Bulgaria Web Summit 2017. A 2-day event about technologies and fun.

We are preparing our next release, in April, I thought it could be useful to give you a preview on what’s coming.

2 instead of 1

We will have 2 conference days, instead of just one. On the first day (April 7) we will be focusing on topics such as Privacy, User Experience (#UX), creating of user interfaces (UI), CSS, Design and similar.

Our first day speakers include Aral Balkan, Harry Roberts (aka CssWizardly) and Lara Hanlon from IBM Design.

On the second day we will go deeper into some programming techniques, mainly but not limited to javascript. Our speaker list for the second day includes: Google’s Tim Messerschmidt, Sebastian Witalec of Progress and Krasimir Tsonev – author of a couple of very handy Node.js books.

Affordable price

Unlike similar events across Europe, BWS is mostly organized for the benefit of the community and we are trying to keep the prices as low as possible; to give easy access to technology and ideas to many people without compromising the quality. Yes, it’s possible.

Fun

Having fun is always a must at our events! :) Our legendary after-conference party will be held again, our espresso bar will serve the greatest coffee possible and our team be on your disposal to give you a warm welcome. Also you can enjoy the great city of Sofia while learning something new at our event.

430 – This is Sparta..oops, not really :)

This year we will have just 430 spots available, compared to the 810 we had the last time. So if you want to book a place – we have opened the pre-registration for you. Visit the Bulgaria Web Summit website and click the button – start a great journey together with us.

Voice navigation – bringing your app to the next level?

This morning I was surprised by Google Drive. They offered me to use voice for some basic commands, instead of selecting them or using a shortcut (in my case).

A few months ago I created an experiment by combining the shiny SoHo Interface with a few good working opensource javascript implementations for voice and gesture to control the interface.

I knew that some companies were experimenting with it but maybe because I was too busy with other projects and day-to-day routines I hadn’t realized that the time for it has come. 

I am sure that the experiment by Google (seems useless from user point of view) will evolve into something more usable and can save a lot of time to the end-user.

 

Pros:

  • It’s fun – you can shout commands to your website and it will respond with an action.
  • Sometimes you can do something useful – like control your HTML5  game or even login to your favorite website.
  • Brings apps to people that can’t write (yet), but can talk – this is something huge.
  • Widens the horizon of the developers and companies – think about one more usability and User Experience layer
  • It is super exciting and it evolves well.

 

Cons:

  • There are some technological ones, but I don’t want to be a hater this time :) Yay!
  • The other one is what happens with all of the data collected by the mic? Some of the devices are known for listening all the time for the our precious voice. Should we start ripping batteries off from our laptops and tablets like we do for our mobile phones?

 

How to get started?

See my demo here – there is a video  for voice and gesture controlled UI. This is how a modern app should look like – you can use your voice, but also to listen to the voice answer sent back to you and if you feel like moving things around – use your webcam to do it..

 

More links:

 

  • I am using Annyang for the voice commands 
  • Gest.JS for the gestures
  • and this JS library to interact with the GoogleTTs engine 

What is the future?

Bright – pretty soon we’ll be seeing more and more startups combining the Voice with the millions of the APIs that exists to build even interfaceless applications that will work well at the beginning and then will replace most of those apps we use these days.

 

What do you think?

 

Why is Bulgaria Web Summit 2015 so different from any other event?

When I talk to sponsors and even to friends about the Summit, they always ask me what makes our event different.

So here’s the secret:

We started this event 11 years ago (under a different name) as an effort to create something amazing and affordable for IT guys in Bulgaria. At the same time we never compromise with quality. The main purpose of the event is for our attendees to learn new things, which they can apply in their work on the very next day and to return the “investment” they have made in the conference.

Speakers

In most of the conferences I’ve been in Europe, well-trained company folks talk about their success at Fakebook or Playpal and how to clone it to your company – This doesn’t work and you will not see it at our event and in the same time you have to spend tons of money just to listen to the guy.

In the most conferences I’ve been in Europe, well-respected gurus talk about some programming art – they do that all the time, they just talk, they don’t code anymore – You will not see this at our event – We invite only professionals and they share their experience with you and on the next day, they will not depart for another event, but they will go back to do the thing they do the best.

We have had amazing speakers over the years. Some of them became friends of the event and they can come again and again, even without paying them a dime. We build relationships with our speakers, because we are Balkan people and this is what we do.

Many people still remember Monty’s Black Vodka, Richard Stallman‘s socks and many other stories that must be kept secret :)

 

The audience

We do have the best audience ever! I mean it. We have people that haven’t missed an event since 2004. They are honest and if you screw up they will tell you and they will give you kudos if you do something amazing. In most of the years, the tickets are sold months before the event, even without a schedule and even without the speakers yet known, because we proved the event is good.

