Techsylvania 2017 - Great people, great content, great city and a really great time. What more could you want from a tech event?

June 26, 2023

Colette Ballou introduced me to Vlad Ciurca, the founder ofTechsylvania, towards the end of last year. Techsylvania is the leadingtechnology event in Eastern Europe, Vlad was looking to add a speaker oncompany culture to his line up and I was happy to oblige. The event took placethis past week in Cluj-Napoca in Romania and I feel compelled to write about itbecause it was such an enjoyable and impressive experience.

Cluj is a stunning city of 350,000 people and has become oneof Romania’s main tech hubs outside of Bucharest. The city is located inTransylvania close to five capitals in Eastern Europe - Belgrade, Budapest,Sofia, Kiev and Bucharest and there are regular daily flights from London Lutonwith Wizz Air and Blue Air. Cluj feels like a student city with lots of bookstores,cool bars and restaurants.

The Techsylvania event has grown to 1500 attendees in 4years and was oversubscribed again this year. The one main difference to otherevents that I experienced as a speaker at Techsylvania was the feeling of beingpart of a really big and caring family. Everyone on the organising team wasincredibly welcoming and well briefed. They went out of their way to make surewe experienced the best of Cluj. We had a wine tasting in the bottom of a saltmine on Sunday night, dinner at a palace turned into an art museum and achocolate and wine tasting at a really cool speak easy private members club onMonday. On Tuesday we had dinner and were taught how to cook a paella by alocal chef. The conference itself, which included a hackathon and a pitch event,was full of really great presentations by the likes of Ralph Simon, ChiefExecutive & Founder of Mobilium Global (The Inventor of the Ringtone),Tobias Jaeger, Managing Partner at Axiom Capital, Josef Dunne Founder of Champion Prints 3D and Jerry Kennelly theChairman & CEO of Riverbed Technology and was book ended by two fascinating presentations. The openingkey note by Martin Wezowski Chief Designer at SAP left us empowered to think aboutthe future that we can design for ourselves, instead of worrying about machinesreplacing most jobs, and Newton Howard Professor at Oxford and Director of the MITSynthetic Intelligence Lab closed the conference with a mind-blowing presentationon the computer brain interface.

I had some fascinating company culture conversationsthroughout the three days, including with the MC for the event Philipp Kandalwho sold his Cluj-based business to Telenav. I am hoping to set up an interviewwith Philipp in the coming weeks to get a deeper understanding of how the post-acquisitionculture integration went. Sal Dhanani the Co-Founder and Co-President ofTelenav and I had a great chat about how important culture is for a business, “It’severything!” as he succinctly put it.

Vlad Ciurca and his team ran an excellent event in Cluj. Iwould recommend, if you get a chance, to attend the 2018 edition. Great people,great content, great city and a really great time. What more could you wantfrom a tech event?

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