Hackatrain

I am currently on a train headed to Amsterdam after being a part of a hackatrain, basically, a Hackathon that starts on a train. I wasn’t participating in the hackathon, I came as part of a Liferay team as sponsors, judges of a special Liferay prize and mentors.

I spent all the time on the train (6 hours) doing advocating, speaking to teams and trying to steer them to use Liferay libraries. I want to think that I was partly successful in spreading Liferay knowledge.

Compared to other Liferay mentors, especially one of our Liferay advocates, I lacked the courage to judge their idea or offer business suggestions. I saw several bad (IMHO) ideas but I wasn’t confident enough to advise them against pursuing those projects. Next time perhaps.

My English level is also a handicap, I can understand 100% of the words and sentences and it doesn’t matter the conditions (bad acoustics, accents…) but I’m at a loss expressing myself. I am not a very talkative person at all (shocking, I know) and when I’m surrounded by English speakers I measure the words even more. I also lack a quick response and a vocabulary. I understand strange words but they don’t come to me naturally. Lots of areas of improvement.

The Hackathon continued in a coworking space in Berlin and in the end, the experience was a bit underwhelming… of the 21 teams, there were just 7? programming solutions (the rests were power point or design based) and only 3 of them used Liferay tech (all of them WeDeploy).

I answered a few doubts about WeDeploy here and there (and I found and reproduced a serious bug) and I helped one team with Swift/iOS programming and they were chosen as finalists.

Being a mentor the first day was quite exhausting (7:00 to 23:00) and I think I could have contributed more to the whole event (like participating…) but, in general, it was a nice experience.

Tech Open Air

And the next 2 days I attended the TechOpenAir (TOA) conference, a startup conference in Berlin that had a special arrangement with the hackatrain organization (Amal Whyte).

The TOA was too focused on startups for me. Talks were introductory, at best, or shallow at worst.

I think the attendee count was hugely overblown (I’ve seen conferences with 700, 2000 people… 20,000 attendees if you count the satellite events I suppose and being way optimistic) and, although there were nice names (many startup CEOs or founders), the questions were basic.

I ended skipping lots of talks, walking through the booths and seeing the products.

I don’t work in the startup scene and I don’t understand (and I do try) the culture.

I don’t understand this this product for example. I heard the pitch (it’s not a mirror… it’s an experience) but I don’t understand it… maybe you do, I want to listen to your opinion!

I also don’t understand bookatiger: it’s not an ETT, it’s a technological platform… but, again, I don’t work in the startup scene and I don’t know what I’m blabbing about.

That’s all, so long and thanks for all the fish :)