Cardiff may be a small city but it certainly knows how to put on a good show. The beautiful Wales Millenium Centre in Cardiff Bay was jam-packed with exhibitors, speakers, workshops and discussions with attendees ranging from wannabe start-ups to big business moguls, politicians to street food vendors.
Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies featured highly on the agenda, which seems hugely different to DigitalFest 2017 where the only mention of blockchain I heard was by accident sitting at the back of a small presentation drinking my coffee. It was obvious from the discussions that most people have no idea what it is or how it works. Thankfully the consensus was that most people don't need to, in the same way that most people don't know how their mobile phone works, you can remain blissfully unaware whilst blockchain technology is working away in the background, quietly de-centralising your data storage.
The most interesting and useful parts of conferences for me are always the interactive workshops and round-table discussions. I'm in good company because these sessions were well attended. Sadly the layout let us down and what was probably envisaged as an open space, open discussion, was more like, well, trying to hold a workshop in a busy corridor. Nevertheless I managed to take plenty away from it all; how social enterprises can harness digital for the greater good, lessons to be learned from digital innovations in rural Africa, Richard Theo's tips on being an entrepreneur, and how we deal with some of the darker side of digital; fake news, propaganda, online gambling addiction, cyberbullying, data and privacy. All of which will be appearing in my resources for YETI and MIA in the very near future!