The nowEurope blog you see here is a recent incarnation, working in partnership with the Centrope ICT Technology Transfer project (CITT) which is funded under the EU 7th Framework project.
The CITT project addresses challenges in the ICT sector and aims to improving the transfer of technology between the business and research communities within the Centrope region, which includes bordering areas of the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia.
The CITT project aims to identify relevant players in the ICT industry and R&D and connect these communities. nowEurope provides an online publishing and collaboration platform for CITT.
We encourage you to take part in this community by posting comments to the blog or contacting the authors directly. If you have a particular interest or expertise in these topics we may also welcome you as a contributor (please email steve at noweurope dot com for further details.)
How it all started
nowEurope started life in 1995 as a ‘cc’ list of people I met at the East-West High Tech Forum, hosted by Esther Dyson. That year Esther brought together a small circle of business people to talk about the emerging phenomenon of the Internet, and whether it might be an interesting topic for future conferences.
Looking back, it might seem obvious that the Internet was destined to change the world, but it wasn’t obvious to people in 1995. That’s why I was so surprised to take part in Esther’s meeting. We were a mixed group: I was involved in a small ISP in Hungary; others were from big companies like Microsoft, Bertlesman and Europe Online.
We were all convinced the Internet would be an important part of business, and we shared similar interests and challenges.
I was so inspired by this meeting that I resolved to keep the conversation going by email. Over the years I kept adding people to the list. The format evolved into an email forum which brought together nearly 4,000 people who shared an interest in doing business online in Europe.
Over the years our interests have changed. It may seem unlikely, but in 1995 it was still fairly controversial to talk about using the Internet for business. Few people were willing to use their credit cards online. We spent a lot of time sharing our experiences about what business models were working, and what directions looked promising.
In those early days, one role I played with nowEurope was introducing people to one another. In late 1999 I invited my readers to meet me on a business trip to London (I live in Budapest, Hungary). Fifty people expressed interest. Ivan Pope stepped up to organize the venue. I did the same thing in several other cities.
In 2005, most of my first generation of nowEurope readers have figured out what works, who they need to know and so on, which is one reason why we’ve tightened the focus to Central Europe, where the need is arguably greater.
Over the years the format has changed. With the rise of spam, it no longer makes sense to run an email forum. What I liked about email was the immediacy – each time I sent out an issue I recieved nearly instant responses from readers. The downside of email is that – unlike the web – those conversations didn’t accumulate in any central place.
For these reasons, we moved to a weblog format. Those who want the immediacy of email can subscribe to the RSS feed. Casual web browsers can surf the archives as well as current messages. And the search engines seem to love the weblog format, which helps us grow the audience.
I hope you enjoy taking part in nowEurope as it continues to grow and evolve.
nowEurope founder and moderator