We have people who met at our event and got married, we have people who met at our event and started business together, we have companies that hired great professionals because of our events; we have kicked off many careers by showing the people great technologies and ways to use them.

 

The money

Of course it’s not all about money. We do need them to make the event great, but our main goal is not to make money out of it. As you can see the entrance fee is low – for the same event in Europe (same speakers) you would have to pay 5-10 times more. We realize that we live in a different country and the conditions are different, but we are trying to find a way to keep the fee low and at the same time to still keep up the quality of the talks and emotions. We can achieve this only thanks to our sponsors. Thank you, dear sponsors!

 

Experiments

We do experiment a lot. We are trying to make a stress-free event, full of nice surprises, parties and interesting topics.

We are not one of those conferences where you get tons of coffee in the breaks (sometime we even don’t have breaks, nor coffee for that matter, just beer!) and a schedule 3 months in advance or you can sit and pretend you are listening, because someone paid you the fee. With us you are a part of the event all the time: we have games, hackathons and other stuff you can take part in. We give you the bread and butter, use your mind to make a sandwich. :)

 

We grow

We failed many times at many tasks, but we are learning and improving. We are not a professional team doing this for the money. We are doing this for fun and to help our great and amazing community. We count on volunteers. Thank you, dear volunteers!

 

Marketing?

We are one of the few events that don’t have history of the event on their website. Duh! We do believe that if you visit us once (because a friend told you about us) you don’t need a silly website to convince you again to come :) We do not spend (a lot of) money on marketing or professional services. We count on word of mouth and you. Thank you!

Join us and see for yourself!

How to simplify the WordPress development processes which involve clients

I had a period in my life when I was working for different employers like a freelancer developing wordpress plugins, themes enhancements and some integrations.

Back then I didn’t realize how much time I was spending in communication with the clients or the middle man (project manager), because, let’s be honest – time is money, right. I didn’t mind to spend 3-4 hours talking to a client about how to make the red button, even more red or why the image is not aligned with the little horse. They would pay me anyway. You know what I mean.

After I started expanding my business portfolio I realized that “spending time” from the previous paragraph is actually losing time. Instead of working for many clients and getting more opportunities (more money) I was working just for a few.

This was one of the reasons for which I decided to move to another segment of my professional life. True story!

Continue…

Bulgaria Web Summit 2014 with GitHub, ElasticSearch, SmashingMag and more friends

I think it’s time to write something about Bulgaria Web Summit – the event I am organizing since 2004. Of course the name back then was WebTech but this is just a formality.

Why Bulgaria Web Summit?

Honestly I don’t know, it was like … how we will name it .. Bulgaria Web Summit. The funny story is I talked 2 days ago with Florian from Usersnap and he asked me “I was wondering if Paddy Cosgrave already sent  you an angry mail (about the name)” and today I’ve got a call from UK-ish number and I thought here it is, the angry Paddy is calling me.

Let’s go back to the event. It will be amazing, as usual. We will have speakers and friends from GitHub, ElasticSearch, eCommera,Smashing Magazine and even more and more. We will have of course a prime minister talking …well not the Bulgarian one, we don’t really like him, but the one from the Ministry of World Domination, no kidding.

Developer track

In short: JavaScript, Development Workflows, ElasticSearch && Python, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Embedded Devices hacking and more

Designer, UX, UI, VDT track

Responsive Design , Visual Design Thinking, CSS, Fonts, UX and UI, Firefox OS

Business track

Product Ownership, Social media marketing, Kanban for Marketing, Showcase of successful products, Job fair and much more.

3 rooms, 30 speakers and a party!

Danish Knan from GitHub is introducing his talk at Bulgaria Web summit in Sofia

FirefoxOS, Internet of things (#IoT), the future

A note: This is a serious post, couple of months ago I wrote an article as a joke saying that I am leaving Mozilla project by some reasons, umh, it was April 1st. After that I was insulted by several people “you have left the community”, “we don’t want to work with you”, “we are working only with active people” and even more, not appropriate for the web, so I want to make this clear, this is not a joke, this is something I want to develop in the future and this is how I see it.

IoT (from bottom up)

Police alert.

Imaginе. The future, 20xx. Driving from city A to City B on the highway. Rock music. Loud. something beeps. Beep! Beep! The driver looks at the screen and there is a message:

iot1

Slowing down.

