“No-one in their right mind would come to Helsinki in November, except for 15.000 tech heads.”
That’s the tag line for Slush this year, Europe’s premier tech startup event. What does it mean? Well, read on to find out, but suffice to say that you’re in for a ride.
Whether you’re attending Slush to look for investors, a student looking for employment or just to follow the tech field, this year’s program is packed with amazing speakers.
Here are our top tips for Slush 2016.
The first rule of Slush club: be yourself.
Here’s the thing: Slush may seem like it’s all about selling your idea. And it kinda is, if that’s why you pay to attend.
Yet, amidst all this smiling and waving and business mannerisms, we think Slush is just the right kind of laid-back carnival-like experience that gets Finnish people out of their shells a bit without discarding the best part of Finnish culture: being real.
The event may look like it’s all about sleek business people, but we think we see through that: Slush may be dressed up for business, but a large chunk of the attendants are geeky, technical people with cool ideas, and students willing to connect.
So, disregard everything you think you know about Finnish normative shyness and talk to people. They’ll definitely be in the mood to talk back.
Bring warm clothes and don’t miss the daylight
What’s the joke about Helsinki being so terrible in late November? Well, there’s the weather. We just got our first snow this year and that may or may not be a thing during Slush. However: sub-zero temperatures or not, we get that special breezy seaside windiness. It’s not warm.
Then there’s the daylight situation. If you haven’t experienced late November way up North before, you may not know how you’ll feel after a few days of dusk at 3 PM. For some people it’s not such a big deal, for others, Seasonal Affective Disorder is a massive soul crushing bag of tiredness.
Either way, your mental health is not a joke. So we recommend getting outside to get some daylight instead of spending all day inside the venue.
Last summer, yours truly did a big guide about things to see and do in the nice, hip district of Kallio, a short tram ride away from the Messukeskus venue. Financial services innovators Holvi also have a guide from last year that’s still mostly up to date. Slush themselves have a big guide too.
Just… try to get outside before 2:30 PM. Your head will thank you later.
The Slush program is worth a deep read so you can find whatever you can’t miss. However, we’ll give you some recommendations to get started. We assume that you’re somewhat of a techhead.
Joel Spolsky is one of the original blogging era’s big, public thinkers on software. The Microsoft veteran has written thoughtfully on software production (starting with the basics, such as defending private offices and ‘Not Invented Here Syndrome’). Spolsky is a co-founder of Fog Creek software and the Stack Overflow family of Q&A sites, known to programmers everywhere.
Daniel Ek is, depending on who you ask, either responsible for ruining the music industry or for saving it from itself. The founder of Spotify played a major role in redefining how consumers and businesses alike expect content to be provided over a subscription model and using handy apps with social integrations.
Ilkka Paananen is the CEO at mobile gaming unicorn Supercell. Paananen is known for going against popular entrepreneur sentiment and publicly talking about the virtues of taxes and will be speaking about the virtues of failure on a panel with Daniel Ek.
Mårten Mickos went from building the second largest open source company ever with the ubiquitous MySQL database to redefining the business of cybersecurity. He is now CEO at HackerOne, the largest bug bounty program, which helps companies offer money to honest, skilled hackers to look for vulnerabilities in their software. Don’t miss Mårten’s intro to cybersecurity!
There it is, a look into another amazing Slush conference. If you’re attending and have further tips, let us know. And if you want to learn more about the marvels of Miradore, please come and say hi. We have on our demo booth , B17, on Thursday, Dec 1st.
Title photo by Slush / Sami Heiskanen