“First milestone achieved!” – Interview with the organizers of droidcon GreeceOctober 13, 2015
Shortly after droidcon Greece Andreas Gebhard asked the organizers Eliza Camberogiannis and Panayotis Tzinis about their experiences. They talked about organizing a droidcon, their struggles and achievements as well as about their plans for the future.
First of all: How did you get to know droidcon and when and how did you come up with the idea to organize a droidcon in Thessaloniki?
Panayotis Tzinis: During our 3 years of operations with the local GDG, we came across a few people that attended or even presented at droidcons around the world. I began to look for a possibility to host a droidcon here in Greece. In May we finally had the feeling: The market as well as Thessaloniki is ready for droidcon.
Eliza Camberogiannis: Until then there was no conference here dedicated to Android, so when Panayotis showed me some amazing photos from droidcon London we both agreed that this should be the next thing to bring to Greece.
Organizing an event for the first time is never easy: What were the biggest struggles you had to overcome in order to plan droidcon Greece?
EC: We faced lots of struggles during the preparation, but I think that most of them had to do with two basic problems: First of all, the unstable economic and political situation of Greece which led to a lack of resources and difficulties to even come close to companies, media, or other public or private organizations.
Another problem for me was that I’ve not attended other tech conferences of this size before, so there were some tricky situations for me.
PT: Our biggest struggle – as Eliza has already pointed out – were the unexpected economic problems that had arisen after our government called for a referendum on July 5. Which meant all banks were closed and capital control came into action: We still can only, withdraw up to 60€ cash per day from our bank accounts. That lead all our possible sponsors to delay their answers for supporting us.
Can you put your personal highlight of droidcon Greece in a tweet?
PT: droidcon created an environment that can be transformed easily into a sustainable ecosystem of humans with a common vision, creativity & development.
EC: You can’t describe it if you haven’t seen it. @droidconGR was an amazing experience! A proof that fun and knowledge are a perfect match!
What would you give out as a brief PR statement?
PT: droidcon brought top international developers and entrepreneurs for five blasting days to Thessaloniki, Greece. One more step towards reaching our vision: transforming the city in an international tech-hub and attracting top-notch key players from around the world.
EC: First milestone achieved! droidcon Greece kicked off and it was a success! We managed to create the right environment and brought together the right people.
What was the best part of your event and what do you want to improve in the future?
EC: The community spirit and the activities we organized for the speakers are elements I really liked! They all had a good time and enjoyed each others company and that spread into the audience too! The energy and the atmosphere is something everyone will remember.
Next time we want to offer some more parallel activities around droidcon, like a show at the planetarium, or exhibitions, so that people have something interesting to do outside of the halls and get their batteries recharged during the breaks.
Also, we realized that the Android community here is still building up. Next time we’ll have more beginner-friendly sessions for those, who want to get started with developing for Android.
PT: From my side, I’d also like to highlight the atmosphere we created, the pool of enthusiast developers, and companies that attended the first droidcon and remained satisfied. Everybody felt at home, and this is important for us, as we tried very hard to make droidcon a community event, and not a “company” event.
But we can still improve a lot and we have already had an after-math meeting with all the team putting down a list of things to improve. But now that the first droidcon Greece kicked off, the market knows about our potential and it is going to be easier to find partners and supporters. The peak though, is high as our first droidcon exceeded expectations – but I’m sure we’ll make it!
What are your future plans for droidcon and yourselves?
EC: To put it short, next year’s goal will be to exceed everyone’s expectations, again! There are a few ideas and plans we want to follow: We discussed having some droidcon workshops during the year to keep the community together and interested. Another important goal is to increase the number of female devs.
I personally want to attend as many other conferences as possible to gather inspiration and to get an overall feeling and picture. In addition, I’ll continue my studies on Android and hope to be able to give a talk or a workshop in the future myself.
PT: I would like to see more supporters and exhibitors at the next droidcon in order to have even more interactivity within attendees and speakers, organizers and local players. The goal is to make droidcon Greece a point of reference for the South Eastern Europe and attracting more people each and every year. 45% of our speakers this year came from Turkey, which means that there is a general interest in our neighbouring countries.
About myself, well I’m thinking of continuing to surprise Greece by always bringing fresh and “crazy” events to the city. My ultimate objective is to create a tech-hub by mingling different communities to join forces for a better future. I’m still believing that Greece has tremendous unleashed potentialities it is just a matter of time and patience. But I can see developments in Greek mentality, step by step and we can make the difference as we did back when Aristotle was around.
droidcon is a global developer conference series and a network focusing on the best of Android. Find an overview of our 2015' events here [pdf].
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