Make It in Three Months: Central Asia Holds Five Go Viral Festivals

Two and a half months ago, the Go Viral festival was moving from capital to capital of Central Asian states and gathered over 5 thousand enthusiasts, experts, beginning and future specialists in four domains – business, media, culture and technologies.

This year, the theme of the festival was “Search. Invent. Solve”, which is based on the idea that creative inspiration is within us. The only thing we need to do is to find it and implement it into ideas, and best ideas originate only in cooperation with like-minded people. Therefore, Go Viral is about cooperation, establishing new relations, and networking in the region.

Go Viral festivals have been held since 2017, but the sixth one became regional indeed and was held in all five states of Central Asia. Each of them was unique and reflected the peculiarities of every country’s culture.

National aspect was demonstrated by the chapan, which moved across the region together with the festivals. This is the symbol of friendship between members of the Go Viral community, each of which has contributed to it by embroidering it – a puzzle done by all participants. Five countries have five national patterns.

The national colour was reflected in the clothing of Go Viral ambassadors in Central Asian countries.

In the middle of May, the festival kicked off in Dushanbe. All three days of the event were filled with sessions on various subjects for bloggers, media experts, IT specialists, creative people, cryptoenthusiasts and start-uppers. Nationally known experts and specialists shared the secrets of their professions with young Tajikistanis.

For those who face a choice of future profession, Tajikistani IT specialists told about opportunities for young people. Speakers shared secrets with cultural figures about how to launch projects in art culture and not to fear failure. A session about blockchain, NFT and cryptocurrencies was held for those interested in cryptomarket.

Brandon Andrews, American entrepreneur, co-founder of Gauge + Casting, Shark Tank, senior adviser of Values Partnerships, was the special guest of the festivals in Dushanbe and Bishkek. He held a workshop for participants on how to overcome fears and sell one’s business idea to an investor, as well as how an entrepreneur should resolve problems and how important it is to analyse the market for business development.

All specialist sessions of the festival caused so much interest among participants that no vacant seats were available. However, it did not turn off young enthusiasts, many of whom were willing to sit on the floor just to listen to the speakers. And the final day of Go Viral was ended with the grand concert of Daler Nazarov, one of the most favourite singers in Tajikistan, who sang his legendary acoustic songs live.

At the end of May, Go Viral festival moved to Tashkent. The event here was held on a smaller scale, yet no less intense. Participants from the technology sphere played an interactive pizza game to learn to build processes in IT companies. And entrepreneurs were told how to create brand interface to increase profits.

Bloggers and content creators participated in relevant sessions about how to write texts, make videos on smartphones, and how to become an influencer. The cultural zone was focused on the digital theme – how to create digital works, motion design, and how to monetise them all. Filmmakers got inspired by the works of the winners of the 48hourfilmrace contest (“How to make a film in 48 hours”) to try themselves in filmmaking in future.

In June, Go Viral moved to Bishkek. Despite the fact that it lasted for two days only, the programme was as intense as the three-day festival in Dushanbe and was dedicated to the creative economy. And a few weeks after the event, Kyrgyzstan adopted the law on the park of creative industries, which gives tax preferences to all those who enter the creative sphere.

How to launch a start-up and expand one’s business boundaries, how to become an in-demand specialist and work from any location in the world, how to take care of ecology via arts, how to earn millions on creativity, how to turn ideas into hypotheses, how to earn on green economy – all those matters and even more could be learned at the festival. Participants could also try themselves in coding, IT profession, create a chat bot, learn to understand cryptocurrency, and invest in it.

The guests of the festival in Bishkek and then in Almaty were the creators of the world popular children’s YouTube project, DBillions. Their videos get billions of views, and their music is very popular. Project founder and producer Ernest Umetaliev and his wife and PR director Cholponai Kenzhekulova shared the story of creation of DBillions and how to create content for millions of views.

The Go Viral Festival in Almaty was the largest. No wonder as in previous years festivals were held here.

The special guest of the event was Oscar Garcia, founder and executive director of Aspira Consulting in the Silicon Valley. For beginning entrepreneurs based in Kazakhstan, he said how to develop their start-up without investments, at one’s own cost only. Moreover, sessions were held for businessmen on how to introduce their project to the U.S. market, on venture investment, on how to be flexible amid the constantly changing world, and how to get to know the foundations of the kaizen philosophy.

Moreover, the Startup Expo was held during the festival, the event that meant to popularise startup-ecosystem. Participants could get the feedback from business angels. Each of them had three minutes to pitch and two minutes to answer questions.

All those who wanted to acquire new skills could try themselves in the sphere of data analysis, learn to write scenarios and create characters for animation, master fact-checking tools, as well as communicate with Kazakhstan-based podcasters, and learn to make podcasts.

Another popular topic of cryptocurrencies and blockchain was also discussed there. A few sessions and workshops were dedicated to this topic. Also, the offline NFT exhibition of works of young Kazakhstan-based artists was held then. One could not only look at them, but also buy the most liked work in the NFT format together with originals.

At one of the workshops, participants and speakers jointly drew a picture that was turned into NFT and gifted to all participants.

The final point of the Go Viral travel across Central Asia was Ashgabat. The festival was held here on July 2 and was of special importance for the local community, which felt their belonging to the larger group of like-minded people for the first time. Professionals and enthusiasts could see each other face to face and communicate in an informal and comfortable environment.

The topic of influence of social media on professional development and career development caught much interest. Personal brand was discussed in the context of creation and promotion of own product in Turkmenistan. During presentations and master classes, festival participants could learn something new from experienced and popular professionals in the sphere of media and technologies.

“I have attended the Go Viral from the very first day. And I am happy to see how it has developed. I think it’s a great opportunity for all Central Asian residents. Speeches by professionals from Almaty to Silicon Valley are the invaluable and free of charge assistance to beginning specialists and start-uppers. This is the opportunity not only to hang around, but also to find your community, likeminded people. I come from the older generation, and I am happy to see that our young people have a chance to express themselves and be heard.”

Elmira (Kazakhstan)

“High level of organisation, great speakers, so many new faces I have seen here! I think it is the best festival in the last two years, which I have attended in Dushanbe.”

Farzona (Tajikistan)

“Go Viral Festival is an opportunity to meet with creators, professionals, and get advice and practical knowledge from highly qualified specialists at the international level. I’d like to emphasise careful and warm attitude of organisers to volunteers, which should become a model for organisers of other events. Every speaker inspires, while every participant becomes a friend and partner on the professional path.”

Saida (Uzbekistan)