Thursday, October 31, 2013

TedxKrakow Inspiring Creative Krakowians to "Make" Startups

By Paul Chen

I believe that part of the reason for the much deserved buzz about startups in the last few years is the same spirit behind the subculture of makers and their recent rise in popularity.  This spirit is indeed contagious.  It is the central theme in the latest installment of TedxKrakow, MAKE!  It took place on October 25, 2013 in Stara Zajezdna, an event space in the Kazimierz district.   Unlike their previous conferences, they have added a great deal of bells and whistles to the event.  In fact, they made a whole weekend out of it.   

Along with a fine lineup of speakers, presentations, and cultural offerings, the organizers allowed the audience to get their hands dirty by having them participate in many workshops.  The workshops were made possible by the people of Maker Space here inKrakow.  Participants hand the chance to play with the Makey Makey boards, the Stellaris Launchpad, and making jewelery and toys out of electronic components.   In addition, there were workshops held throughout the weekend.  Workshops covered topics such as 3D-Design, 3D-Printing, Bread baking, coffee brewing, an all-night hackathon, dancing, and a Hive 53 Swarm.    

A list of speakers and their passion can be found here. All of the speakers were wonderful and inspiring, but here are some of my favorites.

They say that you can’t fight City Hall but Catherine Bracy taught us that you can hack it with her work with Code for America.  She in cooperation with Open Malopolska have started an initiative called Code of Poland in an effort to streamline the operations of governmental institutions as well as improve the interactions between the citizens and the city offices.  Such initiatives are much needed in order to allow Poland to progress. 

Trine Hahnemann encourages us to step away from the store bought foods once in a while and eat food that is prepared with our own hands in order to preserve some ancient ways as well as staying healthy by taking advantage of the full nutritional benefits of food. 

Brad Feld would agree with Jeroen Beekmans when he proclaimed that it is the citizens of a city that gives it its life, spirit, and energy.


I also enjoyed the walk back in time that the famed journalist, Steve Crawshaw, took us on as he recalled the events that shook the world in 1989 as well as other Middle Eastern milestones.  I think it is that need to archive and report the events of a process that is undergoing a rapid amount of metamorphosis that gave me the motivation to start this blog.  

I also enjoyed the call to intergration from Janusz Makuch as in a future post, I will talk about the benefits of intergration for the Krakow Startup Ecosystem. 

Although, I might not want my kids to play with sharp objects, Gever Tulley told us to allow kids to try new things.  They are more likely to recover quicker and learn more from the mistakes they make while they are young. 


I really enjoyed the Makers center with all their projects.  What is amazing is the amount of mind-blowing projects that is possible based on boards such as the Makey Makey and the Stellaris Launchpad.  With those components, you can turn fruit into a game controller or control quad copters.  They are the latest buzz in the maker subculture and rapidly gaining interest in the mainstream. 


I believe that it is events like this that can inspire someone to want to make something really awesome.  Some of those innovative objects can have the potential to change the way we live such as what Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates did, not too long ago.  They had small startups that went on to make millions and change the world.  All it took was an inspiration that turned into an idea.  I am convinced that someone will take the inspirations from this TedxKrakow and Maker Weekend and do something incredible.  Let’s wait and see.

1 comment:

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