TakeOff conference: A technical review of an international tech conference in Lille.

Feb 7, 2013
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The following post is a guest review by an attendee, Quentin Adam, and speaker, Thomas Parisot, of the TakeOff Conference, which took place two weeks ago in Lille as one of the first international tech conferences in France taking place outside of Paris. Enjoy.

takeoff_badge-300x224The TakeOff conference just ended for the first time in Lille (you know, the North pole in France)… and it was great ! It is the result of hard working friends willing to host international speakers in better conditions than if it had been located in Paris.

This first edition has been scheduled on a 2-days hybrid basis: single track in the morning for a broad range of topics, dual track in the afternoon for technical domains of skills.
A hint about the content and its quality was the venue: Euratechnologies. This 5 years old tech incubator has been initiated in an abandoned textile factory by local representatives. We’ve talked with some startups during the Thursday night party and they confirmed us the seriousness and the efficiency of this place. Yet an example to be reproduced in other top economical cities in France.

TakeOff invited high end speakers like @dN0t (Rob Spectre from Twillio) about Product Oriented Programming. This talk is the confirmation of the editorial orientation of the conference : technical skills to solve real business problem; a very interesting insight for startup oriented way of thinking. Lots of talks praised the good usage of noSQL technologies like @simonVC from Basho about the more and more popular riak database. Other talks covered serious business aspects: scalability with cloud providers, automated deployment, productivity tools or Web frontend libraries meant for better quality, better code reuse and faster application development. @aeden showed off the great power of Erlang and its bit schema network parsing. In a new world of application based on various protocols and relying on realtime data processing, this can be very useful.

Hardware hacking is definitively rising in the community of developers: @asciidisco played music with a custom controller, Arduino and Node.js; an AR drone flew in the auditorium, controlled by node.js server and live streaming inside a webpage… The new playground is fun, well demoed and is only a beginning in a new area of products where developers have both great power and responsibilities.

Not only the panel of speakers was great, but the audience was a passionate diversity of 11 nationalities practicing a bunch of development languages. It is an extreme pleasure to talk about their own experience, of living abroad, tech life in Europe, organizational expectations or even how to organize a tech conference with a geographically dispatched team!

It’s a big pleasure to see the tech ecosystem doing some great conf in France, especially outside of Paris, showing the dynamism and creativity of all the country. The sad point is : lots of local people, good proportion of foreign peoples, but just a few french guy coming from all the country. Do French guys like to travel in France?