We’ll Be At TechMixer University Today

Awake, showered and looking forward to attending and speaking at TechMixer University today.  Looks like there’s a lot of great folks covering a lot of wide range of cool topics (secuirty, cloud, development, mobile) and I’m speaking  2:55 to 4:10 if you’re in the Birmingham area and fancy dropping by.

Also excited about meeting the Birmingham peeps for dinner tonight at “Cantina” (I wonder if the Star Wars reference had anything to do with my awesomely geeky wife choosing that restaurant?) around 6:30. :)

It should be an excellent if busy day!

Iværk07 – hidden gems

Morten Wagner Kasper (my business partner) and I took the time last Friday to visit Iværk07 at the forum in Copenhagen.

For those of you who aren’t familiar (or aren’t Danish), Iværk is is a conference for people who are embarking, in the early stages of, or just thinking about starting their own business.

The event is two days long and features all the usual vendors and a line up of companies and speakers who are there, ostensibly to offer advice to the startup owner and help them on their way, but as is often the case the conference stalls were mostly occupied by folks trying to squeeze the last buck out of the startup owners.

Before I go any further, I must say that we did not attend the Saturday session, (so I missed seeing Martin Thorborg speak) but the Friday one, which was the longest was, for me, very disappointing.

Still all was not doom and gloom.

While many of the speakers were useless there were some unexpectedly good speeches.

When Kasper and I left for Copenhagen we had a list of a number of “must attend” speeches (you can’t see everyone with multiple speeches / workshops happening at once) in the hope that some modicum of advice would be dispensed that wasn’t already available on the back on an average beer mat.

We found what we wanted, but not where we expected to find it.

Our original plan was to see the main debate about whether or not Danish iværksetter (entrepreneurs, founders) were good enough.

We also wanted to see Danish “star” and walking personal brand Ole Henriksen.

Finally we planned to finish our session of speeches by listening to Christian Normann of ICommerce.

There were others, but these were the big 3 for us.

Man, did we get it wrong.

The debate was 5 people agreeing with each other and Ole told his life story and mentioned very little to do with starting a company (or as we expected talking about personal branding).

Christian Normann was a light at the end of the tunnel though. While not the best public speaker his presentation had excellent content. More than enough to keep me brain chugging over on the way back to Næstved.

I’d like to see Christian speak again, and here a few more of his tales from France. Maybe over a beer?

The best speeches / presentations of the day came for some very unexpected sources.

Anders Kissmeyer from Nørrebro Bryghus (Nørrebro brewery) proved to be not only an excellent public speaker with truck loads of enthusiasm and charisma, but allowed us an excellent insight into his mind set, how he does / did do business and how he succeeded.

His speech was insightful, entertaining and you could feel the passion he has for what he does. I’d recommend that if anybody gets the chance to listen to Anders speak about business they grab it by the ears and take it.

The big surprise of the day for me was Morten Wagner. He’s one of the guys behind dating.dk and Freeway.

For me, Morten was the highlight of the entire show.

Okay, lets be honest here. The guy speaks at 900 mph. Humming birds on acid can’t move as fast.

Needless to say, that made it a bit difficult for my Irish ears to absorb everything as fast as all the Danes sitting around me. I got most jokes about 5 seconds after everybody else which can be embarrassing when you’re the only one laughing.

Still, Mortens speech was, informative, witty, intelligent and felt honest while feeling like a good show as well.

Best of all the didn’t used powerpoint! (There’s a lesson to be learned there folks.)

Yet, even Mortens’, Anders’ and Christians’ speeches could not drag the conference out of the pit of mediocrity for us, or maybe just for me.

The sponsors did their best. That’s a fact.

They were there, Multdata, Amino and everybody else and they were being genuinely helpful to the startups and offering advice for nothing. They should be commended for their performance.

Unfortunately, it was all the other stand owners who made you feel like you existed just to be scalped that really got to me.

I’ll be at Iværk08. There’s always a lot to be learned at these conferences, even if it’s not what you intended, and there’s always a great opportunity to network with other business owners.

I just hope that next year things will be better.

Quick note: I have a new personal goal. Before, or at Iværk10, I will be a speaker there.