JavaScript Bootcamp

Last Saturday, we contributed to another step towards gender inclusivity in the world of technology, organizing a JavaScript bootcamp in partnership with SheTech, a non-profit organization dedicated to bridging the gender gap in STEM. The primary goal of this event was to provide young girls and women with a tangible opportunity to delve into the realm of programming, addressing the prevailing skill mismatch within the STEM sector.

Through word of mouth and thanks to Bitrock’s and SheTech's active communities, the event drew the enthusiasm of almost 50 participants, both girls and boys, all eager to enhance their programming skills. 

The bootcamp kicked off with an insightful briefing on the Front-End scenario, followed by a presentation outlining Bitrock's value proposition.

Participants explored the world of JavaScript guided and supported by experienced Mentors. They challenged themselves in practical exercises divided into different levels, suitable for both beginner and more experienced programmers. 

After five hours of intense programming, the bootcamp ended with a dynamic Q&A and feedback session during which participants openly discussed various aspects of the event, sharing insights and experiences,  giving us useful hints fundamental to the continuous improvement of our events.

This bootcamp represents the commitment of Bitrock and SheTech in fostering a diverse and inclusive tech community. By providing practical opportunities for skill development and creating an engaging learning environment, the event served as a small yet impactful step towards addressing the gender gap in STEM.

As we celebrate the success of the JavaScript bootcamp, we recognize the importance of continued efforts in supporting women in technology, entrepreneurship, and the digital space. The journey towards gender equality in STEM is ongoing, and with opportunities like these, we give our contribution for a more balanced and innovative future.

Stay tuned for more exciting events, bootcamps and workshops in partnership with SheTech… coming soon!

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Codemotion 2023

Codemotion, the must-attend tech conference, has always been a beacon of innovation and a platform for developers of all levels to learn from experts and network with peers. In October, a group of fellow Bitrockers embarked on a journey to Codemotion 2023 in Milan.

The first day

The first day of Codemotion kicked off with a palpable sense of anticipation and excitement. The opening talk of the day was given by Håkon Wium Lie, best known for his work on Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), a language used to describe the presentation of web pages. He took our fellow Bitrockers and all the other attendees on a fascinating journey highlighting  the evolution of the web.

Codemotion 2023

Throughout the day, a series of talks and workshops covered a diverse range of topics such as Artificial Intelligence and 3D Web Apps, each offering a unique perspective on the technology industry. One talk that was of particular interest, especially to those specialized in frontend development, was "Are We React-ing Wrong" by Maya Shavin.

In her presentation, Maya delved into the intricacies of React, thinking outside the box, explaining common misconceptions and sharing tips and tricks for using hooks like useMemo and useCallback to optimize React applications. Maya's talk provided valuable insights into the significance of React hooks in improving app performance, which prompted attendees to rethink their approach to React development and left them with a renewed enthusiasm to explore and implement these techniques in their projects.

The second day

On the second day of Codemotion, attendees learned about Web Components, a new API for the web that has the potential to revolutionize web development by replacing popular frameworks such as React, Vue, and Angular.

Codemotion 2023

One of the most popular workshops was "Let’s Talk About Salaries in Tech" led by Michele Riva, CEO of Orama Search and passionate advocate for transparency in financial matters. Michele Riva's presentation encouraged attendees to challenge the prevailing culture of salary secrecy, particularly among Italians. He argued that by sharing salary information with one another, workers could collectively gain a better understanding of their financial situation and advocate for fair remuneration. His talk prompted attendees to reflect on the benefits of salary transparency, which include negotiating better compensation, identifying pay gaps, and promoting equity in the workplace. In an age where information is power, understanding our own financial worth and that of our colleagues is essential. 

As the day continued, our Bitrockers also explored sessions on emerging technologies like quantum computing, and Machine Learning. These technologies have the potential to transform industries and create new opportunities, and Codemotion provided a platform to learn about their practical applications and implications.

Goodbye Codemotion…for now!

As our Codemotion 2023 journey wraps up, we carry with us the connections, knowledge and inspiration that will keep fueling our passion for innovation. Bitrockers are always ready to make a difference in the ever-evolving world of tech!

Main Author: Miguel De leon, Frontend Developer @ Bitrock

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WeAreDevelopers

WeAreDevelopers World Congress 2023, the world's flagship event for developers, took place on 27-28 July 2023 in Berlin, Germany. A group of enthusiastic Bitrockers attended the conference to get the latest trends in software development and connect with like-minded professionals in the industry. Before the event, they decided to arrive a few days early to fully immerse themselves in the vibrant city of Berlin.

Kicking off

The day before the conference, the group went to the venue for check-in, to receive their welcome backpacks, and for some members to attend a workshop.

