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Why Small Conferences Are Beneficial #SparkMe

July 28… and yes, I’m still thinking about Spark.Me.

The lasting benefits of attending a small conference like Spark.me are not only about the sessions, but they have been about the networking and relationships that have followed online and off.

Not every professional conference has the clout or size like SxSW or TechCrunch, which is why some amazing ones can slip right past you. For me, Spark.me was one of those. It’s a two-day tech/marketing conference in the country of Montenegro. If it had not been for my internship in Montenegro, I would never have heard of it.

And, I would have missed out.

Spark.me changed my view of small conferences and why these conferences are worth attending. Here are a few reasons conferences like Spark.me are worth your time and money.

  1. They Create Networking Opportunities. You will not meet and add a thousand people to your LinkedIn network if you go to a small conference, but, that’s not all networking is.

    The best business connections you can make are the ones that will last, and it takes a good conversation between two people. In a smaller setting, you will be able to really hear what others are doing and what their business is creating.

    It’s not about how many people you meet, but more about the conversations that you have during the coffee breaks. This easily happens at smaller conferences for a couple of reasons: less people (less noise) and easy accessibility to speakers and attendees.

    You don’t have to go to a big conference to find great people in your industry. You just need to make an effort to meet them and make a sincere connection.

  2. They Help Local People. Small conferences, while more regional in their reach, can be very powerful in effect.

    Spark.me provides a great example. Each year they inspire tech and marketing people in the Balkans to set and achieve great goals. It is easier for local students and entrepreneurs to engage in the industry’s conversation while not traveling too far.

    The people at Spark.me are improving their community through education and business opportunities – and that’s definitely something that I support.

  3. There’s Always Something You Can Learn. The big conferences have the thought leaders of today. You’ll hear the latest trends and buzzwords and encounter the industry’s “celebrities.”

    Fortunately, small conferences bring in speakers who you may have never heard of, and that is not a bad thing. There are many people who are working hard and creating new ideas in the industry and also working on “smaller” lesser-known projects.

    Great speakers who are working hard in the industry can provide practical information and hands-on information that are on par or even more informative than these well-known thought leaders.

    Spark.me organizers work hard on bringing in speakers who are entertaining and engaging, but who also provide diverse content, such as Rory Sutherland and Heather B. Armstrong.

The bottom line: don’t underestimate a small conference.

If you’re looking to network or get up-to-date information on industry practices, any good, reputable conference can offer you this. Do your research by searching the Internet and asking others. See if there are any professional conferences near you.

And if you are still unsure what professional conference you should attend, I suggest you see when the next Spark.me conference is and you, too, will see how great a small conference can be.

3 Ways Your Presentation Can Make An Impact #SparkMe

Presentation skills are important to both individual success and business success.

Even if you have not attended conferences like Spark.Me, where you see presentations by the newest thought leaders, you have listened to them on YouTube. Perhaps you are one of these popular speakers, or aspiring to be one. The public speaking market has grown drastically over the years, and great speakers are highly sought after for a myriad of conferences.

But, presentations are no longer only limited to “public” speaking. Great business presentations step into our “private” lives through our computers via YouTube videos, webinars, and podcasts, etc. These are becoming common methods of learning new professional skills. Social networks and the Internet have opened doors for people to establish themselves as experts in their fields by creating online presentations and effectively promoting their business or personal brand.

After Spark.me 2017, here are my reflections on three great lessons that I learned on how to present online and off professionally.

  1. Bold Visual Illustrations Grab and Hold Attention. The speaker that stood out from Spark.Me was Dr. Max Mckeown, who is a business psychologist, public speaker, and author. The audience quickly found out that he was missing one more title from his bio: illustrator!

    As Dr. Mckeown spoke, he also illustrated his presentation on a large paper-covered board (see image below). He didn’t just write key points on a board; he drew images of his examples in creative, imaginative ways that stimulated genuine fascination.

    Maybe you are not an artist like Dr. Mckeown (I’m certainly not), but think about creative ways that you can visually engage your audience. Find ways to incorporate strong, unique and relevant images into your presentations, and your audience will love it.Dr. Max Mckeown illustrates for his Spark.me 2017 presentation
  2. Thoughtful Content Is Valuable. As I mentioned earlier, Spark.Me brings new thought leaders together to Budva, Montenegro, which is what made this conference highly recommended. Note: start saving your money for next year. You will not be disappointed. Many business conferences have talks like “How to Start Marketing Your Business on Social Media,” etc., but in an over-saturated market, how can presentations bring people to your conference, to your YouTube channel, to download your podcast? The answer is simple: thoughtful information and deep discussion.

