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Liveblog: TechChill 2017

TechChill is Latvia's premier startup and entrepreneurship festival and this year's event is taking place February 9 and 10 in Riga. LSM is staking it out on your behalf.

The official TechChill website is HERE.

You can also follow the #TechChill hashtag on Twitter HERE.

Good morning folks! It's TechChill time. The first thing to tell you is that you can actually watch TechChill live via this futuristic Internet thing that apparently is all the rage. That rather threatens to make this entire Liveblog obsolete. Lattelecom is broadcasting the whole thing online. Click on the link below to watch. And if that's the last you read of this liveblog, well, it was nice having you along for this opening paragraph.

 

First, I have a couple of confessions to make that may affect what is to follow in this liveblog.

1) I am the least tech-y person I know
2) I am the least chilled person I know

Therefore TechChill will be either just what the doctor ordered or an ordeal of Dantesque proportions. However, my ignorance and cynicism do at least provide a blank canvas upon which to record my impressions. And I am relying upon other people at TechChill to tell me what's what and explain themselves in terms that a five-year-old could understand.

Though TechChill is already underway, I have the small matter of a meeting of four heads of state to attend first, so it will probably be well into the afternoon before I actually make it to the TechChill venue at the National Library.

But I hope to catch a few snatches of the ongoing webcast referred to in the previous post.

If you're at TechChill and want me to come and talk to you, send me a message via Twitter @LSM_eng

Have a nice TechChill! May all your pitches be nailed and all your contacts be astonishing! 

I hop off the train and hot foot it in the direction on Riga Castle for my date with the Presidents...

But on the way I stop off at the spectacular House of the Blackheads where the Riga Venture Summit 2017 is also taking place. It's kind of TechChill in a suit.

Startup evangelist Daniels Pavluts tells me more.

Daniels Pavluts on Riga Venture Summit 2017

Pavluts said that, according to the European Startup Initiative, the Baltics are Europe's fastest-growing region as concerns startups.

"According to startup founders in Europe, when you ask them, the Baltics seem to be this thriving, dynamic place that attracts attention, and we have to build on this momentum," he also said.

Well those pesky presidents kept me waiting a long time. After standing around in order to hear them say this, I hot-footed it along the embankment and across the river to TechChill!

One thing that has been striking me all day is what a wonderful city Riga is to walk around -- even when it's -12C.

Hence 'chill', I guess.

This is the view as I approach Mordor... er, I mean the National Library, venue for TechChill.

 

Hooray, only several hours too late, I finally arrive at TechChill. There are people all over the place. It is clear I am both too old and over dressed.

Nevertheless they all seem quite pleasant. I experience a few moments of uncertainty wondering whether I need to check my bag in at the cloakroom, but decide to live  dangerously and take it with me.

I descend some steps. It is dark. It is noisy. There are people. Many of them are watching something on a screen. More of them are drinking huge amounts of coffee.

Then I see a friendly face -- none other than Janis Sildniks, who is also liveblogging the event, with considerably more success than myself.

Cleverly,I ask him to tell me everything that has happened. This will bring me right up to speed. This is his reply.

Janis Sildniks on TechChill

You can read Janis' superior liveblog HERE.

In a further effort to discover all the interesting things I have missed while twiddling my thumbs at Riga Castle, I grab the perfect man to explain -- ace technology journalist an all-round local legend Juris Kaza!

So, Juris, what the heck is happening?

Juris Kaza on TechChill

I check my emails and see a curious press release from the Latvian president's office announcing that a chandelier fell down at Riga Castle today. Luckily for the health (but unluckily for newshounds) it missed all four presidents.

Then Juris strikes back by recording an interview with me for his own liveblog of TechChill. It seems EVERYONE is liveblogging it, which makes me think it was probably not worth my while doing so.

One great thing about this event is people don't give you that "Why are you talking to me?" stare when you approach them. Sometimes they even approach you!

That's the case with Raitis, who tells me all about a Latvian company that is one of the most successful of recent years, with two facilities in the US as well as at home: Printful.

Raitis of Printful

 

It turns out I'm better networked than I thought. Next up is serial entrepreneur Austin Nicholas, a Brit who has been in Latvia running various companies for longer than most, notably the Out There group of companies.

He gives me his impressions of TechChill and thoughts on how the Latvian business environment has developed over the years.

Austin Nicholas on TechChill

Here's a fascinating interview with a former journalistic colleague who decided to start his own business, Kristaps Petersons.

He has some great insights on presentation skills and more.

Kristaps Petersons on presentation skills

With my computer battery life rapidly dwindling and a train out of town preparing to pull away from Riga central railway station, I'll bid you farewell.

My TechChill experience proved short but sweet. Thanks to those who spoke to me. I'm not sure if I'll make it to Friday's sessions... or if I'll just follow one of the other liveblogs.

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