The workshop, led by Misko Hevery, the creator of AngularJS and an agile coach at Google, was informative and engaging. The group was so impressed that they decided to rebuild their personal website from scratch to incorporate some of the new and exciting features they learned about. 

During the workshop, the group had the opportunity to implement a project to gather data from their GitHub account, using authentication and CRUD operations. They used Qwik, a new framework focused on speed and performance. Although they were initially upset when the framework criticized React, which they are big fans of, they were still impressed with Qwik and plan to use it in their upcoming projects.

After kicking off the workshop with excitement, the group rested well, ready to face the challenges and novelties the conference would bring.

The first day

Upon arriving at the conference, the group was amazed by the number of people from all over the world waiting to be allowed in. The attendees included journalists, entrepreneurs, sponsors, developers, and speakers, all eagerly waiting for the event to begin.

The conference started with a remarkable opening speech by Tim Berners-Lee, a computer scientist best known as the inventor of the World Wide Web. He discussed the birth of the web and presented his vision for web 3.0 with Solid, a specification that allows people to store their data securely in decentralized data stores called pods. This specification aims to provide people with control over all their data and easy implementation for a single SSO, an authentication system and universal APIs. Shortly after this speech, the group joined another talk that proposed a different solution to the same problem using typical Web5 tools.

After these two different views on the same topic, the group attended a talk by John Romero, the original creator of Wolfenstein and DoomHe shared the story of the development of his games, including the difficulties and some funny anecdotes.

The group then attended a talk on CSS Houdini. It is a set of low-level APIs that extend CSS  by giving developers direct access to the CSS Object Model. Although the group was initially impressed, they learned that the most substantial APIs, such as the worklets for layouts and animations, have not been integrated and probably never will be.

The conference also showcased a talk called "You click, you lose: a practical look at VSCode's security". This talk highlighted how hackers are targeting developers and the risks of compromising a developer's tools. It also explored the security of Visual Studio Code's security and its vulnerabilities through real-world examples. 

The day ended with a talk by Jakub Oleksy, Vice president of Software Engineering at Github, who discussed the opportunities in the open-source community and the tools available to improve daily work. The main message that emerged from the talk was to recognize the work of others and contact them to show appreciation. 

No party no fun

The event organizers arranged various activities to keep the attendees engaged and entertained. 

Attendees participated in quizzes that tested their tech knowledge in a fun and interactive way during the day. As the sun began to set, the atmosphere shifted to a more festive one, and a Karaoke session brought out the hidden talents of many developers. 

The excitement grew as the night progressed with the final round of the Code100 competition, where young developers showcased their programming skills.

The DJ set curated by Sam Feldt, a popular disc jockey from the Netherlands, was the perfect way to conclude a long day with the right party vibes.

The second day

After the first day and the night party, the group was excited to immerse themselves in the technology world once again.

The event featured many speeches and seminars, but it was impossible to attend all of them, so the group decided to spend some time walking around the stands and talking with people. They realized that meeting people and confronting new problems made them feel like they are part of something bigger to make a significant contribution to the evolution of technology.

Later, another talk caught the group's attention: "Lies we Tell Ourselves as Developers", which focused on TypeScript and its type-checking system. Stefan Baumgartner, author of popular books about Javascript and Typescript languages, presented some problems that developers can encounter and how to solve them. The central idea of the talk was that developers' task is not just writing code but also making decisions, building architecture, and evaluating trade-offs between different solutions.

One of the talks that stood out was "The Quantum Leap: Redefining Computing and Its Applications", presented by Tomislav Tipurić, Chief Technology Officer at Nephos. This talk explored the potential of quantum computing, which can perform complex calculations in parallel and solve problems that are beyond the reach of classical computers. These revolutionary machines can perform complex calculations in parallel, unleashing their immense processing power in just a fraction of the time. The potential of quantum computing is huge and the group is still curious about what it could do for the future. 

Afterward, they attended "React from Another Dimension", a talk by Dan Abramov, the co-author of Redux and one of the key figures behind React. In this captivating session, he took the audience on a journey beyond the conventional realm of React, exploring new paradigms and pushing the boundaries of what this popular library can achieve. The talk began with an overview of React's evolution over the years, showcasing how the library has evolved and adapted to meet the ever-changing needs of modern web development. The true essence of the talk lay in its exploration of the uncharted territories of React, imagining what could have happened if JS and React would have been implemented as server-side languages instead of client-side ones.

The closing keynote took all attendees on a journey from the MS-DOS era to the frontiers of generative AI and quantum computing. It summarized all the main takeaways from the conference, emphasizing the progress made by technology as well as encouraging the audience to continue embracing innovation and the collaborative spirit of the developer community.

Goodbye WeAreDevelopers…for now!