    Aza Raskin gave a presentation on modern technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Instead of just saying “Hey, tech can now do ‘X, Y, and Z’”, he went deeper. He posed questions about the implications. He opened up possibilities, which weren’t only positive and hopeful. Aza is a realist, and he wanted the audience to thinker deeper than just the technology – to think of the implications that this technology has on our society.Known as one of the first celebrity “mommy bloggers,” Heather Armstrong spoke about authenticity. In a highly competitive professional blogging industry, authenticity has become a commodity.

    Presentations are not just about giving information, but you must create a connection with each audience member and invite them to dive deeper.

  3. Your Audience’s Time Is Valuable. Whether you are giving a Ted Talk or a two-hour webinar, your audience’s time is valuable. High priority should be placed on providing beneficial content that the audience can learn from and take away to their work, to their communities, to their lives.Rory Sutherland’s presentation at Spark.me was packed with useful information and illustrations. He connected data and story in ways that were impactful, and the audience loved him. Dr. Mckeown’s presentation about “Nowism” and innovation was not only engaging and memorable, but also relevant and inspiring. Both of these speakers packed so many great things into short presentations that my hands were exhausted from tweeting.

If I were to sum up everything I learned about presentations and public speaking from Spark.me 2017, it would be in this statement: “Seek the good of your audience.” It’s easy to present something that anyone can just Google. It’s easy to draw attention to yourself or talk about your accomplishments, but that is inward-focused instead of outward-beneficial.

Create content with the goal of helping your listeners or your viewers. Think about how you can challenge them, how they will remember you and your talk. Ask yourself, “What do you want to really stick with them?” The answer might not just impact your audience, it might also impact you.

How to Network Like a Boss

Photo credit: Igor Milić Photography

Let’s face it—there are two types of people in this business world: those who like networking and those who do not. Those who do are usually bubbly extroverts who would be comfortable talking to a wall or self-promoting people who are always trying to advance their careers. Networking can be effortless and graceful for all if done properly. If this skill doesn’t come naturally to you, here are some ways to properly build and maintain career-oriented relationships that will help you as you navigate through the world of business.

#1. Build Up Your Contacts

Using whatever platform works best for you, keep track of your professional contacts, making sure to update them regularly. This list will help you organize your professional outreach if and when it’s needed.

#2. Get to Know People for the Sake of Them Being People

Nothing feels worse than a “cold call” with the obvious goal of soliciting career or financial help. To network most effectively, keep up with your connections by paying them regular attention throughout the year. Actually, take interest in their families and careers. Do not treat people like projects or numbers-they will see through it. Business works through relationships, so work on listening to others and building them. TIP: Try to remember at least one thing about what is happening a person’s life, so if you see them at a conference or out-an-about, you have a conversation starter. 🙂

#3. Use Social Media

These days, social networks can provide the most valuable outreach opportunities available to you. LinkedIn is an obvious tool, but depending on your career, Instagram and YouTube may prove even more useful. And, engage with comments or maybe article shares with people. “Liking” their pictures or posts is not enough.

#4. Follow Up

When you meet someone at an event and exchange contact information, be sure to follow up with them the very next day. Even if all you did was follow each other on Facebook or Twitter, it can’t hurt to message them a “Nice to meet you” text with your email included. If someone gives you a card, we highly recommend emailing them the following day, if for no other reason than you’ll have each other’s contacts long after the card is lost. 😉

#5. Help Others

We all lead super busy lives—probably too busy—which is why it can be difficult to commit to people who ask for coffee, etc. However, once you have some longevity in your career, you realize how important it is to do for others what you will eventually need for yourself. Take time to help those who reach out to you when possible (including friends, interns, virtual strangers and others). Remember point #2.

#6. Connect Them, Too

One of the great things that we love about networking is connecting people who haven’t asked for it. If you know your friend is a graphic designer, and you have a friend who’s working on building a website, it’s going to be appreciated by both if you intro with a note such as, “Thought you two might be into a coffee, I’ll let you take it from here!” Contacts are valuable, especially when they are referred by a trusted friend and business associate.

