When I held the first PragueCrunch in 2008 I didn’t expect much. I loved the city but I wasn’t sure what sort of start-up ecosystem it had. But, in those strange days when live streaming was still a clever trick (don’t try finding those streams. Technology changed so fast that they essentially evaporated) and money was contracting, I found everything about the Czech Republic amazing. The people were friendly and had some amazing ideas and their energy was infectious.
Fast forward to today and the same energy is almost everywhere. I could land in Taipei or Sydney or Anchorage and find cool people doing cool things and hoping to grab the brass ring. Sometimes it seems that it’s too much, this theatre of entrepreneurship, but I know that in all these places the goal is genuine and pure: people want to change the world, whether that means making a new taxi app or building a system to make sure your doctor’s hands are clean. But nowhere is that energy more apparent than in Prague.
Last night’s event shows us how far all of us have come. The pitches were more polished and better rehearsed. The ideas were solid. And the technology was cooler. Take Jeffrey Martin of 360Cities, for example. When we held our second event he took a panoramic shot of PragueCrunch from the ground. The image was pretty darn cool for the time and showed just a glimpse of what we would see in the next few years as cameras began recreating these images in high def. This is PragueCrunch in 2009:
This time Martin flew a drone over PragueCrunch, taking shots at 10 meters and 50 meters. The results are breathtaking. The photos are crisp and beautifully colored and the detail is amazing and it shows the entire panorama of a vibrant, effusive city. It’s a great example of how far we’ve all come.
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Prague Crunch 3 (2014) from 10 meters up in Prague
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Prague Crunch 3 (2014) from 50 meters up in Prague
So thanks, Prague, for making this event a success. And thanks to the techies all over the world who are turning the engines of commerce, politics, art, and science and who, for a few hours, filled the venue with amazing pitches, great conversations, and an energy that shows that from the ground we’re making waves but from 50 meters up we’re changing the world.