The group of Bitrockers had an amazing time at the WeAreDevelopers World Congress 2023 in Berlin. The event was not just another developer conference; it was a unique and amazing experience that celebrated developers and provided a platform for knowledge sharing, networking, and fun. They recognized that sharing is an important part of their job and during their time in Berlin took advantage of every possible moment to do so. They are eager to keep growing their skills as developers and are already looking forward to attending next year's edition!

Author: Erik Fazio, Frontend Web Developer at Bitrock

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Bitrock Smart Hackathon 2023

The Bitrock Smart Hackathon 2023, organized in partnership with our sister company ProActivity, ended with an exclusive Pitching & Award Event at Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnica in Milan. It was the perfect opportunity to meet the participants and spend some quality time with our colleagues, partners and clients.

The challenge

The hackathon challenge consisted in developing a smart tool to help employees that work remotely maintain social relations, stay motivated and collaborate with their colleagues.

The topic, i.e. how technology can enable and strengthen social bonds, attracted great interest. We are really satisfied with the achieved results: more than 150 registered people, 17 competing teams and a lot of inspirational and interesting hints concerning our topic.

The Winners

The final event was the icing on the cake, and we have to thank the hackathon’s organizing team,  Mentors and Judges, who all contributed to the success of the event. 

A special mention to our external Jury composed of Michela Bianchi, Chief of People and Sustainability Officer at Moneyfarm, Paolo Zilioli, Director IT Eyecare Systems at Luxottica and Federico Cella, journalist for Corriere della Sera, and our special host of the award ceremony.

For all those who couldn't be there, we would like to describe the winning projects that, more than others, have centered the hackathon aim: recovering human balance in a digital world.

The 1st classified team, the TATEAM (Niko Zarzani, Costanza Pollastrelli and Daniele Mariotto), won the hackathon with their App Workie-Talkie, ​​a dynamic workspace where employees can effortlessly collaborate on projects, exchange knowledge, and foster strong relationships.

The mobile App offers several features that promote and reward positive behavior: it offers breaks with colleagues available at that moment, it allows you to create and participate in thematic rooms for conversations via voice chat, and earn points by interacting and receiving reactions. The app also offers advice on managing workspace and concentration, and promotes physical health with notifications for active breaks, stretching exercises and daily quizzes. 

The 2nd team to stand on the podium was Team JM, with their innovative platform called Meetrock. A solution that combines new Social, Machine Learning and AI technologies to let you and your colleagues organize, join and enjoy a unique experience both inside and outside the office. 

With Meetrock you can easily create any type of event you want and let other people join with zero effort and no spam emails. Once the event is finished, every participant can send a report about the organizer and other participants to let Bitrock HR know if anything went wrong, guaranteeing continuous improvement and making the event always better than the previous one.

The last project we want to talk about is Social Buddy Bot, developed from 42 Monkeys, ranked third at Bitrock Smart Hackathon. 

Social Buddy Bot is an application that helps remote coworkers socialize. It’s integrated in the mainly used communication platforms and it uses AI to engage coworkers to do activities together. 

The activity of users is analyzed and, based on interactions, the system interacts with them: in case of a low rate of interaction, the system asks if everything is ok, trying to make the participants interact with others. The aim of this bot is to make people more used to remote work interaction and, given the appropriate amount of time.

Taking stock of our first virtual hackathon, we are really happy to have organized this type of event… we don’t want to spoil too much, but stay tuned to discover the next news we have in store for you!

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Kafka summit 2023 Blog Post

The Kafka Summit 2023, held recently, brought together a diverse group of professionals, enthusiasts, and experts in the field of data streaming and event-driven architectures. This year’s summit was an exceptional gathering, filled with insightful discussions, cutting-edge demonstrations, and valuable networking opportunities. Of course, the Bitrock’s Engineering team couldn’t miss to attend it and to share the key insights from the event.

During the keynote presentation, Jay Kreps, Confluent Co-founder & CEO, presented a rundown of enhancements coming to Kafka over the next year and beyond.

After the Zookeeper removal in favor of KRaft (KIP-866) available from Confluent Platform 7.4.0, another big surprise announced is the KIP-932 Queues for Kafka which allows many consumers to read from the same partition, enabling use cases like the classic pub sub-queues. This will be made possible thanks to the introduction of share groups and acknowledgment of single records in Kafka Consumer protocol.

Jay also unveiled Confluent’s Kora Engine, the Apache Kafka engine built for the cloud. Kora is the engine that powers Confluent Cloud as a cloud-native, 10x Kafka service, bringing GBps+ elastic scaling, guaranteed reliability, and predictable low latency to 30K+ clusters worldwide.

