Time machine – Next Conference, departure from Berlin

2000 founders, investors, marketing and media experts, designers and developers from 28 countries have met last week at Next Conference at Station-Berlin to takeoff on an amazing journey into the future that is already here, but not evenly distributed yet. 

Parallel tracks covered different topics, from how fashion is going digital, to the internet of things and to launch of new tech startups, all connected into one main topic: Post-Digital (how technologies change our life). Are we actually into a Post-Digital era? My conclusion was: not yet (common, for example most were still exchanging paper business cards there), but we are rapidly heading towards it – so if you are an entrepreneur or marketeer: be prepared and think forward!
And here are some take-outs from Next trip into the future that might help you:
- There is still huge business potential for tech startups because there are plenty of things we do in a “traditional” and not digital way. But entrepreneurs should not be driven by technologies, or marketeers by how to persuade people – they should all be driven by usability and solving real problems (sounds simple, but most fail here). Also, keep in mind that even if technologies are here already (and there were many showcased at Next), people have to be ready for them as well.
- We are getting closer and closer to web 3.0. Having access and being exposed to a huge amount of data, people do not want to search for things anymore. They are willing to feed Big Brother with their personal data and history, so that they get in return systems that can anticipate their needs and give them what they need without even asking/ searching. To put it simple: they want pro-active systems, not reactive. So you might mind that if you are planning to build a new tech business.
- Corporates become more pro-active with the startup scene as well. If they usually just keep an eye on it in order to buy and incorporate them, now they are giving more support to the startupers. Example: Deutsche Telekom launched at Next Conference an incubator – hubraum, in order to support startups from the beginning. To be incubated by them, you have to have a strong team and proven expertise on the idea you want to pursue, but not an existing product or even business plan yet.

- The word “control” will not exist anymore in business or marketing language. Consumers are more and more empowered. So you can launch, but then  you should just listen and support them, do not try to control anymore. Which opens opportunities to the Research industry, if they adapt their tools and methodologies.
- Berlin is definitely developing into Europe’s new “Silicon Valley”. I do remember this trend starting last year at Next Conference, followed by TechCrunch encouraging it even more. There are more and more entrepreneurs here, very well connected, with great facilities and with plenty of media promoting Berlin as the entrepreneurial city. But as long as Berlin’s entrepreneurs still go to US to find investors or move there when they grow,  means that it is still much more space for improvement. What I like is that is really up to us to make Berlin a strong entrepreneurial city or not here, in Europe.
Was great being there and meeting so many remarkable and inspiring people. Now let’s see what we will all do today with the inspiration we got from this time travel into the future.
(More details on the content on http://nextberlin.eu/ blog, curated by Adam Tinworth)
(A few more blog posts related to the conference will follow from my side as well – I have plenty of materials :)