The MCA, TakeOff and myself have been working together to develop Malta’s biggest digital business conference called ZEST. An event looking to attract 500 people, over two days, with two stages (one focused on startups and the other on the established companies) and a super liner of speakers.
The event’s theme is Breaking Borders. What this refers to is the blurring of lines between industries, professions and countries or regions. The reason why it is so relevant is that the way disruptions are happening in every industry, and the speed at which rules are changing, is causing massive impacts on our definitions. What is a taxi company in 2016? Uber has changed the rules. What is a marketing professional? It is no longer just a creative, but more of a numbers guy, or a highly technical coder. What is Estonia doing with there digital residencies?
With all of this happening in the world, what we wanted to do is bring thought leaders together to discuss the subject in terms of both opportunity and impact. We also wanted to get companies that are actually pushing for this disruption.
That is why we have the CEO of Funderbeam, a company that is looking to merge crowd funding with stock exchange models. Jobbatical that are mixing up where we live and work, Leaf Music that took marketing/lead generation to a new level getting customer acquisition down to just a few cents. We then have thought leaders from Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Gartner, Forbes, Leo Burnett and TechStars. And if that isn’t enough, we even have up and coming local disrupters like HotJar who are the fastest growing analytics company in the world at the moment, having merged multiple tools into one, and slashed prices drastically.
Lastly, we are also bringing in regional perspectives. Yes, we have several European views of the business world, but what about North Africa and the Middle East? We invited Flat6Labs, the regions largest seed fund to share there views.
We also have Jack Cator. Jack is the founder of HideMyAss, which he recently exited to AVG for a (very) healthy sum. Jack founded the business at 16, experienced massive growth and did it using remote teams and outsourcing. A great story and a true inspiration from a very down to earth guy.
What about format, the event is not your typical suit and tie conference either. We wanted it to be as informal as possible. We are setting up a coworking space to allow our freelancers, digital nomads and entrepreneurs to catch up on work while at the event. We are organising a party on the Monday night (27th June) with an open bar, right on the beach. We are making sure that the vibe of the event is as open as possible. We don’t just want business cards to be exchanged but relationships to be built. We of course have a few surprises that should also make this event ‘memorable’!
Price? Well, this event is probably the cheapest conference of the year in Europe. Prices start at EUR 29 for students and EUR 79 for everyone else. This is for a two day event with awesome speakers and a liquid party! :)
All in all, a great event that looks to get many different views together on the island of Malta for two days. A great opportunity to see what the island has to offer, meet a few global movers and shakers, have a drink in the sun, and listen to great speakers talk about the future of business.