Another important announcement made at Kafka Summit 2023 in London, is the upcoming Apache Flink-powered stream processing offering in Confluent Cloud, expected in winter 2023. The recent acquisition of Immerok by Confluent has positioned this data streaming giant to offer both streaming storage (via Apache Kafka) and streaming computation (via Apache Flink) capabilities.

After the keynote, the Bitrock’s Engineering team attended different talks during the summit, a very interesting one presented and explained the benefits of the new consumer rebalancing protocol, KIP-848: The Next Generation of the Consumer Rebalance Protocol .

The current rebalancing protocol has different issues, one is definitely that most of the logic is client side (fat client), for example, session timeouts and intervals are defined client side, but its main pain point is that the current protocol will stop processing new messages (strop the world) when executing a rebalancing. Fault group members might cause issues to the whole consumer group. The new protocol is based on three design goals in mind: Server side, Consumer Protocol and Incremental. The new reconciliation protocol has 3 main phases:

  • The group coordinator server side will receive the partition assignment from the members and compute the new assignment for the partitions due to a new member.
  • The group coordinator communicates which partitions should be revoked and the consumer acknowledges.
  • The partition can be assigned to the new member of the consumer group.

During the evening party, our colleagues enjoyed a beer and international foods while attending the performance by Sam Aaron, Live Coding Musician and Creator of Sonic Pi with his futuristic music sets improvised through the manipulation of live code.

The Kafka Summit 2023 was an outstanding event that showcased the advancements and future directions of the Kafka ecosystem which continues to be a driving force in enabling real-time data streaming and event-driven architectures in an increasingly data-centric world.

For sure we will not miss next year's edition! If you’d like to get more details about the Kafka Summit 2023, we invite you to also read the article from our sister company, Radicalbit.

Authors: Matteo Gazzetta, Team Lead Engineering at Bitrock and Daniele Bonelli, Team Lead Engineering at Bitrock

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On May 16, we had the great pleasure to attend the 10th edition of the Cloud Conf 2023 held in Turin. A gathering of cloud computing enthusiasts had the opportunity to network, engage and establish connections with like-minded professionals from around the globe. 

Throughout the conference, a wide range of topics from Scalability, IoT, Machine Learning, Container, Microservices, Automation, Serverless Architecture to Cloud Security were covered in interactive workshops and technical sessions. In this report, we will delve deeper into the key takeaways and notable sessions from the conference highlighting insights and emerging trends shaping the cloud landscape.

The first keynote was ‘Developer Joy – How great teams get s%*t done’ by Sven Peters, Developer Advocate @ Atlassian. The main goal was to answer the question ‘what makes a team of developers more productive and happier? All considerations lead to the concept that the "joy of the developer" is the right intersection of his or her quality, progress, and values.

In the second keynote ‘From complexity to observability using OpenTelemetry’, Danilo Poccia, Chief Evangelist (EMEA) @ Amazon Web Services, showed through an end-to-end example how to use OpenTelemetry to instrument and collect telemetry data such as traces and metrics to build observable applications.

Another talk focused on cloud security was the one by Rob Barnes Senior Developer Advocate @ HashiCorp: “Migrating your security mindset to the cloud”. Barnes showed how to implement symmetric and asymmetric encryption of your application data. 

In the following sessions, many other topics were discussed. Just to name a few, Anahit Pogosova, Lead Cloud Software Engineer @ Solita, presented in her interesting talk ‘The Hidden Hero Behind the Serverless Superstar or Top 5 Cool Things Lambda Can Do For You’, how to implement and tune asynchronous architecture built in the Amazon cloud using Kinesis and Lambda technologies.

Ruben Casas, Staff Engineer @ Postman, in his speech ‘Micro-Frontends: The Evolution of Frontend Architecture’, guided us through the evolution of frontend application at scale analyzing the difference between monoliths, monorepos and MicroFrontends. 

We must highlight other contributions from Alberto Massidda, Production engineer @ Meta (Facebook) with his talk on ‘ChatGPT: Large Language Models explained well’ and Abdel Sghiouar, Cloud Developer Advocate @ Google Cloud on how to ‘Secure your software supply chain from dependencies to deployment’.

Once again, Cloud Conf 2023 in Turin was undoubtedly a resounding success, providing a platform for learning, collaboration, and inspiration. It showcased the incredible potential of cloud computing and its transformative impact on industries worldwide offering a comprehensive overview of the current state and future prospects of cloud computing. 

Are you interested in learning more about their rich lineup of keynotes speakers and the captivating Cloud Conf 2023 program? We invite you to visit their website https://2023.cloudconf.it/ for all the details and to learn from the best!

Keep following us on our Blog and social media channels to discover our upcoming events!

Author: Danilo Ventura, Senior Software Engineer at Bitrock.

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Bitrock Hackathon

The Bitrock Smart Hackathon is finally here!

