Last Friday (6 March 2015) we attended Innoviation Nest SaaS Meetup in Cracow. This was our second SaaS meetup and we were truly amazed this time too.
The meetup was held in a great place called Pauza In Garden just next to Cracow's beautiful old town and concerned people in organization. The venue itself was bigger than the last time making the event much more pleasant than before.
It started with three keynotes - by Ola Pszczoła, Thor Muller and David Bizer. The first one was about hiring process in IT. Ola had a lot of experience, as she was the key person in Netguru growth proccess (they grew twice the size in less than a year). She talked about the recruitment process and how to make it perfect. She stressed the need of making your company mission unique and showing it clearly. Future candidates should enter your office knowing exactly why they want to work here. The second one (Thor Mueller) raised a very important issue of hiring people by character. That part was very important to me, as this is exactly what we do at Visuality and it was nice to hear we intuitively followed the same path as such talented CEO. The third key-note was the most mind-blowing. It was delivered by former Google HR specialist. He made quite a show in american style (although he is not a native yankee) telling the audience about the uttermost importance of company culture. His actual words "make your culture fucking awesome". He noticed that many companies do indeed write about their culture, but it is unbelievably generic (everybody have small teams, foreign clients and pay a lot). Right after that he showed us some truly amazing examples of companies that write about their culture in totally different way (Buffer.io, hubspot, netflix). I will not talk about these examples right now but strongly encourage you to see them for yourself (the company names are clickable) - it is really worth it!
After the three amazing keynotes came the mentoring sessions. We had a great opportunity to talk about our own startup, Magello (online management system for tourism and event companies), with fantastic people, including Adam Komarnicki or Piotr Wilam (both from Innovation Nest).
I must now mention that through the whole time everyone not involved in mentoring session could chat with other attendees, getting to know each other's interests and businesses. And this actually is the point at which it gets exciting. Despite the fact that many of the people knew each other (Cracow startup community is apparently very friendly) we, as kind of outsiders, didn't have any problems with connecting. People were friendly and open to discuss other projects. One of the nicest things i have heard was "Hi, my name is Kamil. Sorry i must go so soon, but please tell me what you do and how I can help you". Can networking get any better than that? I do not think so.
Than came lunch break and the third part of the meetup - open space technology round. It is a technique invented by Harrison Owen allowing people to come up with topics that are later discussed in small groups for 30 minutes. There are three rounds, and each round has five topic slots. A person that proposed the topic must be there for the whole round, but other people can move freely and join any discussion they want. I will not go into further specifics - you can treat it as a homework and read more about it online.
This was the last part of the meetup, but this did not mean we went home - at 9pm we met again in a great pub near the old town to talk more about less work-related stuff.
To sum up - a great event (Krzysztof Kobyłecki - respect for keeping it so well-organised), organised by passionate people that allowed us to learn a lot about ourselves and plan some amazing things for the future.