#7. Do Not Burn Bridges

Not all working relationships end well, but it is important to “take the high road” and move forward, not dwelling on the past or bad mouthing your previous work associate(s). This speaks volumes to all parties involved and those who are watching your interactions.

Building Bridges to Customers #LEAPzg


“What does your customers want that are JUST RIGHT?” asks LEAP Summit speaker Gerard Tannam today. Gerard opens with the classic fairy-tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and he made the point that Goldilocks tried different porridge, but it was baby bear’s porridge that was “JUST RIGHT.” In a world with many brands that are bombarding our customer, Gerard gives practical advice on how you can be JUST RIGHT for your customers by building bridges to your customers.

Brand Influence Choice

First, the purpose of a brand is the ability to influence choice. You want to the be the natural choice for customers. This means that customers only have eyes for you. When you are the natural choice, customers advertise you and advocate for your brand. Brands, in return, help customers choose what is JUST RIGHT for them by knowing who they are and what they need. Your brand reflects the relationship that you have with your customer, so you need to know exactly who you are as a business, why you do what you do, what business you are in, and how to communicate that clearly to your customers. You have to manage your brand to build your relationship. It does not just happen.

Bridging the Gap

Next, a brand must bridge the gap between the company and customers. This requires great communication. Customer relationship management (CRM) strategy is important because it personalizes the interactions you have with customers. Do not be terrified of talking to your customers. Gerard shares the greatest mistake that the Queen in Snow White did when asking the question: “Magic Mirror, on the wall, who, now, is the fairest one of all?” was that she was looking at herself in the mirror instead to the people of whom she reigned over. A brand needs to connect with somebody to be successful…not everybody. This is the starting point of the relationship with the customer. One very important step in brand building is identifying this ideal “somebody” or customer. Gerard calls this person the “Bullseye Customer.”

Pinpointing Your Bullseye Customer

Here are 3 questions you can ask to help you to identify your Bullseye Customer:
1. At what time and place in their lives is a person most likely to need, appreciate and be ready & able to buy what I have to offer?

2. What are the key qualities and characteristics of this person, which makes them most likely to buy from me?

3. Where is my ideal customer and what are they doing at the moment when their need is greatest, and how do they make their decision to buy?

Armed with a clear picture of your ideal customer and target market, you’re now able to build your brand so that everything you say and do helps your customer make the choice that’s JUST RIGHT for them and makes you their natural choice in your target market.

On a personal note, we all are walking around this digital space with our personal brand. Gerard says the first step in building your personal brand is to start knowing what makes you different. What do you offer the world that no one else does? Who would value this? After you can answer these questions, you can know how to start positioning and branding yourself personally and professionally.

7 Qualities of Tomorrow’s Top Leaders #LEAPzg

Today, LEAP Summit attendees were ready to LEARN from Andreas von der Heydt. What qualities do you think a leader needs? Are you THAT leader? Are you following THAT leader? Andreas shares with us just how truly caring and diligent he is, and how his positive and upbeat attitude reflects so highly in the minds of those he touches.

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Alan Kay

#1: Inspire!
Think big . . . be bold . . . pick yourself up after failures . . . think outside the box. A leader is not afraid that his people will rise up. He is afraid that they will NOT, and so he encourages them to success as leaders rather than followers who must be taught everything from A to Z and beyond.

Leaders must ask these “6 Success Questions:”

  1. Why?
  2. Why not?
  3. What if? What if not?
  4. What else?
  5. How?
  6. Who? When? By When?

These six basic questions provide the foundation for anything a leader does personally and professionally.

#2. Lead & Execute!
A leader is both effective and efficient by aiming at doing the right things in the right way. He strongly believes in the art of execution, and he know how hard and painful it can be to have things implemented.

#3. Explore!
Forget the traditional list of things you won’t accomplish. Get out and be inspired by a Mama Mia! play or go ice skating in the park to fire up those neurons in your beautiful mind! Then, take that positive energy and THINK BIG. Write them down, think about them daily. Make them your new mantra. These are no longer resolutions, they are dreams now manifesting themselves as REALITY.

