Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Music festival Pohoda and startups

My interest in startups and mentoring has unexpectedly prepared me a very interesting week. First, I visited my friends at the University of Tomas Bata in Uherske Hradiste and then I jumped over the Czech and Slovak border to Mini Unicamp at the musical festival Pohoda in Trencin. Great and very interesting week.

A small part of the Tomas Bata University, the Institute of Visual Art is located in Uherske Hradiste Moravia, Czech Republic. Bob, one of the professors at the institute, is leading a group of students interested in media design.  Bob is teaching web design and this brought us together. He is teaching students producing nice designs but they rarely turn their designs to real applications. Here we are stepping in. We have many students highly interested in programming web apps and typically their biggest weakness is graphical design. Yes, it is obvious we need to combine the skills and create new apps. Wait, I will soon let you know where to access the designs and enjoy them throughout the summer.

I arrived to the UTB on Tuesday afternoon and Bob took me for a nice walk to admire the local architecture and the nearby vineyards. We have passed several nice cellars and climbed a small hill to enjoy a scenic view.  Going down the hill we started to inspect the cellars from inside, delicious vine. Later we got to the centre of Uherske Hradiste to discover a stylish retro bar with an name attracting all hackers “Portal”. It is furnished with a large collection of last century design chairs. Other UTB friends joined us and we continued tasting the local vines. They serve not only vine, I had an Earl Grey cup of tea for the breakfast the next morning. Running on "portal" was an opportunity to discuss further plans for our cooperation, but at 10PM we have experienced the Portal DoS ( Denial of Service) and we had to move to an other cellar to continue the “discussion”. It was very long and productive. Give us some more time we have cocked some very interesting projects.

The next day I have visited a very nice exhibition of the UTB designers in a local movie theater. In the evening I got back to watch a movie. We had to wait to collect at least 10 viewers, the minimum to start the show. We were lucky we close at 12 people.  Movie theater is a remarkable building from sixties. From outside it has the proportions and style of the famous Ludwig Mies van der Rohe buildings. The main hall is covered with  a dome like roof. On top of the dome is a little garden. The entrance to the main hall has very thick and large doors. Why all that? It was originally build as an atomic attack shelter for the local communist establishment.  Remarkably the building is really great.

I have moved to Trencin on Thursday to join the musical festival Pohoda, a great event attracting a crowd of 30k viewers.  This was my first music festival ever. My expectations were very different. I have not met any drunken people, no drugs, and no orgy. What more there were about sixty people interested in startup discussions. The Mini Unicamp has been sponsored by British Council. The organizers put together architects, designers, university teachers and others to discuss the creation and innovation process. All approached the discussion from their point of view. It was interesting for me and I hope, for the viewer too, to see and the different views and different problems in various professions. I was representing the Internet segment. The main idea I have tried to convey was the democratization, the easiness of accessing programming resources, movie making, music, entrepreneurship and other disciplines. Anyway, you still need to have a good idea to take advantage of all the free tools and create something new. Most of all, I have tried to motivate people and make them understand, it is easy to turn their dreams true. There are so many opportunities, …

This was very unconventional week, but I have learned a lot. I have met many new and interesting people and I am sure, I will meet with them soon again working on new disrupting projects.

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