DISCLAIMER: Since this article might be offensive to highly sensitive people, we want to emphasize that it is written purely out of love; for our colleagues in the Danish tech industry and the people in TechBBQ who is doing a tremendous job. See you next year!
TechBBQ is the only place in the world where you can enjoy the smell of crispy pork rinds while doing an elevator pitch. The conference is in itself a great place to engage in interesting discussions, gain inspiration from colleagues, and spy on competitors. Furthermore, it is a great opportunity to celebrate all the Danish tech-companies that are doing an awesome job and deserves all the attention they can get.
Sometimes, it also feels like an annual reunion party for the Copenhagen-based tech-startup community. Here, the preferred social model is networking which also includes the usual pretending-to-be-interested facial expressions and the I’ll-scratch-yours-if-you-scratch-mine conversations. You rarely meet someone you have not met before, but now and then struggle to remember who they are. Luckily, their name is written on their tickets. (And if not, you found out who they were five minutes after the conversation ended when they added you on LinkedIn.)
Nevertheless, we had two awesome days, showcasing our product and meeting many interesting people. We got the chance to present ourselves at the TechTalent event and we even participated in the Pitching Contest. Our CPO did a brave job but was up against a salesman (Congrats to Likvido!) and some guys with a cute robot. Too bad, but our time was by no means wasted as we learned some important lessons about the industry. May we present 4 of them in this humble blog post?
TechBBQ is (unfortunately) a sausage-party
No, we are not referring to the number of grilled frankfurters consumed in the cobblestone yard outside. Besides football games, TechBBQ is one of the only events in Copenhagen where the queue to the men’s toilet surpasses the one to the women’s toilet. Women are heavily under-represented in tech these days, and the lack of diversity might be causing damage to the industry. One of the only places on TechBBQ where women were a majority was at a social impact event on the main stage. Awareness of social impact is just what the tech industry needs to avoid the tech-lash and prevent the bad reputation that Facebook-scandals have caused. It seems that women might be just what the industry needs.
Some things can’t be disrupted
Robots, 3D-printers and fancy pants AI-technology is all good but some things just can’t be disrupted. Did you notice that the most hyped person at the TechBBQ was the Crown Prince of Denmark and not some CEO from Silicon Valley? Also, there is nothing like a good old coal grill when you are preparing your pork. At least, that was pretty evident from the queues at the food area. With nature as this years theme, it seems that TechBBQ might even have predicted it. Maybe there is a lesson to learn from this. It could be, that we should spend a little more attention on making our digital products more tangible, sensuous and eco-friendly.
Legal tech was missing
If TechBBQ is in anyway representable of the Danish tech market, then there is a huge gap to close of the legal industry. There was only one legal tech event at the festival (a really interesting one featuring the American company Atrium) and we felt like we were the only legal tech company present at the festival. There are two ways to interpret this: either it proves the unfulfilled potential for legal tech, or else the legal industry prefers to have its own events. We had super good experiences at an event with Danske Advokater last week, and we are super excited to sponsor a great legal tech event in November (News to come!!!). The conclusion is nevertheless that we missed the rest of the industry.
Enough with the bullshit-bingo
“What did you expect? It is the tech industry. And didn’t you also claim that your contracts are supersonic?” Yes, we did. We are not saints but sometimes it seems that you can’t even plug two cables to a screen without calling it automated. AI and machine learning are becoming such overhyped buzzwords that some companies tend to use it without having the slightest idea of what they are talking about. Here is the thing, some people are still afraid to store documents in the cloud, so you might actually be scaring people away with all your fancy (but meaningless) words. And while we are at it… Aarhus will not become awesome before they stop using the phrase “Aarsome” – it’s almost as bad as calling yourself “Danish for Progress”.
Anyhow, thanks for all the fun! We hope to see you all at TechBQQ 2019 where we expect there to be a separate area for Legal Tech, plenty of crispy pork and at least a few more women. We probably won’t get rid of the bullshit but we will live with that!