#notAfraid – DIGIT.EMEA, Istanbul experience

Uncharacteristic but this post will be more philosophical and opinionated (apologies in advance).

The attacks in Paris were tragic. What was worse was that we let “them” succeed! What better success for terrorism if it affects your daily life. And what better response if we continue our life undeterred. Of course, it’s difficult (sometimes even unimaginable) but we have to try.

DIGIT.EMEA was in Istanbul on the 18th and 19th Nov. I was looking forward to the large audience and I was surprised at the turnout – it seemed very less. The main stage was beautiful but was not filled up enough. My doubts were confirmed when Plamen spoke about the plethora of cancellations in the last few day due to the Paris attacks. What the …

The conference was really well organised and the speakers were treated like royalty. The food was exquisite and Istanbul was a lot of fun. There were quite a few startups showcasing their products and the hotel itself (The Marriot) was really nice. The Turkish Kahwa (tea) was amazing along with the variety of food. There was not a shred of fear on the streets and the city was calm and tourism was at it’s usual best. I did not spot any heavy-duty security on the roads and the traffic jam in the city did not make me miss the traffic in India.

The talks had a nice mix of digital marketing, inspiration and the new trends. My talk was in the afternoon on the first day and I spoke about Affordable Smart Housing which is marriage of Smart Connected Devices with Affordable Housing. The talk did not have as many people attending as I had expected but it was very well conducted and I was really happy with it. It’s a disruptive idea and was very well received.

The evening on the first day touted the famous Webit Bosphorous Dinner Cruise and it was awesome! The local musicians, belly dance and an exquisite spread of Turkish cuisine for 2 hours was intoxicating. And the party at the man-made island (Sauda) was amazing and going late into the night.

Well, all said and done, those who missed this conference did miss out indeed. Those who missed this conference citing security reasons should regret missing out. This tweet from Plamen says it all. #notAfraid.

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Update: Here is the video of my talk.

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About Gautam Rege

Rubyist, Entrepreneur and co-founder of Josh-Software - one of the leading Ruby development shops in India.
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