We’re thrilled to present the first edition of our virtual hackathon, organized in partnership with our sister company ProActivity.

Our hackathon is dedicated to all coding lovers: there’s no need to know a specific programming language, we only ask for passion and creativity!

The participants - divided into teams - will deal with the challenge remotely, but they will have the opportunity to get to know each other in person during the amazing Pitching & Awarding Event at Museo della Scienza e della Tecnologia in Milan.

If you already have a work group (of friends or colleagues), feel free to register along with them. But you can also participate alone: in this case, we’ll assign you a team to join. 

Bitrock Hackathon

The Challenge 

At Bitrock we strongly believe in the efficiency and proficiency that remote and agile working can bring to every business. Indeed, we have adopted remote working since its first appearance on the Italian job market.

However, we are aware of the possible negative effects of remote working on employees. More specifically, the most common highlighted problems are the feeling of isolation, the loss of a sense of belonging to a team (especially for new hires), and the lack of effective sharing relations with their colleagues. 

Working in an office is full of spontaneous moments that allow you to interact with others. Remotely is not that easy: there are no hallway conversations or having coffee with colleagues.

Human connection is essential, not only for work productivity, but more importantly for mental well-being.

For todays’ businesses it is thus imperative to create spaces and opportunities for their employees to connect and create relations, and technology can play a fundamental role in this mission.

And here’ s how the challenge was born!

During the event, all participants will have to develop a smart tool to help employees that work remotely maintain social relations, stay motivated and collaborate with their colleagues.

Some examples? An interactive platform through which employees can have a “virtual coffee” and take a break together, or an App that allows you to connect with your colleagues in a fun way by organizing virtual games or other specific activities.

In addition, we strongly believe that a topic regarding the world of work and possible ways to improve it could really motivate all participants: those who are not working yet, those who have just started working, and those who have  already been working for a while. 

The perks of joining

In order to motivate the competing teams,  our virtual hackathon showcases a total prize pool of 10.000 Euro for the top three projects.

However, there are many other reasons to participate, including incredible networking opportunities: both during the competition and at the closing event, indeed, you will have the chance to meet and have fun with your friends and colleagues,  as well as with other developers like you, not to mention Bitrock and ProActivity’s team members.

Moreover, our experienced Professionals, in the role of Mentors, will support you throughout the whole project by giving you and your teammates constant feedback - which will allow you to improve your skills and learn some ropes.

To sum up: a prize up for grabs, an interesting and inspiring challenge, and a great occasion to enlarge your network.

Isn’t this enough? There’s still something in store for you: we are organizing a special Pitching & Awarding Event for all participants! The party will take place in an exclusive and inspirational location: the Museo Nazionale Scienza e Tecnologia in Milan, on 6th of June.

Bitrock Hackathon

Special thanks to Kreativdistrikt for the support in organising and running the virtual event.

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Last week we organized an exciting  Bootcamp in partnership with SheTech, focused on ReactJs.

The aim of this bootcamp was the same of the previous ones:  giving young girls and women a concrete opportunity to get closer to the world of programming, and fill the skill mismatch that is - unfortunately - still high in the STEM sector.

Thanks to word of mouth and dedicated sponsoring activities, we succeeded in involving 30 participants, most of them women, passionate about programming and with the desire to enrich their own skills and knowledge.

After an initial briefing on the Front-end scenario and a presentation about Bitrock’s value proposition, participants could finally begin to put their hands on their laptops and start working.

All the groups were guided and supported by our Mentors (including Leonardo, one of the previous bootcamp’s participants, who joined the Bitrock team a few months ago) in an exercise based on ReactJs with the final goal of creating a Memory (card  game).

SheTech_Bootcamp_2
SheTech_Bootcamp_3

To get all participants more involved and increase the knowledge of the Bitrock brand, we launched a challenge: the funniest Instagram stories would win a special prize and, at the end of the event, we were  glad to announce four winners! 

After almost five hours of programming, the bootcamp ended with an interesting Q&A and feedback session, characterized by an open discussion on all touched points and topics.

As in the past bootcamps, it was a really useful moment for us, since we received different tips to improve future events. We can’t wait to put them into practice!

We are proud of this small step towards a major objective: bridging the gender gap in STEM and supporting women in the world of technology, entrepreneurship and digital. We will continue to organize events like this to help create an inclusive and inspiring work environment for everyone.

Follow us on our social media profiles to stay updated on our next events!

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WebSummit

The Journey Begins

A few weeks ago, the WebSummit 2022 event took place in Lisbon, and the Bitrock Team was there! The party was assembled and the mission clear: we left Milan last 30th October, early in the morning, and reached our destination a few hours later.

