16. 11. 2019

FTRNW Conference 2019: What’s all the fuss about?

The thing is, FTRNW is not a tech geek event. It’s a conference about what’s almost here, knocking on the door. If you want to know what it is and how to get ready for the future and reap the benefits, this is your chance. Because the only way how not to fear the future is to shape it.

When asked to share his feedback, here’s what a renowned tech journalist Monty Munford (Forbes, Mob76) had to say: “I had to break up a family holiday in Venice, and it took a boat, a bus, a flight and two cars to get to the event via Vienna and I don’t regret a single moment of it.”

1 boat, 1 bus, 1 flight, 2 cars to get to the 2018 FTRNW Conference. Did you get that?

So, here we are today to tell you why it might be worth taking a bus or a tram to join the innovation event of the year.


Tuesday mornings at HubHub Bratislava are vibrant, dynamic and lively. Everyone’s discussing, brainstorming, executing. That’s why there wasn’t much space to sit down and talk.

After several occupied open spaces and meeting rooms, a few minutes of small talk and tens of steps walked, we found three chairs to sit down on to talk about the conference. Yup, THE conference – FTRNW Conference 2019 that is going live in a few days.

We, meaning two most competent people in the whole world: Zuzana Pisoň, FTRNW Tuesdays Manager & Conference Content Expert, and Nadežda Barňáková, Head of the FTRNW Conference and Funding, and yours truly, the author.

What is the FTRNW Conference, exactly?

The FTRNW Conference is the leading tech and innovation event in Central Europe. Building up on its 8-year history, it’s the central point for the brightest minds in tech, business, NGO, startups and academia from CEE to meet and explore what is ahead of us. We want to encourage the attendees to transform everything we’ll be talking about at the conference into real-life solutions.

It doesn’t make sense to pat ourselves on the back for that one day, just going on with our lives. The conference and FTRNW Awards is just one part of the activities FTRNW team is actively working on. To find out more on how we are trying to build a platform for innovation stakeholders to meet, read the interview with the Head of FTRNW.

Why should I come to the conference?

The thing is, FTRNW is not a tech geek event. It’s a conference about what’s almost here, knocking on the door. If you want to know what it is and how to get ready for the future and reap the benefits, this is your chance. Because the only way how not to fear the future is to shape it.

Oh, and did we mention the networking part? We’re striving for the FTRNW to become the platform where all the relevant stakeholders meet and create synergies for the good of their innovation ecosystems and everyone involved.

Okay then, what is the theme of the conference?

The Future of Human Existence is the central theme of the 2019 FTRNW Conference. It consists of three pillars: New Normal, Security Headache, and Technologies Everywhere.

New Normal will be about sustainability, the future of work and healthcare innovation. Cybersecurity&AI and spread of misinformation is part of Security Headache, and Technologies Everywhere will deal with the future of mobility, tech for good and data-driven business.

How do you know these topics are relevant? How did you pick them?

When thinking about the themes for the FTRNW Conference, we always consider 3 criteria: local relevance, regional CEE relevance and global overlap.

On top of that, months before the conference we are in talks with industry experts and business leaders, as well as people from the public sector. Some of them are members of our Content Advisory Board.

However, if these topics were just based on the opinions of high-level professionals, we are running the risk that the theme won’t be popular with the audience. That we’re testing every week through our FutureTuesdays format.

Example? E-mobility. From experts, we know that Slovakia is heavily involved in the automotive industry. The industry, however, is going through some transformations and as a country, we need to reflect that. Yet, is it a topic that would attract the general public? The answer, based on E-mobility FutureTuesday, is–hell yeah!

Who is coming to cover these topics?

You can find the full list of speakers on our website. To name a few, we’d mention:

  • Safia Qureshi, an award-winning designer fighting the era of single-use plastics,
  • Otto Fabri, ex-Principal Engineer at Faraday Future, ex-designer at Tesla Motors,
  • David Pavlík, Chief Information Officer at Kiwi.com who spent time at SpaceX, Netflix, and other tech giants,
  • Nat Ware, Founder and CEO of Forte,
  • Alice Piterova, Head of Data Products at AI for Good,
  • Ravi Belani, Managing Director of the Alchemist Accelerator,
  • … and a great deal of others!

Do you need to brief the international speakers on the regional topics?

We act as a bridge between the audience and the experts.

We are pro-actively cooperating with the speakers on their presentations to tailor them. That way, they’ll know what challenges our region faces and how their expertise can move it forward.

It’s not only about that one day, though. The speakers’ contributions should last. We are striving for more meaningful connections, so new collaborations can come to life, or new policies can be implemented.

Can I expect something more than just inspirational talks?

Indeed! Discussions and fireside chats included. And in addition to the main stage, some of the attendees (based on the type of ticket) will get a chance to enjoy Deep Talks in an intimate atmosphere of the Lab Cafe.

These are exclusive discussions with top-notch speakers from the main stage in a small community of tech enthusiasts, with a limited capacity.

Example? The E-mobility panel with experts Marian Bocek (InoBat), Maroš Halama (Department of Materials Science at the Technical University of Košice), Maroš Šefčovič (European Commissioner for the Energy Union) and Otto Fabri.

What is the agenda? Will I have time to go to the bathroom and won’t starve to death?

Have a look at the full agenda here. But certainly, there will be coffee breaks, lunch break, snacks and time for informal talks, discussions and networking.

For lunch, you’ll have enough time to enjoy the old town of Bratislava and have a meal in one of the great restaurants near the venue of Stará tržnica. Because, you know, brain food is what we’re bringing to the table ????

Is there anything going on after the conference?

In the evening, you can join the gala with the top startups from CEE, watch the battle for the FTRNW Awards prize and have fun at the after party.

Now to the geeky part – are you using some cool conference app?

You’re on the spot – as are we. It’s called NAME?, developed by a young startup from Czechia. Each attendee needs to fill in information and based on the type of ticket, the others can write them a message and ask for a 15-min one-on-one networking session.

Additionally, you can register for Deep Talks sessions, see the agenda, ask questions thanks to integrations with Slido, check out the tips for restaurants and get notified when a break ends.

Any top picks from the organizers?

From Zuzana: Fighting fake news: How did the vision of a connected world tear us apart, the discussion with Jon Greenberg (Poynter Institute) and Viktoras Daukšas (Debunk.eu), led by Tomáš Kriššák (Cognitive Security Expert, Project Manager at Open Society Foundation)

From Nadežda: New Normal: Don’t fall for fake innovation, the opening keynote speech by David Rowan, Founding Editor-in-Chief at Wired UK


Michal Tomek interviewing Nadežda and Zuzana about all things related to the content of the FTRNW Conference 2019.

Now, any fun fact I should know about?

Since you’re still here, we’ll give you one. When we asked David Pavlík from Kiwi if he had a tip for a good speaker on the e-mobility topic, he gave the name of his good friend Otto Fabri. And to help us convince him to join, he advised that we should tell Otto about David’s birthday on the day of the conference, so they can celebrate it. And we had Otto on board in about 3 minutes.

Where do I find everything I need to know about the conference?

Check out all the speakers, agenda, venue, partners, and everything else related at the FTRNW website. See you on November 21st?


Author: Michal Tomek, Founder of SlovakStartup