#SwitchConf Day 1

Posted by – 17/05/2010

This weekend I’ve been in beautiful Coimbra to attend to Switch Conference.

As usual, the conference engine started with the organizer speech.
Ricardo told the audience that ‘networking is the key to connecting to people’ and that connections can solve real life problems, such as the ones he had with speakers dropouts.

The 1st day of the conference was filled with 4 panels, We live in science, Web today by Active Media, Entrepreneurship always rule and World out there.

We live in Science Panel

José Pereira Leal & Mónica Bettencourt Dias

José talked about how bio informatics is used for curing deceases and saving the economy.

Human genome is made of letters, which are organized as a big electric circuit.
BBI (before bio informatics) it took more than 10 years to start gathering interesting information from the human genome. ABI (after BI), a single machine can decode all the human genome in less than 2 day.

Monica talked about cell proliferation and how it’s based on pre-determined models. Many deceases, such as cancer, appear from an error in cell proliferation.

On the Q&A was discussed the payment of scientist with tax money and what’s the public opinion about it.

Web today by Active Media

Hugo Almeida

Hugo talked about his passion, 3d virtual worlds.

He presented some projects he worked in Second Life and gave us a backstage view of creating a video in a fully 3d world, working with people all around the world.

Check this cool video:

Quoting Hugo,

“Our past should inspire our present and future!”

Stephanie Booth

Stephanie Talked about being your own boss by freelancing.

Her presentation was divided in 5 themes:


  • Be social on web, and participate in events. Market yourself;
  • Network for people, meet them and then a business can start out of it;

Time and organization – Have a system, divide carefully your time between making things happen and management;

Making money

  • Be expensive! You are good so charge the right price;
  • Always ask for advances, you don’t want to be caught on a bad situation;
  • Have different prices for each client and never charge for time, but for value added to the client;

Managing clients

  • Manage clients, you are the boss not your clients;
  • Weed out difficult clients, you don’t need them;

Staying sane

  • Learn to say no, that’s a requirement;
  • Have friends and/or buddies around you;
  • Enjoy evenings, weekends and take holidays.

Luis Monteiro

Luis is a very energetic and funny guy. He told the audience the story of how he won the contest which took him to Antarctic for 15 days and how much effort and sweat that took him to win it.

He and his friends built from ground up a custom dashboard with information from the contest to track all the votes. With this data, he find out which were the best ways to have more votes

The main highlight of the talk was: You need to enjoy the road to your dream and know how to feel fulfilled when you realize it.

Entrepreneurship always rule

Celso Martinho – Entrepreneurship – a frogs perspective

Celso started giving the “frog’s” history perspective.

He talked about Sapo growth, how they still focus on open source, how they try to challenge their workers (staying with the startup feeling) and how they expand their ‘territory’ and keep close to the talented ones.

Celso ended giving 5 tips for entrepreneurship:

  • Hard work;
  • Passion (not obsession);
  • Persistence;
  • Excellence(don’t settle for the average);
  • Irreverence.

Fred Oliveira

Fred, as always, made a great & sarcastic presentation.

We started by warning everyone to not become an entrepreneur.

For him, entrepreneurs are stupid because

  1. Your brain will fry
  2. Your clock will became obsolente
  3. Your wallet will became empty
  4. Your social life will be compared to that of a carrot

But they have motivation:

  1. They work for themselves
  2. They work on ‘new ideas’
  3. They fix ‘real problems’ (real for them)
  4. They enjoy failure.WTF!

But in the end, Fred says that it’s a fact that people like that change the world, and they are happy.

Quoting Fred:

“Go make something special”

Robert Boogard

Robert is the CEO of AdVENTURE, a business angel investor. He gave some advice based on his experience working with entrepreneurs:

  • Entrepreneurship is not for everyone, it’s a very uncertain life;
  • One of the best way to finance your entrepreneurship is your job (I really was amazed by this!);
    The more money you ask, the more they will take from you and your company;
  • VC usually don’t finance early stage companies;
    Find the right investor, chose one that has the same interests as you and feels the same way;
  • Show passion about your business;
  • Be yourself.

Loic Le Meur

Loic is the founder of Seesmic and showed himself through Skype video.

He stated same good n’old entrepreneurship guidelines:

  • Stop thinking and do something;
  • Start doing for fun and let it grow;
  • Allow the idea to change;
  • Allow the user group to help grow the idea;
  • Share your idea and not keep it for yourself;
  • Ship a product, ask for feedback and pay attention to it;
  • Respond to feedback faster than you actualy can.

Honestly, i was expecting something more from him.

World out there

Paulo Querido

Paulo’s talk had 2 main themes, the history of  journalism tools and how journalists adapt to new technologies over time, and then he made a showcase of some site/blogs that are changing the paradigm of journalism with basically no costs and using user generated content.

Jorge Sequeira

Jorge is a funny guy and gave an excellent talk about self confidence and not giving up.

His talk was a mix of fun and ugly truth. I’ll leave here some of the highlights:

  • Entrepreneurship = envolvement + commitment;
  • Too much mainstreem is bad for you, be yourself and you’ll live a good life;
  • Portuguese people need a Yes we can thinking;
  • You need to break your psychological barriers, face your fears and get over them. Fear is a mind state;
  • Errors will come, you just need to look at them with a smile on your face;
  • We should dream more about success, it’s good for mental health;
  • Some people die with an unused head

Day 2 will come tomorrow :) stay tuned!

1 Comment on #SwitchConf Day 1

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by planetgeek, Pedro Santos. Pedro Santos said: New post on blog: #SwitchConf Day 1 http://blog.pedromfs.com/2010/05/switchconf-day-1.html [...]

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