Next year, we will be kicking off a new calendar of local events with Voxxed Days Berlin, taking place in Kosmos Berlin, January 28th – 29th. In this interview, Dude Almighty (and general conference pro) Grzegorz Duda, along with Program Committee members Claudia Fröhling, Eberhard Wolff and Markus Eisele, gives us some insights into what’s coming, what’s in it for you, and how the startup heavy dynamic in the region may flavour the event.
Voxxed: What led you to become interested in organising this event?
Eisele: I think it is safe to say that I have been a friend of Voxxed since its inception, and I am also going to speak at the Voxxed Belgrade. Talking to Grzegorz about a new event which primarily focuses on developers in Germany’s most startup heavy scene was very exciting. And last but not least, I have some connections into the Java community, so it was my pleasure to not only help launch but also be part of the program committee.
Duda: I used to organize 33rd Degree in Krakow Poland, which this year became Devoxx Poland. It is very challenging to put together all the strings to make the event successful. When you do it properly, you can take a lot satisfaction from the work done well. This led me to organize Voxxed Days Vienna last year, and this year we decided to do something for German Java community and organize Voxxed Days Berlin.
Duda: I live in Krakow, Poland. When I was looking for cities nearby that are in need of more Java related conferences, I settled on Vienna and Berlin. At the same time, both of these cities are very attractive to speakers, so it is always easier to convince good speaker to come to nice city 🙂
Eisele: If you are looking for innovative startups in Germany these days, there’s one city to go to. Berlin. Not only is it a capital city, it’s also a vibrant, creative and innovative city with a high affiliation with technology. And, historically it always has been kind of a door into the eastern parts of the EU. A great infrastructure, nice venues. Just a perfect spot to launch something new.
Berlin is known for being a very startup friendly city – do you expect this to influence the kind of submissions you’ll get for this event? If so, how?
Duda: I think so. We have started CFP couple weeks ago and we have already had 30 speakers submit their proposals. It is common for speakers to wait for the last week to submit, so from this perspective, Berlin is already very unusual city. I hope that towards end of September when the CFP ends we will have many more talk submissions with a variety of topics.
We have also introduced 10-15 minutes lightning talks in Berlin, which may be very good occasion to talk about startups and topics around building startups.
Wolff: Usually people in Berlin are doing rather advanced things. I suspect this will be reflected in the submissions. Having said this, I think we will also see a lot of interesting submissions from other parts of Germany – that I am looking forward to.
What do you think will be the biggest challenges in organising this event?
Duda: The biggest challenge was to find good venue. However, after 2 months we have come to agreement with a great venue – Kosmos Berlin, so this is already solved. I hope that now we have venue a which can accommodate Voxxed Days Berlin for 2-3 years.
Eisele: Berlin is not exactly know to be inexpensive. So, the biggest challenge will be to find good ways to cut down on costs to keep the Voxxed Days promise and deliver on good value for money. Beside that, it is always a challenge to start something new from scratch. Even the name “Voxxed” already comes with a well-known branding – there are still hurdles to overcome.
Fröhling: Organizing an event for the first time in a new city and location is always a challenge and full of surprises. But feedback on our Call for Papers is fantastic so far and I think that is a good indicator that we will see a great Voxxed Days Berlin debut.
Personally, I think the biggest challenge is to attract a diverse speaker line-up. We introduced a mentoring program for newcomers and a Code of Conduct as a first step. That is not yet common in the Java conference community.
What current industry trends most interest you, and what would you like to see discussed at Voxxed Days Berlin?
Wolff: I have just finished writing a German book about microservices. My previous book was about Continuous Delivery. So I am obviously interested in those. But at the same time I invested so much time in these topics that I am looking forward to other topics, too.
Duda: Big Data, Reactive programming, microservices and the IoT seem like they are the areas with most of the buzz recently. Microservices especially are very broad topic, and we expect a lot of talks on that. It is good to see not only very optimistic talks on microservices, but also those that show the negative aspects of such an architecture.
Eisele: The most interesting parts these days are the influences on developers and projects by the steady cloud hype. What does the advancing container technologies bring in terms of productivity and standardization and how to handle the new architecture approaches.
There is not a lot publicized about how to use all those hyped up things in production environments and I would love to learn a lot more from the field of how customers and developers use all the different new xPaaS services.
How does your background as a developer influence your attitude to community events?
Wolff: To me IT is about communication – with the customer, with colleagues. Probably communication is even more important than technology.
Eisele: To me, community has always been the most important part of my work. I can barely think about another industry which is passing on knowledge about latest technologies and developments like ours. And because of this, sharing has always been my own priority. Whatever I learned with large projects and unusual technical settings was potentially something worth to share. Plus, if I ran into them, by sharing my problems I eventually got the answer. The more we share, the more we grow. Personally and professionally.
Duda: I make every conference the one I would like to attend. Usually, there is so much work during the conference, that finally I do not attend any talks. Good thing is that most of the events and most of the talks are recorded, so at least this way I can catch up what was happening during conference 🙂
How have tech events shaped your career, and what have been the most valuable takeaways for you?
Eisele: I began my community engagements comparably late in my professional career. Just 10 years back, I started to give my first public talks and wrote some first articles in German for print magazines. But from there on, it became a habit to contribute and speak. The most important tech event in that sense has always been JavaOne. This is both because it gave me the opportunity to network with people who rarely make it to European conferences, and also because of it’s sheer size. After that, I guess the second most important event is JavaLand. My own conference, where I try to use everything I learned to shape up a new and exciting place to share knowledge and gain experiences.
Duda: The most important – networking. I made so many friends in different part of world. This is the most valuable takeaway. Whenever I go to conference as a speaker or participant, there is plenty of friends that you can go for a beer and chat about Java and related technologies.
Wolff: I always found events a great way to hear about different ideas and exchange information – generally to just meet interesting people.