Why you should go to HybridConf at least once before you turn 30

Logo of HybridConfHybridConf, (or simply Hybrid) is a conference focused on design, tech and business, organized annually by Zach Inglis and Laura Sanders. Hybrid takes place in a different place every year — in 2013 it was Cardiff, in 2014 — Stockholm and this year — Dublin. It is an unique conference: Hybrids’ mission is to inspire young generation of entrepreneurs with interesting stories and case studies, more than technical excellence and tips on workshop techniques.

You might not learn how to refactor your Sass code in 3 short steps, but you will learn how to make a viral rap video for your Kickstarter campaign that will definitely help you succeed!

The whole point of the conference is to create a warm, inclusive atmosphere where ideas can flow freely. All of this companied by a bowling tournament and an afterparty with MailChimp-sponsored, free Guinness.

Talks

You will hear numerous talks during each Hybrid. This year we could listen to Allison House talking about learning 3D in a couple of weeks to create a music video, or Ayanna Howard sharing stories about creating prosthetics and robots to make people’s lives easier. Each and every one of them gets you inspired to do something new. You will see that unique ideas are usually the ones that are worth devoting your life for.

My favorite talks this year:

Des Traynor (@destraynor)

“No one ever decided: ‘Let’s build a bloat piece of crap.”

Des showed us a few examples of how small teams with an extraordinary idea can transform entire systems. He used a example of WhatsApp which revolutionized the global SMS system, destroying a source of income for mobile companies, with a very small, focused team. He emphasized that we should prioritize user experience over other features of the product we sell. 

My favorite quote from Des’ talk:

“Yesterday’s decisions aren’t just yesterday. The mistakes you don’t fix are the ones you repeat every single day”.

Meg Lewis (@darngooood)

Meg lives in Brooklyn and runs a small design studio that only works with companies enthusiastic about finding new paths rather than repeating the scheme. Her talk was focused on how being yourself can help you find clients that are worth working with and improve your life.

Karolina Szczur (@fox)

She gave a strong talk on how most people misunderstand leadership and tech. Most of people underestimate psychological perspective of technology.  They focus on trying to get more numbers of working women, of working minorities etc. rather than creating an environment that’s inviting and supportive.

Worth remembering:

If you want to be a strong leader: never abuse power. Enforce behavioral norms and learn non-violent communication”.

Keavy McMinn (@keavy)

Keavy, who gained her experience at Github, gave a great talk on feedback. Receiving critique on your work is something that’s usually hard to handle, as ego plays a huge role when your performance is judged by people. We should distance ourselves from it, and remember that our work can only get better through constant feedback coming from the other people. During her talk, Keavy also presented 3 aspects we should focus on while receiving feedback: who asking you asking for it, why are you asking for it and what do you want your feedback  to affect specifically . It can make the information you receive more efficient!

Allison House (@house)

Allison House, formerly of Dropbox, is now a freelance designer living in Austin, TX. She gave an amazing talk on how important it is to experiment and build things you actually care about. A couple of great points from her talk:

  • productivity is the pulse of your creativity
  • if you don’t know what you’re looking for, go wide, find what you love and then go deep
  • train like a monk — produce a lot of work, through regular practice
  • move fast, break stuff and share work in progress with others
  • ideal practice should be chained to something you’re already doing and achievable in one session

Colin Harmon (@dublinbarista)

Colin is the owner of Third Floor Espresso (3FE), a café in Dublin, who won Irish Barista Championship. His talk, titled “We are all marketing scum”, concentrated on how to do marketing the humane way. He pointed out that branding might be the key: nowadays when people think about it they see consulting agencies that create marketing campaigns that cost huge amount of money and bring no results. He also gave a bunch of useful tips on branding and marketing for small companies, that can be easily implemented into everyday routine.

 „In the end, marketing is about trusting people and spreading the word, so make sure your product is great before you try to market it”

Everything else

Hybrid is also known for great food, unforgettable parties and other amazing things happening during the conference, example — there’s a bowling tournament for the speakers and attendees with prizes to win, every year! This year’s highlight was the 99-cent ice cream truck that arrived during one of the breaks!

So if you want to get inspired, meet new people with unique ideas for business, share your good practices and party with a style – Hybrid is the place for you!

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