#4. Grow!
A leader believes that you will what you want and that there are no limits to personal growth. He is both optimistic and realistic. He is open-mindeded, attentive and focused. This high level of awareness and focus allows him to see things that many of us do not notice because we are too busy with problems and ourselves.

#5. Develop!
A leader enjoys developing and coaching others. He invests a lot of energy and time in building and maintaining personal relationships founded on trust. Trust is a core belief and value of a leader, which they work hard to earn and keep.

#6. Improve & Innovate!
A leader is disruptive! He is the fastest with the best! A leader does NOT penalize failures!

#7: Care!
Remember as a leader that we get back what we give and that we should LOVE every day.

“To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” Eleanor Roosevelt

PRESS RELEASE: Beta Bar Will Participate with European Creative Hubs Forum in Athens

The partners of the European Creative Hubs Network project (co-funded by the EU’s Creative Europe program) are pleased to announce the second European Creative Hubs Forum, Syn-, in Athens. The event organized by the first hub for creative industries in Greece – Bios Romantso – will take place at two venues in Athens, Bios Romantso and Gazarte, from January 26 to 28, 2017. It will bring together 100+ managers and representatives of European hubs and creative and entrepreneurial communities from more than 20 countries, as well as all relevant organisations and stakeholders from Greece and the region of Southeastern Europe, including Beta Bar.

Following the first successful Forum on How Work Works in Belgrade, we continue to explore creative hubs as new models of growth and innovation. The Cultural and Creative Industries are recognized as one of the new and emerging sources of the European economy and their future sustainability and growth is becoming a priority. These industries have an impact on us as individuals, and our shared culture – they shape our arts, contribute to our view of the world, influence our consumer choices and improve the enjoyment of environments in which we live and work. They also shape the way in which we are perceived by others around the world.

15403753_1790930897822647_6459091115881141392_oSyn- acting, considered together | 2nd European Creative Hubs Forum
The Syn- forum will be examining the concept of growth in the context of the creative hub model and the particularities that are implied in this process. Through a wide program of plenary meetings, workshops and showcases, it aims to explore ideas such as growth through the development of new business models, re-adjustment of terms by establishing new, more fluid and creative ideas of economic mechanisms, and the expansion of the industry boundaries. The individual which is at the same time the local artist or entrepreneur, but also the local economy, is being incorporated into a larger spectrum: the group and the international economy, to enhance it with its unique features whilst preserving them.

Syn-, as a prefix, inspires the thinking process of this forum. The compound words
synthesis, synchrony, synergy and synaesthesia incorporate the ideas behind each of the four sessions that form the main structure of the forum: new business models, investment in education & skills, international and local cooperation, and hub stories.

This forum provides the opportunity for networking and sharing experiences between hub managers, setting the basis to envision the future of the creative hubs. The main forum events will take place from 26th to 28th of January 2017 at the venues of Athenian cultural and creative hubs Bios Romantso and Gazarte. It will feature a number of speeches, panel discussions including our own Jennifer Buxton from Beta Bar, who will be sharing about our experience at HUB385 in the P2P program, networking sessions, workshops and other side activities under the main theme of the forum: GROWTH.

The forum is closed for the public, but interested audience will have a chance to follow the soft opening of the forum on Thursday, January 26th at 7 PM at Bios Romantso. The opening event will include two keynote sessions by renowned representatives of the creative entrepreneurship sector. One of the sessions will be held by Sarah Filley, CEO & Co-Founder of Popuphood and will concern creative entrepreneurs and the emerging future of the cities.

More information can be found at www.creativehubs.eu and www.romantso.gr.
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How to Incorporate Identity into Design

With this post, we continue building on lessons learned and ideas generated from our recent visit to HUB385 in Zagreb, Croatia through a Peer-to-Peer grant from European Creative Hubs Network and The British Council. Previously, we focused on what we learned about building community. Now, we focus on what we learned about incorporating the identity we want into the design of our space.

hub385openspace

The first thing one notices when walking into HUB385 is how they designed their space to increase member flexibility and encourage engagement. They offer a variety of configurations, from spacious open floor areas and meeting rooms, to walled offices perfect for small teams. While HUB385 enjoys a much larger space overall than our Beta Bar on the coast of Montenegro, there are principles that translate well to any size when designing shared work spaces.