We landed and, after leaving the terminal, we realized how important this event was. A huge WebSummit logo was there, beside one of the entrances, waiting for us, as if it was saying: “Hello guys, you’re in the right place, welcome! It’s going to be a great time”. It wasn’t over: outside, a nice WebSummit pavilion had been set up.

After registration and check-in, we got our badges and bought some tickets for public transportation at a great discount! After dropping luggage at our place, we were free to visit the city as we had some time to spend just as tourists. 

After a quick round-trip of the city, it’s now time for the event and its rich schedule!

Day 1

The day one schedule started late in the afternoon. The event took place at the Altice Arena

whilst on the next days the activities were scattered among different pavilions in the same area.

When we arrived, the view was astounding: a lot of people, from all around the world, were waiting to be allowed in. Journalists, entrepreneurs, sponsors, developers, speakers: everyone was there, waiting for the main show to begin. 

For the day, the organization had invited few important personalities that were going to 

give their speech to the audience. 

The stage was spectacular and colorful, and everyone was ready. After a quick introduction by Paddy Cosgrave (founder) the real show began!

Then, Carlos Moedas, Mayor of the city, was introduced to the stage: he warmly welcomed the audience to Lisbon and to the event itself. His speech was interesting and inspiring: he told us how surrounding himself with the right people allowed him to accomplish great things for the city, even though many others were thinking that those things were impossible to do. He also presented Lisbon’s UnicornFactory, an organization boosting startups to scale and learn how to innovate. 

As the Mayor claimed, “innovation is not an idea but is the process that turns that idea into jobs, growth and prosperity”. Therefore, UnicornFactory helps startups begin their journey and turn their ideas into a tangible reality, something that is beneficial for as many people as possible!

Afterwards, it was time for another politician to make his appearance to the stage: Antonio Costa, Portugal’s Minister of Economy, who told us how the Country is investing into technology and innovation with a big plan, spanning over the next four years, about attracting startups with the goal to become an international hub for such companies. 

He promoted Portugal as the right place to be for the tech business, as a steady stream of money is going to be invested, and a dedicated set of laws is about to be passed to ease this process. It seems his claims are for a good reason, as Lisbon has been chosen to host the European Startups Nations Alliance! 

In his speech, he also mentioned how technology and innovation are much needed to help us find solutions to some of the biggest problems of our times (such as the threats caused by climate change, pollution, resources over-consumption), and how Portugal wants to be a leader in helping with solving those problems.

Then it was the time for Lisa Jackson, Apple's VP of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, and Changpeng Zhao, Binance’s Co-founder and CEO, to take their place on the stage. They both were interviewed, describing their business to the audience, and providing their point of view on different topics.

Finally, the stage’s lights changed into two colors that all of us have seen many times on the news during the last months: blue and yellow, the Ukrainian flag’s colors. It was time for Olena Zelensky to enter the stage and tell the audience about the dramatic times her country and its people are living in. She shared with us the technological effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine: “The dystopias we read about in science fiction novels and all the threats of destroying life are much closer than you think. We heard it in Ukraine because of Russian terror, because Russia puts technology in the service of terror." Zelensky said the technology is now a "battleground" in Russia's invasion of Ukraine and she described how drones and missiles are killing families. 

She wanted to give the same message to everyone who was there - from founders to 

startups, executives, engineers, and journalists: technology should be used to save people rather than destroy them: “I believe in technologies that save, not destroy. I believe that such technologies are the future. Because otherwise there is simply no future in the whole world. You are the powerful intellectual force that moves the world. The potential and technology that can help, not destroy are in your hands. And it is with Ukraine and right now that you can move the world in the right direction”.

With her powerful message, day one came to an end: WebSummit was officially opened!

Day 2

From day two, the event entered the heart of its agenda, and each pavilion was in turmoil: the booths of companies, large and small, attracted the participants with their lights and sets, gadgets, prize games, and the possibility of speaking with their staff and discovering their products and solutions.

Over the entire event, hundreds - if not thousands - of companies showed up: from small startups striving to find a place in the IT market (ALPHA), to the ones that already made their name known and received additional funds (BETA), to those that have grown larger and larger and are now established realities (GROWTH).

Among the latter ones, we were happy and proud to see Amity, an IaaS startup that enables companies to increase engagement in their apps or website by adding pre-built social features: chat, profiles, fortunes, feed, video stories and all. There’s quite a bit of Italy in the company, as their face-person at the event was Francesca Gargaglia, and they also have an office in Milan, our city!

Of course, WebSummit is not only about companies, but mainly people, as Paddy Cosgrave made clear during day one, when he asked everyone in the audience to stand up and get to know the two or three fellow attendees that were around them.

Being about people also means sharing ideas, which is something they did well: indeed, a lot of speeches and seminaries took place during the event. Honestly, it was impossible to attend all of them, even if we tried to split up.