The damn traffic jam


The future again. Driving back from city B to city A. Hard Rock! Slowing down! Traffic Jam! No information! Waiting and wondering what is going on.

Beep, beep! A message:

iot5

 The sender


All these messages has been send by a passing car to your car. Of course in the beginning they will be set from the driver via usable interface (see below), but I think it’s just matter of time to teach the device(or the thing) how to learn and to do some of the tasks without human interaction. Crepy? Not!

carstalk

Vehicle2Vechicle Communication

We will develop small devices that will be able to exchange and store simple data packages without need of connecting to the Internet.

Vechicle2 Device Communication

We will develop simple FirefoxOS app to communicate with near devices via discovery. Like:

  • Reading the messages that your car receive from other cars on the highway
  • Set the privacy setting
  • Find nearest devices and communicate with them – discover what the can “talk” about and enter the conversations.

IoT with Firefox OS

I believe we can create an interconnected network of devices that can be able to communicate with each other and with us using a special protocol.

Let’s call it TTM (Talk to Me).

  • Alll devices will be powered by Firefox OS
  • All apps will be developed using web technologies.
  • You will not need Internet access to be able to communicate with one or more devices, but they can still connect to the Internet to exchange data.
  • Privacy first – you can set what you want to share and with whom.
  • An open platform where everyone can contribute.

 

Oh, one more:
Early Morning. Monday. Enter the tram with TTM sticker on your way to work and the tram asks you “how do you feel today”, you said “It’s monday” and the tram offers you a nice selection of music while traveling just to be make your day better.

The interface.

Since clicking and double clicking is dead and I think ‘touch’ will follow soon we will implement 2 more interacting interfaces – Voice (Remember my Fosdem talk in 2010 when I made the the demonstration on how to control Firefox with your voice?) and Gestures.

More to follow. #IoT definitely is the future for me, but I really don’t need a “smart” fridge, I need “smart” things that make my life easier and save time and money and of course powered by Firefox OS and Web Technologies.

What do you think?

There is one place to share ideas about the web and its name is @WebExpo – Prague

No kidding. Prague became one of the finest European technology and start-up hubs and I believe there is a great future and potential, which we will see coming true in the next couple of years.
Maybe that’s one of the reasons I moved here a couple of years ago. If you add the beauty of Prague and the fine quality of the Czech beer, you will not be surprised that I want to invite you to an unique event.

[note]This is one of the few places in the world where developers, designers, product managers, marketing ninjas, big data nerds, content management racoons, hackers and even normal people can sit together and discuss a lot of things together and even to start something..[/note]

I know, you will say that you have such events in your country, but this is international, have a look at the speakers and do not forget the beer and the city.

Trusted companies and awesome startups are happy to be here and to turn their dreams into reality and most important, into profit.
[highlight]13 different subjects, many speakers, 3 days of fun and beer + something you can take home with you – knowledge and inspiration. That’s priceless.[/highlight]

 

Join the event:

 

$you->is_geek(): apply

 

We are looking for ambassadors in every European country. Prime directive – to spread a word about the event and to become a super geek star. In exchange we will give you free entrance and will make you famous – this is a long time deal.

[highlight] Interested?[/highlight] Follow the link to fill a secret form. Shhh!

 

? buy_ticket();

 

Another option is to buy a ticket and join the magical Prague, beer and awesome knowledge.  Invest in your future.

 P.S This is still a secret, but all sessions will be in English this year. Visit the website to find out more, because this is just the top of the iceberg.

P.P.S Oh, did I mention the parties. We will have couple of parties that will blow your head away :)

Marketing Kanban Style for Tech Startups

Oh no, there is no mistake. It’s not Gangdam Style!

I am always trying to mix software development methodologies into community and marketing management.

Last year I gave a talk at Fosdem about using Agile methods, and especially Trello, to engage your community. Currently I implementing a similar approach into a project I am involved in.

Warning: The following paragraphs may contain a mixture of different software methodologies, usually not compatible with each other.

What is a modern marketing world?

Marketing now, especially online marketing, is a mixture of Community Management, Brave Content Management, Strong Business Analysis, Good and Awesome Metrics, knowing the hacker attitude, fast problem solving and many, many tasks every second.

I am talking about using new technologies, methodologies and fun in the marketing world. I know there are marketing departments with 100 or more employees, busy with a little tiny boring segment, but with an exciting title. But also, there are startups and small, but very successful companies, having teams with up to 4 members that can do better marketing than those 100 using Marketing Kanban Style.

 

That’s why we need Marketing Kanban Style.

