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Spark.me 2018, sparking the world from Budva, Montenegro

Our first day in the beautiful city of Budva, Montenegro, which is sometimes called also the Monaco of the Balkans couldn’t be better. The Spark.me 2018 edition kicked-off in style as always with an inspiring speaker line-up that packed the auditorium of the Hotel Mediteran again this year, with over 400+ people present and not a single seat available.

The internet is just the beginning

Sanja Gardasevic and Vladimir Vulic, kicked off the conference while welcoming the guests and announcing the first keynote speaker, Mark Schafer who talked about how technology is becoming a human behaviour and how basically as humans today we don’t see, listen or read ads and commercials anymore on tv, radio, newspaper … and even social media! “In last 10 years, trust in advertising and brands has declined.  We don’t see ads anymore, even when we see them we don’t trust them anymore. Who do people trust? Their friends.” said Mark, while emphasizing that the most Human company will win the digital marketing race. “The Internet is just the beginning”.

How to get & keep attention? Make ballsy content, of course, was an important part of the next speech by Jon Burkhart, a Speaker, Author, Innovation Guy and many more exciting things. Xenia Tchoumi – “The Power of Staying Connected” was the next talk of the day, talking about the power of staying connected and being online and speaking to people, basically creating a snowball effect. “This over time became my full-time job.”

I wanted to become technology!

Neil Harbisson & Moon Ribas “Cyborg Art” was part of the next speech focused on basically pushing art beyond boundaries. “I didn’t want to use technology. I wanted to become technology.” – said Neil Harbisson, basically the first human cyborg. It is said that he basically brought a Newton’s theory in reality: hearing colors and distinguishing colors from the sound. Neil shared his story how he was born totally color-blind, seeing in grey scale and since it’s impossible to ignore colors, he now distinguishes colors thru sounds (even beyond the limit of the visible spectrum). “In the future, the Internet may not be used as a communication tool only, but also as a sensory extension.” – said Neil. The stage was then occupied by Moon Ribas, who talked about her ability to feeling the Earth with a seismograph implant.

The earth is our spaceship!

Kerry O’Shea Gorgone talked about the “The Secret to Memorable Marketing: Lessons from 300 MarketingProfs Podcast Interviews”, and who basically had a message around how she didn’t dream about becoming a digital marketer one day, but she loves what she does; while the closing keynote was held by Mike Massimino, who was basically the first guy to tweet from space and who shared some exciting details about how he was rejected three times before finally getting accepted to NASA. “The earth is our spaceship and we’ve got to take care of it”.

Like in the previous years, the Spark.me conference switched to the Startup Competition, which hosted a bunch of exciting startups to compete for a place at TechCrunch Disrupt. Some of them included Marleq, a platform for coach mentoring, Hoteo, Top Digital Agency, zVision and more. Marleq, Hoteo and Top Digital Agency were then selected as the top finalists for the final day of Spark.me 2018.

Day 2 of Spark.me 2018, promises even more exciting sessions and panels. Stay tuned for more.