I wrote the other day that a (relatively) hidden key to a successful startup scene is loyalty. This time I want to talk about the ‘secret sauce’ of events: soul.
The bigger an event gets the greater the risk becomes that it loses its soul. Le Web is on hiatus right now. That’s for two reasons, in my not so humble opinion: 1. It had its legs swept away by other events that moved faster, and 2. It sold its soul to a corporate tendency.
I’m now building my own thing and will be only occasionally contributing to The Next Web from the end of this month. The best part of working here is the team. Their passion flows down from Boris and Patrick, the company’s co-founders.
The energy and attack they apply in their work resonates through the team. There is a tangible buzz in TNW’s Amsterdam HQ and that spirit is replicated in its conferences in Europe and the US. TNW has soul and that means there are lot of internal debates and discussions about new ideas.
In the past week I’ve been on a whistle-stop tour around Europe, dropping into Amsterdam to talk about my ideas with Boris and so many others in the office, including TNW’s incredible Director of Events, Wytze.
In Ireland, I attended Media Con, Dublin’s newest and most inspiring media conference, where I had some thought-provoking conversations with people in the audience and had the privilege of moderating a panel on the future of television that largely avoided the word ‘content.’
Travelling down from Dublin by train, I turned up in Waterford for Node Conf Europe, which brings hundreds of inspired developers together, united by software but ultimately connected by their passion. Oh and their love for hanging out in a really cool castle for a few days and enjoying far too much Guinness.
Finally, I came to Berlin yesterday to watch the first Techstars Berlin demo day. I’ll have a full rundown of the startups I saw there, but the thing that struck me was how the passion of the entrepreneurs is matched by the passion of the organizers.
I met Brian Daly when he was an astoundingly energetic young guy doing sales and investor relations for the Web Summit, now he’s one of the engines behind TechStars Berlin’s creative programme.
What links all of these people and events is that passion, that drive, that fundamental connection between a sense of humor and hard work. That’s what will push Europe in its friendly war with Silicon Valley. We’ll never have one startup hub but across the many that flower on this continent, the passion will push us forward.
Next week I’ll be in London seeking out even more passionate founders and hunkered down in Dogpatch Labs, Dublin, where I’m the unpaid journalist-in-residence, and am constantly inspired by the brilliant team running the space, led by the intensely focused Patrick Walsh.
Europe, keep doing what you’re doing. You’re brilliant.