I usually come across buzzwords like innovation, Artificial Intelligence, autonomous cars, and smart-everything (I just coined the term) in the popular press which misses the angle of how to keep emerging technologies ‘human-centric’. Amid all this noise, Zero-in is an upcoming conference in Amsterdam starting on April 19th (it currently has 2-for-1 attendee tickets available here) focusing on ‘personalization’ in tech. It first appeared weird to me as the conference page did not contain ‘buzzwords’ like the ones I mentioned earlier. Silicon Canals reached out to Paul O’ Connell, the founder of Zero-in Conference and asked him about:
- The reason Zero-in conference is focused on ‘personalization’
- The difference of Zero-in from other tech events in Amsterdam
- Expectations from the event and the way Paul and his team are able to stay true to the theme of the conference
- His benchmark for assessing startups that can make it big
Tell us something about yourself in that how have your past experiences (especially being engaged with startups since long) shaped your current initiatives.
O’ Connell: “I’m living in Amsterdam for 10 years now. I’m Irish. I started events with UPRISE Festival in 2015 in a very different startup landscape and it has evolved out of the Netherlands and now we launch Zero-In Conference in Amsterdam for Europe. I also founded Dutch Startup Jobs: the largest startup jobs site in the Netherlands, as there wasn’t a platform for vacancies in 2013 and now its 5 years old. It was a different ecosystem with fewer resources and a lot of startups being created. Now that dynamic has turned around completely, which makes for a new dynamic.”
Is Zero-in an annual event and why have you focused on ‘personalization’, why not ‘automation’ or ‘AI’ or other current trends in technology we keep listening and reading about?
“Zero-In is an annual event hosted in Amsterdam. Personalization is a key area of growth and focuses since technology is more driven with bots and automation, the real question becomes ‘How do we keep technology Human-Centric? Is the answer anthropomorphization, simulation, approximation, and simulacra?
The key nature of the acceptance of technology is recognition on how relatable it can be, to us as users and present the value in a clear fashion while maintaining an empathic approach for copy and problem resolution.