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Tales from Slush

By Marcos Dinnerstein, Editor of, that is yours truly, has been invited to Slush in Helsinki and here are my first impressions. True to their word, the weather outside is frightful. (the Christmas song stops there). The sun goes down mid-afternoon but in spite of that there is excitement in the air. And I can see why. This beautiful city with its mix of old, ornate buildings and contemporary construction is hosting what’s probably the largest tech and startup event in the world.

Slush reportedly has seventeen thousand attendees and startups from seventy-one  countries. This is significantly greater than what we’re used to in the humble U.S. of A.

Random snippets from sessions:

Our Time Needs More Dignity

Featuring Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and philosopher Pekka Himanen 

This was a wide ranging discussion but among the questions were:

  • What is the culture of creativity at its best?
  • What is the culture of dignity?

On creativity Pekka Himanen pointed to the example of the power of open source software, specifically Linux, created by Linus Torvalds.  "Given a large enough beta-tester and co-developer base, almost every problem will be characterized quickly and the fix will be obvious to someone.” The point being that the introduction of open source unleashed the underutilized creativity of countless developers.

On Dignity - Pekka recounted a story of a meeting where he spoke with a sad boy. When asked why he was sad he replied, “You haven’t touched me with your eyes.” He had not been seen and granted dignity. How simple. How universal.

For more on Pekka Himanen’s work you can go to

Some event highlights:

  • The Slush 100 Competition. This is a pitch Competition that features 100 companies from a pool of 1,600 applicant companies.
  • Various quality presentations on bitcoin and blockchain
  • A fascinating panel on post-smart cities (but wait, most cities aren’t in any way smart!)

More to come from gorgeous Helsinki...

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