IDENTITY

A survey of coworking spaces in our region, including HUB385, quickly reveals that identity is an essential trait, perhaps even more so than the floor plan or services offered. Identity grows organically from a combination of the vision we communicate and the members we attract. While members come and go, and their needs will constantly change, it is vital to maintain a consistent identity while listening and responding to members’ needs.

HUB385 state their identity succinctly on their site. They are “the home of young developers, makers, creatives and entrepreneurs in Zagreb, Croatia.”

We promote innovation, collaboration and knowledge-sharing. Together with a community of world experts we host tech events, workshops, meetups and hackathons focused on new technologies that solve real problems and promote better living.

This identity is reinforced and communicated everywhere one looks at HUB385, from the learning workshop events for all ages offered through their Academy, to the cleverly and comfortably arranged open floorplan, and the fully stocked hardware lab, worthy of even the most hardcore geek, such as myself. After just three days in their midst, I found myself dusting off project ideas I had shelved long ago. Hmmm… maybe they’re more possible than I thought! I just needed the right environment to get the creative juices flowing again.hub385academyI returned home with a fresh focus on nurturing that innovative and creative spirit I had experienced. I wanted it for myself, and for our members! A key value for me has long been collaboration. It has almost become a virtue. It permeates much of what I do, both professionally and personally. Our identity at Beta Bar is defined in three key words: collaboration, community and sustainability. Simply hoping that this identity will be established when people occupy the same workspace is naive. The design of our space must facilitate the identity we want from the beginning. We want a sustainable community that collaborates – “watercooler chats”, making new friends and business partners, sharing knowledge, sparking new ideas and helping each other make those ideas achievable – this is the identity we envision for Beta Bar!

DESIGN

We came away from our time at HUB385 with three principles to guide the incorporation of our identity in our design.

#1. BE OPEN.
Just like many homes are centered around their kitchens, we noticed a similar phenomenon at HUB385, especially later in the afternoon. If the kitchen area is comfortable, such as has bar stools and perhaps a couch nearby to have a casual meeting or work on your laptop, it encourages people to leave their desks from time to time and sit in the communal area.20161216_10502720161216_105228The open floorplan areas were also beautiful in their simplicity. The design and configuration are crucial as there is a fine balance between community interaction and personal space. Long banquet style tables are a good option. They work well for individuals, and are also comfortable enough to strike up a conversation and collaborate.hub385monitorBalance is key. Make sure the communal and open areas that encourage interaction are separated from those individual workspaces where people may want a quieter environment to help them focus on the task at hand.

#2. BE FLEXIBLE.
Flexibility means that we can utilize every inch for coworking and host events in the same room on any given day. Foldable chairs, or chairs on rollers, and easy-to-rearrange work surfaces are a great place to start. Plentiful electrical outlets are also a must!

#3. BE INSPIRED.
We sat down with a local artist, Srdja Dragović, and communicated our vision to him using our key words: collaboration, community and sustainability. What he came up with for our walls (and ceilings) was amazing! We’ll even have the words themselves stenciled in both English and Montenegrin (our local language) in a unique spot on the underside of our spiral staircase in our common meeting area for all to see and ponder.

Another way to inspire our members is to provide ample space to write down creative ideas and communicate thoughts to each other. One of the most tangible benefits from our visit to HUB385 happened as Luka, the managing director, was showing us around on the first day. He pointed out that several of the meeting rooms had walls treated with paint or lacquer to make the surface writeable, like a whiteboard. I think I remember seeing some painted chalkboard-like surfaces as well. I mentioned that I would really like to do something similar at our space as well. Luka immediately put me in touch with his contact at Escreo in Bulgaria (very close to us in Montenegro!). Escreo responded before the end of the day, and we started looking at their product offerings. Nothing facilitates spontaneous creativity like a whole wall that functions as a whiteboard! I mean, who hasn’t dreamed of writing on walls without getting in trouble since the earliest days of their childhood, right? I envision many great ideas being sketched out on our walls.hub385dryerasewall

SUSTAINABILITY

Finally, a word about the other core component of our identity, sustainability. It’s hard work to be sustainable. When we started to design our space, we wanted to follow the lean startup model. We began by asking our potential community members what they thought our MVP should be. We asked HUB385 the same question. They provided fast Wi-Fi, desks and chairs, plenty of workspace with meeting rooms, kitchens, Skype rooms and little cubby holes for storage of personal items. Members are free to bring in anything else to help them work better. The members take ownership of the space, and in return, HUB385 doesn’t carry the burden of catering to each individual need.hub385lockers

