Infoshare has grown from a small event held at a university hall to a year-round celebration of technology. What factors do you think contributed to this growth, and what are the key milestones in Infoshare’s journey?
From the very start, the Infoshare conference was based on two factors – high-quality content and a vast networking space. We did not focus on making money or growing the event at all costs. We simply wanted to create an event that would be useful to our community, and we continue to focus on that.
One of the most pivotal moments in Infoshare’s history was when I resigned from my then full-time job in 2014 and focused 100% of my attention on organizing the event. Another significant milestone was the 2019 edition of the conference when we reached 6,000 attendees. Of course, the pandemic had taken its toll on every business, but we were very excited to hold an in-person event in 2021 and reach pre-pandemic attendance numbers again in 2022.
Going from a small after-hours event for the local community to reaching the level of a major conference with many smaller events throughout the year was no easy task, and I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved so far.
Networking is a significant aspect of Infoshare events. What strategies do you employ to facilitate connections between people, startups, and companies, and how do you ensure a comfortable environment for networking?
All of our events indeed have a networking part so that our community can grow stronger together, yet the Infoshare conference puts the strongest emphasis on networking.
A very sought-after element of the event is Matchmaking. This is the most organized form of networking at the conference. Using a dedicated online tool, attendees can search for each other, learn key information about each other, set up a meeting, and start business conversations. It is worth mentioning that last year we hosted 1505 Matchmaking meetings.
We also offer six side events that allow participants to network in a more casual atmosphere. One example is the Investor Meetup – an event exclusively for VCs, CVCs, and Business Angels. We also offer the Sunset Leaders’ Boat Trip – a cruise around the Tricity area for investors, executives, speakers, and special guests. Another side event, enjoying the highest number of participants, is the Great Networking Event with a concert by a popular Polish band.
The values of Infoshare, such as care, integrity, respect, professionalism, and inspiration, are central to your organization. Can you provide examples of how these values have shaped the conferences and projects that you organize?
Each of these values has two aspects: internal and external. The internal one tells how, based on the values, we want to build a strong organizational culture – e.g. we care about one another, respect each other, are professional in everything we do, etc. The external shows how we want to interact with people outside the company, how we want to work with partners, take care of customers, etc. And so, for example, integrity means that we always deliver what we promise.
Let me give you an example of that. Due to a communication error (who doesn’t make them?), last year one of our partner’s ice cream, which they intended to distribute on the second day at the venue, melted. Simply put, the venue operator turned off the electricity during the night 🙁 We took responsibility and covered the costs the partner incurred.
When we don’t deliver, we acknowledge the mistake and rectify it. For any partnership, we take a long-term perspective. And it really works! Thanks to these relationships and thus the trust of partners, among other things, we were able to survive the pandemic with events in the online format.
In general, thanks to caring for the customer (Care), delivering what is promised (Integrity), respect for each person and their point of view (Respect), a professional approach to the customer in every aspect (Professionalism), and inspiring them to act, to change (Inspiration), we feel that we deliver true value to the community. And that, after all, is what matters the most.
Infoshare organizes multiple events and projects, such as the annual Infoshare conference, Infoshare F3, Tech3camp, and Infoshare artificial intelligence meetups. How do you maintain consistency in quality and values across these different events?
I am very proud to have built a team of people who trust and support each other. Working in such a team characterized by a strong organizational culture based on the previously mentioned values, we are able to provide high quality to everything we do, whether it’s a meetup for 100 people or a conference for 7,000 😉
Your conferences and meetups attract thousands of participants from various backgrounds. How do you ensure that your events remain inclusive and welcoming to people from different industries, cultures, and levels of expertise?
We deeply appreciate our diverse audience. We believe that it is at the crossroads of these backgrounds that we can find ideas that we would likely never come up with alone.
We are aware of the various requirements of our attendees and try to address them. For example, keeping in mind those who are less well-off, we offer special free-of-charge (or heavily discounted) admission tickets to our events. We also try to keep women present in the discussion on our stages and send out hundreds of invitations each year. Moreover, we try to promote technologies that support people with disabilities and disorders (deafness, deaf-mutism, autism spectrum disorder, etc.).
What future plans or goals do you have for Infoshare, and how do you intend to keep evolving and adapting to the changing landscape of the tech industry?
During the pandemic, I realized that the high-quality content of our events and projects is very important, but the opportunity to meet other people in the industry, exchange experiences face to face, to build relationships, is even more important. And this is the aspect we want to explore further by creating a platform for the Infoshare community.
We aspire to allow the various professional groups of our community to be able to be in touch with each other not only during our events but also beyond them. We plan to create a space where this real value coming from Infoshare will be significantly more.
But for now, please feel invited to join our community and come to Gdansk on May 24-25 for Infoshare 2023!