these trends and can explain them to participants.
This is the key element of infoShare – we create a space where technology fans, industry experts, business and start-ups can meet. They can talk, share ideas, knowledge, contacts, and spend time together. After all, it is sharing that is a central idea of infoShare.
What will change this year?
This year, we will focus on strong specialization on nine stages. We couldn’t do it without our largest venue – Inspire Stage, where all the inspiring talks happen. The second-largest stage is devTrends Stage for IT specialists – software engineers and architects who want to keep tabs on the latest developments in the industry. Startup Stage will become Growth Stage and we will dedicate it to investors, start-ups and scale-ups. We will host some of the best scale-ups that have joined our competition and that want to present their products that address the biggest issues the world is facing: climate change, famine or education (Social Impact).
We have also tuned in to what marketers need and organized a two-day Marketing Stage. Additionally, programmers can choose between tech talks in four areas, on four stages: DeepTech, Crypto&Security, DataTech and Fullstack Stage. We continue to publish more info about our new speakers.
The Arena Stage is a place designed to facilitate knowledge exchange and help participant facetime with our speakers. We will organize report presentations, expert panels and Q&A sessions right after talks on the big stages.
How many people do you expect to see this year? The number of participants has been growing each year.
We’re really glad we’ve managed to build an engaged community around infoShare over the past decade, people for whom the May gathering is a fixture in their calendars. We’ve also changed some aspects of ticket pricing. We’ve decided to get rid of free passes. We will charge for the Basic Pass too, but the price is reasonable – comparable to a movie ticket for two people. We want to encourage people to think whether infoShare is real added value for them and make a conscious purchase. In the past, a lot of free pass holders never showed up. It makes logistics and planning more complicated. This year we expect to see 6,000 participants, just like last year.
That is remarkable considering that the first infoShare in 2007 started out with 200 participants at the Gdańsk University of Technology. What is the story behind the conference?
It was an initiative started by four young managers who managed programmer teams at Wirtualna Polska. Together with three friends: Tomek, Marcin and Andrzej, we wanted to launch a conference different from an academic discussion. We invited experts in programming and all those who wanted to hear about the practical aspects of internet technologies. The first conference had 200 participants and was held at the Gdańsk University of Technology. Fast-forward 12 years and we are meeting 6,000 people at Amber Expo. We believe the number will grow, attracting more technology fans, both from Poland and abroad.
Fans of new technologies range from start-up founders, investors, corporates and other business. What do you offer each of these groups?
New technologies is a natural glue and a durable foundation on which we’ve built our conference. It’s true that the profile of an infoShare participant is varied, depending on what they wish to accomplish here in Gdańsk. Corporations look for innovation to improve their business and production processes. We’ve heard from many young companies that it was infoShare that helped them find a large business partner or get financed. Just look at Photon, which started working with IBM, or Livespace and the Aria fund.
Investors come here because – in their own words – this region is teeming with tech potential, ideal for their investment portfolio. Thanks to the annual Startup Contest, the eyes of investors, VCs, CVCs and large companies are all on the top 20 entrants, who are seeking innovative ways to solve global problems. Last year’s winner – ThinAir Water – created a solution for reclaiming water from the atmosphere and making it drinkable. We are thrilled to see the start-up grow. It is really rewarding to be able to match these young innovative companies with global business, also through our Speed Dating tool. This year, the award funded by the City of Gdańsk will be large. The winner will get €20,000, second place – €7,000 and third place – €3,000.
Managers and IT professionals, including software developers, IT architects and marketers also come to infoShare for a dose of knowledge and inspiration.
Do we know who will appear at infoShare this year?
We already have several big names on our agenda, even though we still have a lot of work to do. Some of the confirmed speakers include: Venkat Subramaniam (Agile Developer), Vitaly Friedman (Smashing Magazine), Sean Percival (appear.in), Bryan Kramer (PureMatter) and Christopher Penn (Trust Insights).
Importantly, we will also see a strong female presence at infoShare: Ghela Boskovich (Femtech Global), Magdalena Urbaniak (MaxTractor), Anastasiia Voitowa (Cossack Labs) and Vesela Tanaskovic (Afforest for Future) will come to speak at the conference.
infoShare’s agenda also offers seaside activities. What are you planning this year?
This year, our After Party will take place at the Gdańsk Shipyard to accentuate the spirit of Gdańsk. We can’t wait for the live concert at the Great Networking Party. Soon we will announce who will appear on stage at Stary Maneż. We also always organize a boat tour along the Gdańsk Bay at sunset. Let’s hope the weather is good. Nights can be cool at the seaside in early May.
What happens after the conference? Are you taking a break in June?
Defninitely not. In June, we will analyze questionnaires completed by participants, speakers and partners to gain even more insight and make next year’s event even better. June is also when we are organizing our next infoShare event – the Blockchain Next conference in Warsaw. Creating new events is an integral part of our mission – to share what is worth sharing about new technologies.