Power of Collaboration: Building a Community

This December, we were pleased to visit HUB385 in Zagreb, Croatia, through a Peer-to-Peer grant from European Creative Hubs Network and The British Council. We learned much from Managing Director Luka Sučić and his team. Luka is passionate about sharing his vision for creative hubs and the secrets of his success. As their website states, “HUB385 is so much more than a coworking space–it’s an opportunity to become a member of our community.” Luka shared many helpful tips on how they built their community from the ground up. We are taking what we learned and adapting it to our own Beta Bar coworking space in Bar, Montenegro.

Beta Bar opened its doors in August 2016. During the first few months, people trickled in for a day or two and told us how great it was, but we rarely saw them again. We also had digital nomads or remote workers come in for a week or two and then ramble on to their next destination. Our primary question to Luka was, “How do we get people to engage for a longer term? How do we get them to stay? How do we build a genuine community?”hub385community20161216_172114Luka’s answer was stunningly simple: “The people.” What keeps members coming back, what makes them want to come in every day, is the people. Mainstream Balkan culture runs counter to the coworking trend. Workers and the workplace tend to be highly individualistic. Coworking can be something new and refreshing. Community and collaboration can spark creativity and innovation. But how do we effectively communicate such a transformational, potentially counter-cultural message? “By installing a reality distortion filter,” says Luka. You set the tone for your space. Let your vision and philosophy be echoed on its walls, in the art, the communication. Lead by example. Repetition and consistency are key.

TESTING PHASE

We began building a community through a Facebook group before opening our space. The group helped us pick a name for the space and determine our minimum viable product (MVP). What did they really need from us? What problems could we help them solve? Unfortunately, only one or two of these group members came to test us out when we opened our doors.

One of Luka’s best suggestions was that we offer our insider community an exclusive deal to use our space at no cost for a month or two to give us candid feedback and help us develop as a creative hub. HUB385 offered such a deal when they began and it helped them immensely. It formed the base from which their community grew and gained momentum.

We plan to offer a similar deal to our insider community at the start of 2017. Our goal will be to get as many community members in the space as we can to give them a good look at what a creative hub and coworking space filled with people really looks like, and how it operates. In return, they will give us input on what they like, what they don’t like, and what else we can do to leverage the space and add value to the community.

In addition to this idea, there were several others we gleaned from our time at HUB385, which we will put to good use at Beta Bar in 2017. Here are our top three that we find useful for your own creative hub / coworking space:

#1: OFFER AN EXCLUSIVE PROGRAM FOR YOUR INSIDER COMMUNITY
As we already mentioned, launch a one- to two-month free coworking feedback period, with the stated goal of introducing your community the space. This would likely work best with those already considering committing to long-term use. Give them a real coworking experience. Share this exclusive program with the community about a week or two in advance to build up anticipation (e.g., in Facebook group or other social media outlet). “Free coworking—and free coffee—all month long!” Get the community excited. Show that your coworking space is more about community than profit. Our specific goal is to have at least three or four people take advantage of this deal in our small space – ideally people who were tired of working alone, so they could experience working with other like-minded independents.free-coworking
#2: SOLICIT FEEDBACK – LISTEN, SO YOU CAN RESPOND AND IMPROVE YOUR SPACE

The adage “If you build it, they will come” does not apply here. First, provide the MVP for your community, and then build from there in response to their needs. For us, our MVP was the fastest possible Internet connection, comfortable chairs, and coffee and tea. After your community starts to form – i.e., when you start to have some regulars, whether by implementing something like idea #1 above, or by some other means – solicit some honest feedback. What works? What doesn’t? What unique needs does your community have that you can help meet? Provide something for them that they can’t get at home or elsewhere.20161216_104338 20161216_104326HUB385 is full of engineers, makers, and other technically-minded people. I was impressed by their electronics hardware lab, and the story of how it grew organically to meet the unique needs of HUB385’s community, including the addition of 3D printers used for modeling and prototyping. How could that concept translate to your space? What tools or resources can you help provide for your members?