Here’s a short list of the speeches we enjoyed the most, and that we would like to share:

  • Chris Anderson, TED curator, with his mantra Ideas worth sharing, gave an interesting speech about “reflection on how the internet should be incentivizing constructive behavior other than only focusing on monetization”.
  • In UI/UX trends in 2023 and beyond, various speakers discussed the key ingredients in creating a seamless, intuitive customer experience. They also explored anticipated UI and UX trends for 2023.
  • Alexa's next AI trick: Disappearing: in this session, Rohit Prasad, Alexa’s head scientist, explains how a philosophy of 'ambient intelligence' is driving the development of AI that blends invisibly into our environment, helping you when you need it and disappearing when you don’t.

Day 3

The sun was up again, and a brand-new day could start. We got up, prepared, and dressed for 

the occasion: day 3 was about to begin! After a delicious breakfast (thanks pasteis de nata) we were back to the Altice Arena and its surroundings. 

Pretty much as day 2, the place was crowded, full of voices speaking languages from all over the world, and the atmosphere was joyful. People were running to get their seat for the next speech. Occasionally, people wearing the Ukrainian flag could be seen, supporting their loved ones in these hard times.

More companies were showing up as a rotation happened, and their employees now took place in the stands that were assigned to others the day before.

Again, here’s a short list of speeches we would like to mention:

  • Hiring and retaining talent in a remote world: one of the hottest subjects for companies nowadays was covered by Matias Roca, Founder of Kuorum, who talked about how to find, hire, and retain talents.
  • Edge-first: Decentralize the web!: Guillermo Rauch, Vercel’s founder and CEO, told us about how few locations are responsible of the availability of digital services all around the world, and what are the reasons and ways to move out of the situation by removing this huge bottleneck.
  • Rethinking how the internet is built: the internet was designed as a democratic platform to facilitate the free exchange of information, open communication, and privacy. Clearly the actual reality is not meeting expectations that well! Andy Yen and Brendan Eich share their ideas on how to try and break the circle.
  • Nations need digital sovereignty: after leaping into digital, nations face unprecedented complexity from cyber threats, surveillance and uncertainty in their software supply chains. Ian Tien, Mattermost’s Co-Founder and CEO, told us about the key risks, the principles of defense, and how open-source communities are innovating to create robust new solutions for digital sovereignty.
  • The Language Roast: this one was great, perfect for developers like us! Every programming language has its pros and cons: with the right mix of coding science and jokes, Gautam Rege talked about what he feels about a few languages out there. Let the roast begin! 
  • The Power of Geolocation: in this session, Anna Sainsbury shared insights on the threat of fraud, on digital identity in the multibillion-dollar gaming industry, and on how geolocation and advanced machine learning are setting the new standard in establishing true digital identity and trust.

Day 4

As all things, even good ones come to an end. Our last day at the WebSummit began.

Less people seemed to be around: most likely, many had already packed their stuff and got back home. However, the pavilions were still in motion and there were plenty of things to do and see.

Here’s a quick summary of what we found interesting on the last day:

  • MongoDB Stand, the guys at this stand were simply amazing! Passion spilled from their eyes as they engaged us by telling stories of what working at MongoDB and working with their product looks like. We also had the chance to attend a couple lectures hosted at their stand and held by engineers working for them. We enjoyed a lesson about the advanced usage of the browser console as well as a very nice, humorous, and brilliant story of many programming languages and tools and how their story ended or continues up to these days. Congrats Jesse Hall and Joe Drumgoole for their noteworthy speeches, and a special thanks to Diego Freniche Brito and Jorge Ortiz for their availability and friendliness.
  • How to play games and save the world: saving the world from the climate crisis is not a game, but sometimes playing games can help us achieve our goals. This one makes no exception! In this discussion, we heard about how the games industry can help solve the challenge.
  • The metaverse and the future of the internet: will we exit the internet and enter the metaverse? Or will the two exist, side by side, in a more immersive, symbiotic, 3D-experience? Naomi Gleit, Meta's head of product, shared her thoughts on what the future has in store for us.
  • Debunking the great AI lie: even if the event was about to end, surprises were not over. In this speech, we had the chance to listen to the voice of a great personality: Noam Chomsky, the father of modern linguistics, who joined Gary Marcus (scientist, author, and entrepreneur) for a wide-ranging discussion on why the myths surrounding AI are so dangerous, the inadvisability of relying on artificial intelligence tech as a world-saver, and where it all went wrong. Clearly, not the typical conversation a person is used to: we were very lucky to be there!

One more thing worth a mention was the final “speech” of the event. Indeed, the final greeting to all those who attended WebSummit was given by an incredible person: a guy full of energy and positive thoughts that made everyone laugh. A comedian? Absolutely not! We are talking about Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Portugal’s President.

