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May 01, 2018

Collision Conference Brings Out Adult Tech Execs

NEW ORLEANS—The president of the Montreal-based information technology company, DistantJob, looks at adult industry and mainstream tech conferences the same way. “The concept of ‘adult’ and ‘mainstream’ is a ridiculous concept for me,” Sharon Koifman said Tuesday at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on Day 1 of the Collision Conference. “We live in a somewhat prudish world that people care about that. For me the adult conferences are IT conferences.” Koifman, who founded his growing outsourcing operation in 2011 and counts Mindgeek as one of his top clients, attends a dozen shows a year—10 of which are mainstream. This week marks his first trip to Collision, which is produced by the creators of the annual Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, and billed as “the fastest growing tech conference in North America.” “We provide programmers and developers for the IT world and this is a great IT conference,” Koifman said. “I came to Web Summit and this seems like a continuation of that. It feels like the same show.” Koifman, who has a background in engineering but specializes in managing IT, says even though DistantJob is based in Montreal, he has zero employees living there. “We have 19 internal employees, marketers and recruiters all over the world,” he says. “I practice what I preach and it’s really all about creating a company culture through remote.” DistantJob’s No. 1 priority is “educating” clients about the benefits of hiring remote, according to Koifman, who took the advice from his head of marketing and wore a bright red suit to the show. “Most recruitment agencies have a challenge finding candidates,” Koifman continued. “When you cross that border of your region you have a significantly bigger pool of talent to choose from. That is a massive benefit in a world where people are having such a hard time finding IT. So we are always educating people about remote. On blogs, on social media and in person, it’s always talking about why remote is awesome.” Now in its fifth year, Collision is projecting 25,000 attendees—including more than 3700 CEOs— for the four-day conference unfolding just a few blocks from the historic French Quarter. Organizers on Tuesday announced plans to move the 2019 show to Enercare Center in Toronto May 20-23 after three straight years in the Big Easy. The first show in Las Vegas in 2015 attracted 5000 attendees. “New Orleans, Collision’s home for three years, is a very special town, but as Collision grows we needed to find a bigger base with more global connectivity,” said Paddy Cosgrave, CEO and co-founder of Web Summit. “I believe that Canada and Toronto have lived to some extent in the technology shadow of America. But that’s changing and changing fast. “A new wave of Canadian founders are building companies not just out of Canada but all over the world. At the very moment when some countries around the world seem to be shutting their borders, when intolerance is on the rise, Toronto stands for diversity and inclusion.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Toronto has become “a global tech hub.” “Tech talent is coming to our country in record numbers and with our skills and innovation plan our government is making it easier for innovators to succeed and for investors to support them,” Trudeau said in the joint announcement.  The adult tech scene was well represented Tuesday as veteran executive Joey Gabra held court at the New Media Services Ltd. booth in the center of the spacious convention hall, making his presence felt during his first visit to Collision. Founded in Bangkok in 2007 by Martin Eyking with a staff of five, New Media Services now has more than 200 home-based employees that fuel his company’s extensive messaging and web support services. “We’ve had to go where the wind blows, when there’s a demand,” said Gabra, the solutions director for New Media Services, which is now based in the Philippines with native-speaking staff in countries such as Guatemala, Japan, South Korea and Italy. He said New Media Services has fielded numerous inquiries from “de-centralized start-up companies and financial service companies” in recent months. “Right now a lot of regulation and compliance requires them to have customer support or some FAQ type of service, where people have questions and they need somebody to answer them,” Gabra continued. “And then a lot of the startups—they can’t afford the 10 bucks an hour to have a guy do data entry all day and grinding—so a lot of the times they float towards us. When that started happening we started exploring it further and [Collision] was a good place to start obviously because it’s all here. It just felt like the right place to be based on some of the people that have been coming to us in the last year.” Outsourcing companies with adult industry ties proved to be a significant presence at Collision as just a few aisles away the Serbia-based software development and IT consulting firm, Quantox, discussed its services at a corner booth. Chief Technical Officer Danijel Petrovic said the team behind Quantox is developing a blockchain technology company called ReviewNetwork. Using blockchain tech and AI, ReviewNetwork is working to build “the world’s fastest, most trusted and intelligent company-user feedback loop.” Among the problems ReviewNetwork will address are market research and online reviews. “It’s a decentralized review network,” Petrovic said. “If you have people that leave some comments about some products, those comments cannot be fake because everything is across the network. So even if someone leaves a bad review the company cannot give money that we delete it because it’s impossible. Once the information’s in blockchain it cannot be altered.” Petrovic said the marketing for ReviewNetwork has only just begun with the launch coming later this year.

 
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