#3: INTEGRATE THE COMMUNICATION OF YOUR VISION INTO THE SPACE’S DNA FOR YOUR COMMUNITY

Remember Luka’s “reality distortion filter” comment? Integrate the communication of your vision into the art that adorns your walls, the themes that characterize your social and networking events, the community projects you tackle, the words that comprise your flyers and local advertising. Be consistent. Create the atmosphere you want for your space and watch your community share it with their network of colleagues and friends. For the same reason that keep members coming back, it is the people who will be your greatest resource in bringing in more members. Do not underestimate the power of word-of-mouth and networking. It is why programs like peer-to-peer are vital to the success of creative hubs. Open communication and clear vision help define your space and the people who work inside of it.

10 Best WordPress Themes for Photographers

WordPress powers approximately 25% of all websites globally. The main reason for WordPress popularity is its simple interface and limitless customization using themes, plugins or writing your own code. Even if you are not web developer or programmer, you can attend WordPress workshops, like the free one we hosted last week, that will help you build complex web solutions with ease.

With tons of themes available, it can be overwhelming choosing which one is perfect for you and your business because there are so many great options available. Because of this, we wanted to share our Top 10 Photography WordPress themes and also suggest some WordPress plug-ins to protect your work:

#1. Bowbow-themeBow is a WordPress theme that is ideal for professional photography websites. It is available in high resolution, and it is compatible with most web browsers. It includes several Theme Forest Files such JS files, PHP files, CSS Files, and HTML files. It features over 4 columns, and it is responsive to all devices. This theme was tested using an A-grade speed page, managing only 2 seconds of total load time. Bow is constructed using top-quality SEO tactics, and it is compatible with the most popular plugins. All characters and letters may also be altered. The theme sports over 600 Google Fonts, each of them presenting several typography settings. You may craft beautiful text, highlighting the nuance and flavor of your art. Bow has 3 main variations: Content Slider, Image Background and Video Background.

#2. Diamonddiamond-photography-themeDiamond is a WordPress theme that comes as a response to the need of photographers everywhere. Modern and impressive, many of its features were changed and added based on customer feedback and requirements. Diamond includes an enticing full screen slider, which supports both video and image files. The album feature is ideal for storing and organizing memories. Thanks to the masonry gallery and portfolio, there are multiple options for displaying art.

#3. Divisiondivision-themeDivision is premium WordPress theme build with freelancer, creative agency, art directors, illustrators and photographers. Using built-in drag-and-drop interface you can get done everything with ease. Theme customization will allow you to change and tweak theme colors via simple web interface. This theme is fully responsive and will look amazing on any device. Among other great features, Division has several different gallery and portfolio templates, custom fonts and social network integration.

#4. Kameronkameron-themeKameron is a WordPress portfolio theme custom-built for photographers. Most of the features of this theme is carefully chosen and integrated on the template to give photographers an exceptional website template. This theme loads really fast and adjusts suitably on different devices. It is also built with advanced HTML5 and CSS3 techniques. The theme also includes horizontal and vertical layouts, Youtube and Vimeo video support in galleries and the option to create unlimited portfolio pages.

#5. Kappekappe-themeKappe is a modern and beautiful WordPress theme for portfolio website to showcase your work and photographs. This theme is well optimized for mobile devices.

#6. Lenslens-themeLens is a WordPress theme that strives to deliver premium experience and look. This theme is aimed at photographers that cares about how their photographs are displayed. Every feature are well crafted that allows to feature spectacular photography portfolio website with ease. Lens features full screen slideshow, flat design, grid-based galleries and a journal that will allow you to keep visitors informed.

#7. Moonmoon-photography-themeMoon is WordPress theme that aims to enhance and improve your creative website. Portfolios can be optimized by a series of useful website tools. Customers can easily showcase their videos, audio files and photos. Moon can increase your page’s flexibility and free you from having to sit in an office for the entire day. You will be able to work, even while traveling. The theme is completely responsive, given that it can display your site on mobile devices. You will never lose the ability to upload edited or unedited photos, distribute your items or manage your page layout. Moon also allows you to showcase distinct textures and colors for your site’s main panel.

#8. Photocraticphotocrati-photography-themePhotocrati is a clean, modern and highly customizable WordPress theme with over 60 style variations out-of-the-box. Theme functionality, color schemes, gallery style and element size can be changed simply yet powerfully with theme options. This theme is used by more than 18,000 photographers worldwide, and it means that this theme is well tested and will work under any circumstances. Photocrati theme is optimized for all device sizes such as smartphones and tablets. This theme comes with eCommerce integration that allows you to sell your prints, photography or other merchandises. This is the right theme if you are looking for simplicity, customizability and image-centered design.

