Slush Asia 2015 review

Since I have been living in Japan and working in the startup community with creww, I have been attending quite a lot of events and meetups. Be it conference, startup pitches or networking events, Tokyo is alive!

But last April, I was at Slush Asia, and I really wanted to write about it because it was remarkable in so many ways.

What is Slush?

Slush is a new type of tech conference, started in Helsinki, Finland, with the philosophy to help the next generation of great, world-conquering companies forward.

Slush Asia

Joshua Slayton, CTO at AngelList and Cheryl Yeoh, CEO Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC)

Great speakers are invited to give talks about their entrepreneurial adventures, debate and discuss about what it takes to get things done. They give their personal recommendations, some of them even confess on stage that they failed, sometimes, many times, in front of cheering and enthusiastic future great leaders. The format is really close to TED, the audience is there, the time is limited but the presentations are well-prepared and fun, with the goal to inspire the crowd, or make it think.

Some startups are also selected/invited to pitch and demo. Throughout the day, a jury is evaluating them in another accessible dome and the finalists are getting on the main stage during the last session to pitch and receive a prize.

Concept Bike

Just a regular concept bike…

The organization is impeccable but at the same time very casual. It’s totally possible to meet and chat with the speakers on-site, no matter their title. It is also possible to grab a beer with the top VC and CEO around, if you find the courage to approach them.

Soichiro Takashima, current Mayor of Fukuoka, in the middle

Soichiro Takashima, current Mayor of Fukuoka, in the middle

So what made it so great?

Slush is organized by a non-profit community and therefore attracting great volunteers.
The staff at this event, though too numerous like in any typical Japanese event, was motivated, smiling and young. Lots of people were also bilingual. The Finnish way of doing things definitely brought some relaxed atmosphere in the over-polite Japan.

The fast-paced presentations happening in two domes were constantly getting and renewing the audience’s attention, with various topics and a great selection of speakers.

A few details in my opinion made these speakers really human and friendly, far from cold success cash machines. Here are some of these details:

Tomoko Namba, Founder of DeNA, one of Japan's mobile megacorp

Tomoko Namba, Founder of DeNA, one of Japan’s mobile megacorp in 15 years (huhu, “January”)

Dave McCLure, founding partner of 500 Startups, and Tourette syndrom borderline

Crazy Dave McCLure, founding partner of 500 Startups, and Tourette syndrome borderline

Linda Liukas, mastermind behind Hello Ruby, with an amazing way to communicate programming

Linda Liukas, mastermind behind Hello Ruby, an amazing way to communicate her passion about programming

Slush is expending all over the world now, if you are around one of these conferences, be sure to grab a ticket, it’s totally worth it.

— Proofread by J.L. Sougné

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About Fab

Solutions Architect, I build great workflows for the news, media and broadcast industries. I play with data too.

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