I am an internet enthusiast – maybe one of the few left in the world. I really want to test and hack amazing web tools. Sometimes I find a great tool like Trello and I start using it and talk about it without having been paid a single cent, sometimes it turns out to be a negative experience, like my Facebook story. But I love being an enthusiast.

Yeah, so let’s focus on the step by step go-through:

trello.com 2013-1-31 13:14:42

0. Plan Your Sprint

  •   Sit on a table with your team and define the 3 main tasks you want to see implemented this week. Yes, I am not talking about months or years here. Of course this should be in line with the marketing plan, budget and other documents, tables and graphics …
  •  Define what resources you will need – guys from IT dept, Customer care service, Sales dept, etc.

1. Visualize

  • Tasks may look good in your brain or in a paper or event in your notebook, but they must be placed on a board and here comes Trello.
  •  Start: All tasks start from “To Do” or you can call it “Repository” or “The Dungeon” or even “Death Start” but this is your starting point
  • Define your flow process. It can be simple “Doing” – “Done” or you can add additional steps like “To be approved” or “Testing needed”. Please do not work with more than 5 steps. It’s a waste of time a energy.

2. Make Policies Explicit

  • Define who will do what. If you want you can let people choose what they want to do. This works perfectly for community based marketing and it depends on how cool is your team.
  • Resolve conflicts before they appear. Define the collaboration flow – for example – for this HTML newsletter you must talk with Mike and Petra from Dev department. Add this as a note to the task.
  •  Do not add other department members to the board.

3. Marketing Stand-ups

  • I know the developer stand-ups are real – the people actually are standing up, but the marketing people are allowed to sit down :)
  •  Do a stand-up every day for 15 minutes and be sure you have feedback loops. Every member of the team should report what he/she is working on now and what troubles he/she is having.
  • – This is not a problem-solving meeting. Afterwards you can sit down and try to find a way to resolve the problems.

4. Be а Brave Marketeer

  • Your team must not be afraid to test new techniques in order to achieve the weekly goal.
  • Try to find the boundaries of your team and push a bit outside of them. The marketing world travels with light-speed and you must be very fast as well.
  • Explore the Trello functions and use them for your work. It’s a really useful piece of code.

This is just the beginning of a journey for you if you are taking this path. This is the easiest part but believe me you will be more flexible and successful than the good ol’ huge marketing slow moving company.

This will allow you:

  1.  to achieve results every week.
  2.  to plan your work better
  3.  to easily define metrics and goals
  4.   to do more work for less money
  5.  to build your team and let them evolve together with the company
  6.  to have fun.

Let’s do some Marketing Kanban Style. Shall we?

Learn more?

If you want to learn more about Marketing Kanban style and some more amazing ideas – subscribe to my mail-list from here. No spam guaranteed.

 

Fedora 17 on Raspberry Pi: Mission Possible

Just after Christmas my Raspberry Pi has arrived in a tiny-tiny box :)

Fedorize it!

How to install Fedora on it? Easy? Since I don’t have SD card writer, shame on me I used my wife’s Windows machine build-in writer, but for good. Unfortunately all Fedora instructions are for Windows 7 and Vista, but here’s how to do that in Windows XP:

  1. Download this GNU-licensed program:  Win32DiskImager.
  2. Download Fedora 17 PI disk image from  here
  3. Burn it on your SD card
  4. Plug it in your Raspberry Pi and turn it on

Ready

Make me run and support your favorite opensource project

Couple of months ago I started a little “via Twitter” only campaign and now I think it’s the time to give it more visibility, because the deadline is in 20 days.

What?

The main idea is:  for every tweet [tooltip title=”Yes I Will” gravity=”e”][mark color=”yellow”]I will run 1[/mark][/tooltip] meter on Prague Marathon on September 8th 2012 (yes in 20 days) and will donate some money to an open source project.

How?

[box color=”orange” icon=”flag”]
Join the campaign now – it’s FUN. Fell more than free to share it with your friends.
[/box]

5 days FOSDEM in Prague this October.

[dc]W[/dc]hat is FOSDEM? It’s a name of a conference held in Brussels, but it also stand for “Free and Open source Software Developers’ European Meeting”.

[box color=”orange” icon=”flag”]
This autumn in Prague we will have something like this – A conference of OpenSUSE Project, SUSE Labs, Gentoo and Linux Days at the same time:  October 22-23 and right after that 4 days of PostgreSQL Conference
[/box]
A whole [tooltip title=”Welll ..almost a week” gravity=”e”][mark color=”yellow”]week[/mark][/tooltip] of F(L)OSS activities, hacking parties and talks. Save the dates :)

What’s new in the Java and the JVM World last week?