What a surprise this 74-year-old man has been: not the typical politician with the usual bla bla. He was brilliant and perfectly fitting among all the other event’s attendees. He showed great enthusiasm about WebSummit, reaching the seventh edition (despite the pandemic and the war), with more than 70k attendees (42% women)!

In the wake of this enthusiasm and energy, he set a few goals for the next year (and for the years to come) for all of us: stop the war, contribute to Ukraine’s reconstruction, fight inflation and the economic crisis that is threatening many countries and, most important, try and solve climate change.

After this speech, WebSummit 2022 closed its doors. For us, and the rest of the audience, it was time to go back to our homes, bringing back a bunch of new ideas, inspirations, connections and start building the future.

As Mr. President wants 🙂

Goodbye WebSummit, goodbye Lisbon... thanks for everything!

Author: Daniele Chiarello, Team Lead User-experience & Front-end Engineering @ Bitrock

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SheTech Breakfast Bitrock

Fortitude Group  strongly believes in gender equality and encourages inclusiveness and enhancement of differences.

For these reasons, all the companies of the Group are partners of SheTech, a non-profit association created with the aim of filling the gender gap in the world of technology, digital and entrepreneurship, through networking, empowerment and training activities.

In the past, we organized different types of events in collaboration with SheTech and, finally, last 24th November we had our first in-person breakfast, after two virtual editions.

The breakfast was the occasion to learn from our Role Models that have made a successful career out of their passion for technology. A very special thanks goes to Samantha Giro, Marinella Mastrosimone and Ginevra Grassi for sharing their personal & professional stories, being a precious source of inspiration for many young girls and women who want to enter the STEM world.

We admit that it was a surprise also for us, colleagues from the Bitrock team,  even if we already knew them: the passion and emotion that we saw in their eyes really struck us. In this blog article, we would like to share some ideas that we have found particularly enlightening and useful for all the women who work in - or  want to enter - the Tech world!

Integrate and not differentiate 

The STEM sector is indeed, according to the data, more masculine than feminine. However, this should not be a reason for the masculinization of female professionals who decide to enter it and make their own contribution.

On the contrary!

First of all, women should recognize their typical characteristics and then import them into the working context in which they are, not letting that define their behavior.

Typically feminine features such as empathy, multitasking and intuitiveness are fundamental qualities in today's business, whatever sector it is. 

On the other hand, it’s wrong to reject the masculine elements: a lot of them, like rationality, strength and assertiveness, should be internalized.

Therefore, in the STEM sector and more generally in the world of work, a progressive integration and enhancement of feminine and masculine traits should happen: this enriches and completes the professional figures of whatever gender they are.

Listen to your instincts and learn to follow gut feelings… sometimes 

During the interview, our Role Models talked about personal and emotional aspects too. A topic that emerged several times was instinct.

Considering today's data in the STEM sector, it’s normal to be curious about the women’s reasons for choosing to work in it.

By telling their stories, our colleagues have demonstrated that often the situations we live in - both professional and personal -  derive from casual events and intuitive decisions.

In this way Samantha started her career  in the Mobile sector, Ginevra switched from being an architect to being UI designer, and Marinella often orientated herself by following "gut feelings" rather than logical thinking.

Three women, three professionals who demonstrate that success is not only determined by rigid calculations but it should be supported by flashes of creativity and instinct too.

Love what you do and you can do everything

An increasingly current problem is the mental load: a psychological overload caused by the sum of work, domestic and family thoughts. Working women are probably the most exposed category to this problem, partly due to the typical tendency to have everything under control and partly due to the socio-cultural heritage that female figures still have today.

Asking our Role Models how they deal with this dynamic, this is what emerged: love what you do and do what you love so as to be satisfied and able to manage all aspects of your life.

Obviously, it's easier said than done, but it's a good start.

Another way to succeed in content switching is to ask for help both at work and in private not thinking that this indicates incompetence - remember that the ability to delegate and prioritize are two of the key skills of all successful managers!

The first in-person breakfast was truly a success and brought out important aspects that need to be considered in every company. 

At Bitrock we have values ​​that reflect the key messages that emerged during the event.

We are committed to implementing them daily through a Leadership Model that envisages a series of dedicated actions, with the final goal of shaping an inclusive, supportive workplace, where effective communication and cross-team collaboration play a crucial role.

For these reasons, our collaboration with SheTech is so important and stimulates us to continuous improvement.

We now have many other events planned, first of all the coding bootcamp that will take place on January 28th focused on React, in which our colleagues (and their skills) will be at the disposal of those wishing to try their hand at a tech challenge... Stay tuned to know more!

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