On May 16, 2018 DevTalks gathered over 1,200 developers and IT professionals and over 60 international and local speakers in Cluj, Romania. Over the course of one day, attendees and speakers discussed DevOps, Java, Product Technologies, Web, Mobile, Cloud, Big Data, Automotive, and more.
One of our Softvisioners from our QA Community, Petru Andrei Haragus, took the opportunity to attend the conference, where he discovered some new tech and tips. Read on for Petru’s top takeaways from some of the sessions at the 2018 conference.
“Startup 101: Lesson 1 ‘The Hardcore Reality’” with Adrian Silimon-Morariu
This was, first of all, very impressive because it was easier to relate to. Unlike the very successful startup people out there, which also held talks, and which have a long stream of successes, Adrian worked for a startup that had a very rough road and, of course, a lot to learn from. I was surprised to learn that most of the mistakes they made could have been avoided by things we take for granted. For example, at some point they hired an external contractor company to help with a part of the project and, instead of periodically working with them to check progress in an agile manner, they only found out after six months that the work is not ready.
“Product Management – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” with Cristian Orasanu, Robert Knapp, Sergiu Negut, and Tudor Iliescu
That does mean, of course, that the really successful startup managers out there did not have useful knowledge to share for us, too. This talk made me realize how important thinking outside the box (outside the individual roles and technologies we each have within a team), trying to understand the overall purpose of the product, trying to view things from the customer’s perspective, or understanding the goals of the client we are working for all are. Regardless if you are managing a startup or working for one, be it QA, developer, business analyst or project manager, understanding why things are done and the end goal will help make your work better, and you more useful to the team.
“Venture Capital 101” with Philipp Stangl
This was very interesting for me, because I’d have never thought to hear the point of view of someone from a Venture Capital company, who actually is on the side that decides what projects/startups to fund and invest in, as well as the criteria they base their decision upon. As IT engineers, we often think of ourselves on the other side of the barricade, the side that tries to sell a product (yes, even as an outsourcing company we always try to sell something), but seeing the other point of view. Thinking about the other side, the side that decides whether or not to invest in your product, really gave me perspective. They are basically gambling if your product would be a success (although “gambling” may be a bit extreme, so let’s call it an “educated guess”).
This session also revealed tips and tricks on how to get funds, which was indeed useful, even for someone not intent on beginning a startup. Some of the many tips and tricks include:
- Make the investors see that you are passionate about the product itself, and not the technology used
- Make them see you understand the market, and whether or not it’s saturated
- Make them see you have a cross functional team, not just technical people
- Also keep the next steps of the project in mind (next rounds of funding); if you commited too big of a share from your company away, other founders will not want to buy in
- Make sure the stakeholder is aware of your progress, as you manage to stick to your commitments, at each step
- And my personal favorite, make them afraid that they might miss the one-in-a-hundred unicorn that ends up on their table for funding; at the end of the day, theirs is also just a job, and rejecting ONE startup like Facebook might hurt them much more than funding 99 projects that end in a failure
There were many other talks I enjoyed, with many different topics, be it about the age of communication and AI, or empowering the young millennials at the workplace, they all brought me, personally, to the same conclusion. The more we try to see the big picture the more you think about not only your daily routine, but also about why things are done, the better engineers we become.