#9. Sambasamba-photography-themeColorful Samba WordPress theme comes with ton of customization options. This theme will be perfect fit for users who are looking for custom-built solutions. Samba is limitless, and you can make everything from basic photography portfolio up to complex WooCommerce eStore. Other basic features like responsiveness and retina-ready graphics.

#10. Uncodeuncode-fullscreen-photography-themeUncode is a truly impressive visually and very easily customizable, featuring rich and functionally versatility, search engine optimization and fast loading responsive WordPress multipurpose website theme. Along with smoothly integrated plugins like the enhanced Visual Composer, the Revolution and Layer Sliders, WPML and WooCommerce, Uncode makes for a thoroughly coherent and cohesive end user experience that results in users able to focus on their content. With such gorgeous layouts and amazing media handling features powered by a unique and augmented Media Library, Uncode is a perfect theme for showcasing beautiful, high resolution photography.

Now that you have chosen your theme, make sure that you have the following plug-ins to protect your images and content. Image theft is a common problem that photographers deal with on a regular basis. Stealing images from your website is easy because a user can simply right click and select “Save Image As” to download them. You can disable right click on your website and make it more difficult for an average user to steal your image with these three plugins.

#1. Envira Gallery
Envira Gallery is the best WordPress gallery plugin in the market. Apart from helping you create beautiful image galleries, Envira comes with tons of other features as well. One of these features is image protection.

#2. WP Content Copy Protection
This simple plugin is free and will disable right click on your WordPress site. The downside of using this plugin is that it disables right clicking on the whole page. If you are using a slider or lightbox plugin, then sometimes this plugin will not work properly.

#3. Easy Watermark
Easy Watermark can automatically add watermark to images as they are uploaded to WordPress media library. You can also watermark existing images manually (all at once or an every single image). Watermark can be an image, text or both.

PRESS RELEASE: Beta Bar Will Participate with European Creative Hubs Forum in Belgrade

Nova Iskra and the consortium partners of the European Creative Hubs Network project announce a three-day international forum titled “How Work Works,” from 22 to 24 September, in Belgrade. The event will gather nearly 100 hub organizations from across Europe and the Balkan region, including Beta Bar. The program will also host lectures from some of the leading educational organizations from the field of creativity – Fabrica from Italy and Hyper Island from Sweden.

BAR (September 8, 2016) – The international forum “How Work Works” is part of the European Creative Hubs Network project initiated by the British Council and co-funded by the European Commission, while the “How Work Works” forum is realized with the support of Ministry of Culture and Media of Republic of Serbia and other local partners. More than 150 delegates, hub leaders and a number of European and regional stakeholders will come together in Belgrade, during the first of three planned forums, in order to map the European eco-system of hubs active in the fields of culture and creativity, education, and entrepreneurship and support their networking, knowledge exchange and capacity building.

howworkworksforumThe main part of the forum program will be held on the 23rd and 24th of September at the Yugoslav Film Archives and will showcase keynote lectures, study cases, panel discussions, networking activities and several side events. The three main sessions are dedicated to the questions of space, community and business models of creative hubs. As a part of each session, three organizations will be presented, and then take part in a short panel discussion. The program will also host a lecture by Professor Jovan Čekić (Faculty of Media & Communications Belgrade) while Theatre Director Paul Bourne (Cambridge Business School) will guide the participants through an interactive action that explores the nature of networking, communication and creative thinking. Ambassador of the Delegation of the EU to Serbia Michael Davenport will address attendees at the opening.

Through its central theme and question – How work works – the forum will investigate the shifting paradigm of work as seen through the prism of creative hubs, bearing in mind that these organisations have a key role in supporting young entrepreneurs and creative people across the continent and the development of local creative industries. A special publication produced for the occasion – How Work Works: An inventory of effects – will be presented at the conference. It gathers seven critical texts dealing with the ongoing changes in the field of labor, by authors from Serbia, United Kingdom and United States, including visual contributions by the Belgrade-based artist Dušan Rajić.

More information can be found at www.creativehubs.eu and www.novaiskra.com.
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