The stages are live, the demo booths open and people are filling the hall at the Telakka Event Centre. As we step off the stage having opened proceedings and our first speaker, Trip Hawkins, talks on “The Big Idea” we want to remind you of what the conference has to offer and how to get the most out of it.
First of all, make sure that you have installed the relevant conference app for your phone. Just click on the links to take you to the iOS, Android, and Windows versions. Then if you haven't already arrived at the venue, get yourself to the Event Center Telakka, Henry Fordin katu 6, 00150 Helsinki. We have arranged for a free double decker bus for all of our attendees that will leave each day at exactly 08:30AM on both the 27th and the 28th from City Tour Bus Stop 11 at Mannerheimintie 22, in front of Lasipalatsi, across the street from Sokos department store. It's a Red Double-Decker “Hop On Hop Off” Bus that you can’t miss. Info is also available on the app and while you're travelling here you can check out the stages, speakers, and map of the venue. Come prepared.
There will be talks throughout the day on the PayPal Stage and Main Stage. You might find me over at the PayPal stage listening to Falk Muller-Veerse speak on 'How to Sell Your Company to Disney or Microsoft' at 10.45, or later at 12.50 for Therese Bogan's talk entitled 'Addicted to Startup Life – The Dark Side'. Meanwhile the talks I might be checking out on the Main Stage include at 11.40 talk from Rami Ismail on the 'Indie Business Model', and Justin Waldron provocatively titled 'The Death of the AppStore' at 16.30. Starting shortly after 13.00 the pitching competition will be running through the afternoon on the main stage, and it's always worth dropping in on that to find out who might be the next big name in the startup world.
It wouldn't do to talk about the conference and not mention the food. Lunch is served from 11:00 until 15:00 at the Food Street area, so you’ll have plenty of time to get one of the great meal options that are available. We've found ourselves frustrated at other conferences we've attended when the window to get something to eat is restricted and suddenly all the attendees drop whatever they are doing and flock to the food courts. Then you're stuck with the usual long wait and interrupted deals that can leave a lingering annoyed feeling for the rest of the day. We're hoping that with a four hour window everyone will find a suitable time to eat that works for them, around the rest of their busy schedules.
We've got some wonderful food on offer as well, Foodiac are bringing two chefs, Teemu Laurell – Top Chef 2012 and Mika Tuomonen – Master Chef 2012, who will be providing slow-cooked pork neck and Finnish sausages respectively. Masabi Sushi are here with a delicious sounding array of sushi including some reindeer. Street Gastro are making gourmet sandwiches, beef, chicken, and vegetarian options that doesn't so do justice to how amazing they will taste. Twisted Helsinki are bringing some Thai flavours with some curries on the first day and a Thai style Chili Con Carne on the second, which I'm really curious to try.
This wouldn't be a Finnish conference without an abundant source of good fresh coffee either, and we've got you covered. Finnish coffee and tea retailer Kuppi Kuumaa are serving guests with high quality coffees and teas from Swedish Johan & Nyström's coffee roaster. The coffee menu includes aromas from Brasilian Yellow Bourbon and Ethiopian Welena coffees, which are served as brew coffee. Tea drinkers are pampered with charming flavours from the organic T-Tea product line.
Now while we love to hear the best and the brightest in the start up world talk and share their wisdom, we don't want you to just grab some food or a coffee and spend all your time at the stages, we want to make sure that you maximise every available opportunity. This means encouraging you to wade out into the sea of people filling the centre and engage in conversation. Just like the Arctic Evenings we hosted in the run up to Arctic15, we love to create an atmosphere that fosters networking. People feel comfortable approaching one another and the connections and business that grows from such encounters are the not-so-secret sauce that make good events great.
To that end we encourage you to talk to the people you might find around you in the queue for a drink or a meal. To approach demo stands and talk to the guys there, after all that's what they want you to do. Sit with people you don't know and find out who they are and why they have come to the conference. Compare goals and objectives, swap stories, and ask about each other's businesses.
So go checkout the schedule here and say hi to us if you see us walking around the venue! We're always interest in hearing new stories from the start up trenches.