Finally Learning How to Web

I already said that the service for speakers was amazing at this year’s How to Web conference in Bucharest Romania. I wish other conferences would treat their speakers similarly. The only bad thing about the event I can say is that it was so enthralling that I never had time to see even a bit of the city in the two days I spent in Bucharest. I encountered great enthusiasm in the crowd who organized the conference and the many volunteers who helped to make it a great event. I would however like to say a big thank you to Bogdan, who obviously has his heart invested into making eastern European tech people more competitive, engaged, passionate and thus successful. If there were more people like Bogdan Sandulescu in the world, the technology sector would not only evolve as fast as it is now, but it would also create less complicated processes for innovation and a better network of cool people.

Well, but let me start form the beginning I was at “How to Web” only for the second day and I want to share my favorite moments from the conference here. I absolutely enjoyed the 2nd keynote <Link> from Mark Randall who is now with Adobe . He talked about how to find “Your Big Idea” and how to develop such an idea in an evolutionary fashion to be successful. There was a lot of great advice and insight in his presentation. From my point of view – as a person who is often approached for feedback on concepts and ideas – there is one message of the presentation I’d love to repeat to you: “DO NOT MAKE IT A SECRET”. Personally I just find it annoying when someone uses my time to get feedback on something they have in mind and when it comes to the interesting questions they say “I cannot tell you that, this is secret/stealth” or “We do not talk about this”. It is entirely your decision not to reveal information, but please don’t use my time if your do not plan on actually having a conversation about things (consulting is only free, if both sides enjoy the conversation). Mark explained this a lot less personal and a lot more helpful by saying “Many more ideas did not succeed due to lack of data and feedback than due to them getting stolen by someone else”.

I also liked the presentation given by Carlos Espinal – one of the Seedcamp Partners – who categorized the lifecycle of a company into “Start-Ups”, “Grow-Ups” and “Finish-Ups” (there is the feeling, that especially in Europe the last phase if normally not going so well) <LINK>. He has a very clear message that each of these phases needs different skills at the helm of the company and that many founders make the mistake to hang onto their position too long for final success. He either suggests getting in someone for the other phases to head the company or at least – and here his example was Apple and how Steve Jobs combined with different talents in top management – to get different people in during the different stages to partner with. He also gave out the well-known but unfortunately rarely followed statement that you should always look to hire smarter people than yourself.

I had fun giving my talk and as Bogdan had requested I did not hold back any challenge I see resulting from the status quo of development best pracices. You can see the slides at SlideShare. The slides are fairly abstract and will only give you a jist of the message. If they get you interested, maybe you should consider coming to the next How to Web conference and see me jumping up and down the stage emotionally talking about why writing code is not programming and why common technologies have slowed down the development of new development initiatives we need for the evolving web.

You can find – as promised – a list of my favorite development links here. This cannot be a full list, it is just a collection of a few sites, articles and tools I enjoy reading and use as reference for designing, building and refactoring highly scalable and well developed environments.

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