I’m in Moscow, on my way to meet Dmitry Repin at the Digital October Centre, a new technology and technology entrepreneurship agency that hosts international conferences and workshops.
After we get two coffees and have settled into one of the centre’s many conference rooms, I ask Dmitry what sets Digital October apart from other tech agencies. “First and foremost, our team,” says Dmitry without hesitation. “When we launched Digital October three years ago, we started small, just the three of us. Now we’ve grown to about 35 people, but they are almost all friends or friends of friends. This makes for a very solid basis for cooperation and growth.”
And as an afterthought, he adds with a smile: “I guess it also explains our tagline ‘a place, where great content meets great people’.”
“It’s like that famous Russian saying,” I say, “‘Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are’.”
“Exactly,” says Dmitry. “We’re very careful about how we position ourselves, which is why it’s very important to be sure of the people working for the brand. In the end they are the ones who convey our mission to a wider audience.”
“So actually, what is your mission?” I ask. “What sets you apart from other agencies?”
“I think our emphasis on education and media is definitely a distinguishing factor,” he says. “We are constantly organising workshops, lecture series and exchanges between global technology leaders and local audiences, all with the aim of stimulating exchange and driving technology education.”
“Can you give me an example of one of your education projects?”
“Knowledge Stream is definitely the most exciting project we have on that front at the moment: we describe it as ‘a year-long conference’. In fact it is a distance-learning project featuring telecast lectures from leading laboratories and universities around the world. Its main aim is to introduce Russian audiences to the latest global developments in the field of science and business and stimulate debate among audiences and speakers.
“Then there is also Tech Crunch Moscow, a massive tech event that we’ve been hosting annually for several years now and where all the trends, latest developments and ‘hot’ topics in the field of IT and digital media are showcased. Besides presentations by some of the world’s leading technology entrepreneurs, there is also a start-up pitch competition and lots of interesting debates around the latest themes in digital media. Over the years, this has really grown to be the event on Moscow’s digital scene.”
“Sounds like there’s a lot of interesting stuff going on and the tech community is really buzzing here in Moscow. So what’s the next step? Have you got plans to go global?”
“In the long term yes, but for now we are focusing on Russia as we understand this market better,” says Dmitry. “But we’re not stopping here. Once we have solidly established ourselves as the best in Russia, we want to be the best in Europe, and, who knows, maybe in the world!”
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