At Slush with Lieke

For the past year, I have been working as a software developer at Lieke Suunnittelu in Kajaani, Northern Finland. My job has revolved around Lieke, which is an app designed to digitalise the distribution of documents at construction sites. My jobs assignment have included designing and beta testing new features on Android and iOS, designing and implementing company websites and blogs, taking backups of the app’s data, writing user manuals, terms of service, and other documentation, working independently and remotely, and of late, representing at Slush.

Slush is a tech/startup event that is well-known and anticipated both in Finland and abroad. This year, thanks to Lieke, I had the opportunity to attend the event while representing Lieke. However, since I returned to Finland on Wednesday, I missed the video game related Press Start event on Tuesday. The main event was on Thursday and Friday. We had a booth on Thursday, and we arrived to the venue at around 7:30 a.m. We were quite lucky with the location, since we were right next to the aisle, and had a steady stream of people visiting our booth until at around 6 p.m.

Personally, I think that events like Slush offer startups good opportunities to get out there, even without a clear goal. Conversations with visitors and other professionals can result in interesting and unanticipated realisations, or even partnerships and investments. As the website states, Slush is a student-driven, not-for-profit movement. Accordingly, I was happy to see tons of young volunteers, who will surely appreciate the experience. Anyways, since I had Friday for myself, I had plenty of time to roam around freely and experience the event from a visitor’s perspective.

Slush vs. Web Summit

Earlier in November, I had the opportunity to represent Doppio Games at Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. To be honest, I hadn’t heard about Web Summit before the event. I was even more surprised to hear that Web Summit is the bigger event. While Slush 2019 in Helsinki had around 25 000 attendees, Web Summit 2019 had around 70 000 attendees. Also, Web Summit had four days of scheduled program while Slush ran for two days. Anyways, I promised to give my friends back in Portugal a brief comparison of the two events, so let’s see what I can do.

Regarding the venues, Slush comprised most of the Messukeskus convention centre, which is located in Pasila, Helsinki. At Web Summit, you first had to walk through the four big halls of the Feira Internacional de Lisboa convention centre before arriving in front of Altice Arena, which housed the main stage. While Messukeskus is way bigger than any of FIL’s individual halls, together with Altice Arena there appeared to be more floor space in use at Web Summit. Personally, I liked how Web summit was divided into separate halls, which made the space feel well used and organised.

In Finland, November is cold, windy, and grey, and Slush makes sure to be the first to call this out in their marketing. Indeed, after returning to Finland, I had to blink my eyes to make sure I hadn’t lost my colour vision! Web Summit had a cool mobile app, but the web application of Slush felt a little clunky and unfocused. Anyways, as a Finnish person, I’m glad we have an event like Slush. I also think that the festival mentality (I feel Web Summit was a little more serious, though they also had some night events) of Slush provides a nice boost of energy at this time of the year.