Digital Conference Launched in Georgia

Tbilisi hosted the first international digital conference Future Georgia on August 15-16 during which twenty speakers from Georgia and neighboring countries shared their experiences and achievements, talked about business development and the necessity ofnew technologies to bring products to a new level. The Future Georgia Conference became an excellent platform to exchange knowledge and create new projects, according to the Conference organizers.

“Recently in Georgia a large number of creative agencies were opened, startups launched, and people started to develop these areas. That is why it is important to hold such conferences with the participation of foreign experts,”said Gigi Janelidze, Co-organizer of Future Georgia.

Digital media, branding, PR, marketing and IT were the main topics at the Future Georgia Conference. Specialists from Russia and Ukraine shared their experience and knowledge about digital communication strategy, trends in media, virality, startup strategy and more.

Ilya Krasilschik, publisher in Meduza Project, described how to create quality and leading media from zero in a short time, as well as how to build new kinds of relationships with partners and advertisers. “Website banners are not relevant any more. Today we need to find new ways to advertise. For example, Meduza, together with partners, creates games. Recently, together with Airbnb, we offered our readers the chance to play a game and correlate an apartment and the city,” said Krasilschik.

Speakers were not limited in time, on average they had about 20 minutes – enough time to discuss the most important things. Nevertheless, there were exceptions, like Andrey Buzina, Founder of Smetana Viral Marketing Agency whose speech about the effectiveness of viral videos lasted more than an hour. “I had no idea that the viral video can be so effective, interesting and not as irritating as ordinary advertising is. It was so exciting that I did not even notice how time passed,” said Yana Israelyan, Freelance journalist and audience-member at the Future Georgia Conference.

Future Georgia provided not just lecture sessions, but also roundtables with the participation of representatives of Meduza Project, Coub, Look At Media and Yandex. Participants talked about how to create and promote startups, acquire new skills and gain knowledge. The audience actively communicated with the speakers.

Opportunity to talk face-to-face with an interesting speaker was another advantage of Future Georgia. “Beside inspiration and practical information from most of the Future Georgia’s speakers, it was very important, personally, for me to get some insights from Alpha Bank’s Research and Development Chief Dmitry Andronov during the break,” said Shalva Bukia, Co-founder of In2circle Incorporated and audience member at the Conference.

Andrey Manirko, one of the Co-organizers of Future Georgia, noted that besides many positive feedbacks, there were questions why so many Russians took part in the Conference. “Both Georgia and Russia have emerging markets. Not so long ago, the Russian market was at the same stage of development as Georgia is now, but the country was able to develop and achieve high results, especially in terms of media and startups. That’s why we thought that the Russian example could be interesting and relative to Georgia,” explaqined Manirko.

Georgian speakers also played a huge role in Future Georgia Conference. Their participation gave to the audience the chance to compare, catch the differences and find out local success stories. Among Georgian speakers were Levan Lepsveridze and Giorgi Avaliani from Leavingstone Advertising Agency, who recently gained a Bronze Lion in PR at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and Sopio Elizbarashvili from, leading video platform in Georgia, who each told how they had achieved their goals and are going to enter new markets.

Aside from the abundance of marketing and new technologies topics, FutureGeorgia also highlighted topics like contemporary art. TommyPetrov, Co-Founder of DaDa Agency, reported that modern art, theatre, cinema and advertising exist thanks to the era of Dadaism. “The distinctive feature of Dadaism was context changing- when you take something well known and add something new, like Marcel Duchamp did when he painted a mustache on Mona Lisa,”said Petrov.

Indeed, it seems that the main idea of Future Georgia Conference is all about Dadaism – you just need to take foreign expert knowledge and add something of your own and fit it to the Georgian context.

Future Georgia Conference was held with the support of Georgia’s Innovation and Technology Agency (GITA) and Beeline. Other partners were VagoTravel, Borjomi, Tbilotel, ExpoGeorgia, Meduza, Myvideo, APPARAT, Palitra, Forbes and Famousme.

Eka Karsaulidze

20 August 2015 19:56