Tech Open Air 2016: Three themes & tips

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By focusing on breadth rather than depth, Tech Open Air’s 5th edition was able to explore everything from tech for social good to the future of finance, from female entrepreneurs to mind hacking. Here the top three themes of the day plus tips on how to become a successful entrepreneur. Twitter

A new age for social media

The democratization of virtual reality is disrupting social media, according to Splash founder Michael Ronen. To kick-off his presentation, he asked the audience to guess who their neighbour is according to the photos on their phone.

Architecture featured heavily in the photos of the woman next to me, leading me to believe she she was an architect. Wrong: She was a journalist. Ronen so brought home his point that with social media we don’t showcase who we truly are. However, with the democratization of VR, the line between our social personas and reality will be blurred. Twitter

In the same vein, Jesse Hertzberg aims to bridge reality and virtual experience through Livestream. Individual broadcasting will continue to increase, integrating into our lives in a much deeper way, from communicating with employees and supervising children to watching politics unfold live through protests.

Hertzberg offered 4 tips to maximize ROI when livestreaming:

  • Focus on engagement and value
  • Think beyond traditional – what’s unique about you
  • Content proliferation is real
  • Take your audience to places they can’t go

… and don’t forget, there is no room for mistakes!

How to successfully disrupt tech

Calling on TOA16 to “make Berlin the sextech captal of the world”, Make Love Not Porn founder Cindy Gallop gave an empowering speech for women and Berlin entrepreneurs in general. Gallop has faced many hurdles as a sextech entreprenuer due to companies’ unwillingness to partner with adult content providers.

Key lessons from Cindy Gallop:

  • Fear of what people think is the biggest inhibitor of success in business and life.
  • As Peter Thiel has said: “The issues valuable are the ones nobody even tried to solve.”
  • The only thing that stops a bad guy with a business is a good guy with a better business. Twitter

When tech meets social good

Technology can also be used to increase humanitarian help. Kiron Education founder Markus Kressler didn’t just present on his initiative – an university in Berlin dedicated exclusively to refugees – he was accompanied by the best example of their success: Sajida Taya, who fled Syria two years ago and is now pursuing a degree in engineering in Berlin thanks to Kiron Education.

Tech Open Air 2016 Panel

Tech for the Greater Good Panel: Solutions for the Refugee Crisis

Big tech companies are also jumping on the “tech for social good” bandwagon. Twitter Luke Woods, Head of Product Design, outlined some of Facebook’s initiatives, which include suicide prevention, safety checks, and charitable donations. The next step: fundraising for charities.  

On the crowdfunding side, Kickstarter CEO Yancey Strickler emphasized that their key goal is to help bring creative projects to life, outside of the monoculture monopoly. This includes Kickstarter-launched projects for the greater good, such as a Black Lives Matter crowdfunding campaign.

How to become a successful entrepreneur

Across all talks and sectors, there was an emphasis on how to succeed as an entrepreneur. Twitter Here tips from founders & CEOs:

  • Stay innovative & down-to-earth at the same time. – Marko Wenthin, CEO, SolarisBank
  • Make sure you know what consumers want. –  Dominik Richter, Founder, HelloFresh
  • Work from home before going to the office.  – Ida Tin, Co-founder, Clue
  • Experiment often, fail quickly, and review. – Giorgos Zacharia, CTO, KAYAK

The jovoto open innovation platform is also part of tech shaping the future. Interested in how jovoto helps global brands innovate with a pool of 80 000 creative professionals? Click here to learn more.

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Noémie El Kholti

Noémie left the nest at 17, moving from France to Canada to study Politics & Communication at UdeM. She's interning in the marketing department and is also responsible for jovoto's Instagram account (@crowdstorm).