While most tech and digital conferences might take place in spring and fall, I’m sure that you and I both love when they are organized in the summer. A great example is Changer Festival that took place in late July in the beautiful Croatian city of Šibenik, combining street art, food, music and – most importantly to our topic – a great tech event that took place in the evening over 3 days with topics from freelancing to the future of smart cities.
The beautiful Croatian city of Šibenik (Photo: Solaris archive)
My mate Luka Sučić and I took over the moderation of 4 large panels with some of the brightest minds of the regional tech community, including companies such as electric car maker Rimac Automobili, fast growing transportation booking platform Vollo and vacation rental property manager Rentlio.
Why Summer Tech Events Are Better Than a Great Mojito
- As in Changer’s case, the events can take place in an open, more relaxed setting. Taking place at Ivan Pavao II square in the very heart of Šibenik, the location was far more interesting than your average bland conference space;
- Summer is the truly sunny part of the year, which is important because studies have shown that nicer weather increases our life satisfaction. More sun – happier attendees.
Another benefit of these events taking place in the summer is that attendees definitely take more time to enjoy their surrounding, including various attractions and restaurants, cafes etc.
The time before our panel we spent prepping at Vino&ino, the best wine bar in Šibenik, owned by former creative director Vedran Gulin. Vedran got smart and after an epic digital marketing career turned to creating one of the best places to sit and relax in his hometown.
In some cases, they might even bring their partners. Netgen’s Web Summer Camp conference offers a special package for companions of attendees, with a unique programme.
Summer Events Are Hot… And Hard
There are a number of reasons why organizers don’t like organizing conferences in the summer:
- Summer as the tourist season means that coastal cities have less capacity and higher prices of accommodations, increasing expenses for both organizers and attendees. According to data provided by travel search engine Hipmunk, accommodations in the summer are 50% more expensive;
- Attendees go on holiday in the summer so less of them are ready to go to a conference or professional event.
Changer’s Panels About The Digital Economy
The two talks I moderated lasted for 90 minutes each (we made it work, argh!):
Freelancing – Dalmatia style was interesting because two of my attendees gave a truly Dalmatian perspective on making it as a digital freelancer. UX designer Marina Matijača explained how she balanced working for a digital agency and freelance work, while noted designer Filip Peraić (author of the acclaimed art series James Harden Illustrated) made it clear that you should put the work that you would like to do in your portfolio. On the other hand, TopTal technical sourcer Ines Avdic explained how a platform like TopTal helped freelancers take the hassle out of finding new work.
The center of Šibenik in the evening (Photo by Iva Soldo)
Future City was a more broad panel about the true future of smart cities and how can a city like Šibenik take advantage of the 4th industrial revolution. Aco Momčilović (Rimac Automobili), Marko Jukić (Vollo), Ante Matijača (Profico) and Marko Mišulić (Rentlio) had a lot to share about how important digitalization is for cities, especially when using data to manage them better.
MOP organizer and programme director for the conference part of Changer festival, Fran Mubrin, commented:
As a moderator Ivan recognizes opportunities in every topic and uses his experience to get the most interesting information from the panelists, making the topics interesting and useful to everyone in the audience.
I’m looking to next year’s Changer festival while wondering if we could have at least part of the panels in English. Who knows, maybe some of the tourists that stopped and wondered what we were talking about were digital nomads!