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Predict the future at #TNW2017

On 18th and 19th of May, the biggest tech conference in Europe, held by The Next Web, took place in Amsterdam. Over 20,000 visitors from all over the world, came together to listen and speak about the future of tech.

Also team Kobi was there to get inspired about our future. And furthermore, to attend the announcing of the European tech30.

Kobi Digital was announced #20 fastest-growing young tech company in Europe!


The grand opening at 10 o'clock in the morning was fueled by a massive disco ball tons of confetti.The conference grounds were huge. My phone was filled with ‘Where are you?’ -’I’m at the small stage, left front. Where are you guys?’ from my colleagues. The impressive stages, the many organic food trucks, young and ambitious people and a laid-back atmosphere gave the impression of a music festival. A festival where the brightest stars from the tech industry predict our future.




The Dome (media & marketing stage) was by far the most popular stage. People were willing to take the risk to wait in the long line before the entrance to get a chance that they were might able to see one of the talks of one of the speakers there. One of the speakers was Taryn Southern; content creator, digital strategist and YouTube personality. Taryn says the best way to predict the future is to create it. According to her, a good message is not the most important point for a start-up. Instead, to discover new tools and to start to understand them. Then, find a problem and figure out how to solve the problem with new tools, such as Brain-Computer Interface or Augmented Reality. The rest of the day me and my colleagues have been looking for a problem and a solution.




As Taryn advised, we went looking for a solution for our problem. -Which was; Who do I need to hear next? There were so many interesting choices. I was hoping to find the solution at the AI talk of YouTuber and data scientist Siraj Raval. However, Siraj's talk was much more of a warning. According to him, we must prevent governments and corporations from controlling the societies using AI.


The result can cause manipulation in our system. For example, think of an AI that looks like an important politician and broadcasts fake news through video. And second but not least, threats of annihilation. We do not have to be afraid of AI robots that will destroy us, but for those who create those robots. In order to prevent this superpower, we need to understand AI better and talk about it. Organizations like Microsoft, Google and GoodAI are already working on projects to bring AI closer to us, humans. By making AI negotiable, we make sure that we as a human being continue to determine what becomes the boundary of AI. That sounds like an important solution to me.


Polaroid with the big man himself, Boris van Zanten, CEO The Next Web.



To get over my new-found fear of AI, I decided to follow a workshop that got described with a lot of humor and innovation on day two. Hosted by Alex Katz and Javi Iñiguez De Onzoño, both co-founders of an ad agency and the genius creative brain behind the Pornhub virals. No, not the virals that you might think about, anonymous reader.


The problem that the brand faced was the inability to advertise on popular media channels due to the explicit subject. To solve this problem, they have created different videos with two recurring components.

Innovation and humor -The formula for a viral. The brilliant idea to make something unobtrusive is yet to be discussed with innovation and humor has been successful. The fact that every created video had been picked up successfully by the media and went viral and them speaking at the TNW conference are all just signs of their winning formula.


Since it was a workshop, the two gents asked the public now to make their own viral. The assigned topic was Transphobia, with virtual reality as a technology.

In two minutes my colleague and I have been able to make some notes, although we wished for more time to develop our concept.The workshop had so much positive energy that the time has flown. With new insights, we went out for some bites and last but not least, the after party that got everyone's feet off the ground.



Overall, the 12th edition of the conference was a big success. It was, as the Dutch would say, a ‘gezellige’ conference that attracted many inspirational young entrepreneurs. I still do not know how the future of AI will unfold. It wouldn’t surprise me if in 10 years we all walk with a chip in our body as replacement of the smartphone. The other kind of technologies that the “Next Web” will offspring remain a mystery.

What I did learn is that it is important to understand technology and for entrepreneurs to truly embrace it. For someone who wants to start a new business, I have devised the following formula based on the conference:

  1. Find yourself a problem
  2. Evaluate solutions
  3. Solve a solution with humor
  4. Select the technology (or build it!)
  5. Create and spread the word
  6. Become a speaker at The next Web Conference next year.


What is your formula? Let us know!




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