Quite a few event-related posts on here lately – but this time at least, I want to recommend two useful and educational kinds of events, not merely fun or entertaining ones. By coincidence, despite otherwise not having that much in common, both have “party” in their name, which really might make you expect something that is primarily just entertaining, however, in these cases, it’s misleading. I attended both a Speech Party and a Cryptoparty in Berlin this week, both are also happening in other places though (hence the Berlin in brackets, in the title). Both are regular, reoccuring events (hence no date in the title).
Speech Party happens once a month, currently only in Berlin (at Hubraum) and in New York – probably because it relies Shannon Dolan as the meetup-organizer. The purpose of this meetup is to improve your public-speaking skills, in particular in the entrepreneurial context (which gives some differentation to otherwise similar events, like Toastmasters etc.). The format alternates parts in which you practice pitching in front of the group as a whole and in a small group, giving feedback to each other, and, in the end, pitching “competitively”. This time I did not have a pitch I wanted to work on ready, so I cannot evaluate how well it would work for me yet, but several of the other participants seemed to make quite decent progress. One thing I noticed is that there where several (aspiring?) speaking, life (etc.) coaches in attendance – odd, in a way, but also understandable, I guess.
The cryptoparty-movement is pretty big and global, and there is frequent events all over the place, although there still seems to be some regions of the world which have not been reached yet. Even Edward Snowden went to a Cryptoparty once, before he was (in)famous, in Hawaii! The idea is to get familiarized with different privacy and security tools, such as Jabber OTR chat, being more anonymous online with using TOR, different ways of encrypting your computer’s harddrive etc.. I was in a group that learned from Michael Merz, one of the founders of camonet.de – an alternative option for secure chat – which was pretty interesting. Interesting in terms of learning about security, as well as from the entrepreneurship-perspective, as you usually do not meet that many founders of new security companies in Berlin (if you compare it to, for example, the D.C. area). I learned about some of the advantages- and disadvantages of different options for (secure) chat, fairly new options like TOX that are still under development, and in general I got a better understanding about why some security products probably will never achieve mainstream-adoption. The people I met here were also quite cool, just like at the other “party”. 😉