Every 1st of December, we, the promotech association get together and open the doors of the Polytechnical School of the university of Girona to the community and celebrate the “Local Hack day”.
The Local Hack day is a 12 hours hackathon were everybody can attend and team up with 3-4 friends to spend the day working on a project. At the end of the day the teams are encouraged to show their work and perform a small pitch in front of the audience “selling” their project. Each year we like to invite relevant members of the community to take part as a “jury”, evaluate the projects shown and give awards.
We think that one of the key points of success in running events is “evolution”. Doing the same exact thing one event after another will end up with your potential audience getting bored and stop coming in so first of all it’s important to add some variation, some “new feature” in every event, this can be a new workshop or topic, new speakers, new prizes or maybe to pick a different place. You have to watch our and don’t make changes that may look too radical though, as you maybe lose your potential audience.
So what we do in Promotech for dealing with that is something I call “ERA” standing for evaluating-rethinking-adapting. So after every event, we dome a small analysis of our audience, their interests (based on satisfaction polls and on the ground asking) and we cross that information with information we can observe in social media related to our area, practicing some healthy self-criticism. We try to define which are the tendencies in the community (ex: they want to get deep into electronics, they need web development…) then we try to think about how we can make that fit into our schedule and we try to adapt our content to offer the best and the most fun activities for them in our next events.
So our last Local Hack day was a clear example of that. Actually our main load of public comes from the university and the local high school is basically composed of young students and young professionals who are into tech or want to get in. After our process, we noticed that it would be very useful for them to have an event focused on “how to start a great career in tech”.
We are always learning new ways to solve technical challenges, since 2016 we’ve learned a lot on how to design and build PCB’s, mobile APPS, secure networks, web sites and many more but we did just a few talks on how to develop soft skills.
A degree in engineering may get you in front of your dream job door, but your personal skills will open it.
We decided to invite Mr. Sergi Frias (Glam Software) and Mr. Antonio Recio (Cannon Europe) to perform useful talks about how to develop and apply personal leadership in the corporate world.
THINK GLOBAL, ACT LOCAL BY SERGI FRIAS
The first invited speaker we had was Sergi Frias who is a professional with more than 25 years of experience as a commercial director of various information technology related companies in Girona.
We thought that bringing Sergi was a great opportunity not only because his experience is wide but because all the experience he took he took it from Girona. Very often we end our degrees at the university thinking about going abroad, thinking that everything outside of Spain is fantastic, shinny, profitable and thus better. While it can be that way in some specific cases it may not be like that depending on the context. So as there are actually a lot of opportunities in tech in Girona we have to think about them and learn about the character of Girona and the way we like to work.
Frias talk started with him saying “ok this ain’t gonna be a tremendous self motivating talk, nor I’m going to sell you anything I’ll just go by some clear simple examples you have to take into account” and that was exactly what he did.
He put some different examples about how selection processes work in most of the Catalan companies, some other examples about what’s nice to have or see in a resume and how to develop a good relationship with your fellow coworkers.
He put attention on the fact that in the world that we are living in, more and more we are starting to assume that everyone who’s in front of the HR dept’s door already knows a lot about tech, so they know you can write code what they want to know is: are you a team player? Group dynamics and role playing exercises are a thing these days and you have to be ready. Also having a “volunteering” section in your resume may play a good point and enhance your chances of getting to the interview.
The other thing I’d like to note on his talk was how he stated that nowadays it’s quite impossible to know everything about every technology even about the technology that’s been used in your company, so work in teams if you don’t know how to do something have in mind the right one who knows how to do it! And be ready to teach what you know when you have the chance.
Sergi is a person who has a lot to say and deserves to be herd.
LEADERSHIP AT CANNON BY ANTONIO RECIO
Antonio Recio is the former executive VP @ Canon Europe he was in charge of his executive role based in London till two years ago when he decided to retire in the beautiful and sunny Girona.
His talk started with him saying that he has no MBA, a mid level of English and an average IQ but he managed to put himself in the front like of the executive board of an international company. That was a quite impressive opening sentence from a quite impressive person.
Recio based his talk on the “OLE” a common Spanish term for expressing joy and principle that states that for developing a successful career in his field one has to develop the following concepts:
Open mind: Specially if you aim to work for a global company you have to keep your mind open as you will meet a lot of different people every day and you are expected to understand and communicate effectively with them. Not only related to team work, you must be open minded to correctly adapt to every challenge as technology and the market may vary a lot during your experience, a failure in adapting to new factors will quickly get you out of the market.
Leadership: According to Antonio, leadership does not mean “being the boss” and having a lot of people under your command, he stated that you can apply and prove leadership in every aspect of your life by having initiative, having ideas and putting them into practice. That ties up closely with our next concept.
Entrepreneurship: As leading does not exactly mean giving orders, entrepreneurship doesn’t mean founding companies. Antonio stated that you have to be brave and avoid having fear when it comes to giving your opinion and proposing effective solutions. Being entrepreneur means having the drive to think about new ideas or projects and fighting for putting them into practice.
He explained how he applied that concept through his whole career in different situations. We also heard a lot of funny stories about his experience.
At the end off his talk Antonio addressed to the young students and, being impressed by how they were conducting their team projects, he offered them to have internships and job interviews at Canon-ecosystem companies which was a really happy and fantastic new for all the students who were there and a personal triumph for the members of our association as it notes that the work we are doing is not only a matter of words and photos but it’s actually something effective who puts people to work.
Antonio is a man full of energy and we’ll be happy to count on him in the near future.
As usual we had the change to evaluate all the tech projects developed in less than 12 hours and presented around 8 pm at the main stage.
This year the presented projects included: the construction of programmable FM radio station with a Raspberry PI and an amazon dash button, the design and construction of an automated cocktail mixer and dispenser, the process of recycling an old laptop and installing mac applications on it (using hackintosh) the solving process of the nullbyte CTF and the automation of the control of an arduino based drone.
It’s always good to see that people are putting their effort in and they are getting good at what they love. As a part of the award we like to give out free memberships to the UdGeeks hackerspace for the best projects, so they can come in and continue developing their work in the space.
I’m happy to notice that even though this year we had a small decrease in attendants, we had a notable increase in the number of presented projects and its quality. We need to bring more people in but quality goes in par.
TO LIVE IS TO SERVE
Now it’s been more than four years since we started to work for the community in the promotion of technology as a non profit.
I don’t believe in void life experiences seeking profit and status only I personally believe that everything we make, every action we perform comes back to us in one way or another and thus my actions are coming back to me as wonderful friends and exciting projects both personally and professionally.