Inspiring speakers at technology event
Wandsworth is becoming a mecca for forward-looking startups and SMEs. Against that background the Next In Tech conference was held in the Council's Civic Suite on October 5th. With a parade of diverse speakers, headlined by Microsoft's Frank Hattann, the conference was a big success.
Organised by CPG and Wandsworth Digitech – Helen Roberts and Soraya Lavery introduced the speakers and kept the event on track – not easy when one of the exhibitors is flying a micro-drone around the hall!
Mike Franklin, of Roc Technologies, told the gathering about his rocky road to success, and how he created a booming company, was bought out, reinvested, only to see his creation go into administration. This failure, instead of depressing him, made him work harder to ensure his next venture was a success.
The Data Protection Act is going to be replaced in 2018 by a new law: the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). This aims to make organisations of all kinds more effective and responsible for the data they keep on individuals. This will affect all businesses. David Kennedy of Zsah Technologies and John Warchus, of Moore Blatch did a good job of unravelling the implications of this forthcoming regulatory change.
Frank Hattann (above), one of Microsoft's Directors, had flown in that day to address the conference, talking about the importance of being open to input from everyone on the team, stretch targets, and the need to have fun in your job. “You need to create a plan. Your team need to be really clear about the objective but also how you are going to get there.”
For business owners who might be looking to sell up, Paul Arora's seminar on Preparing Your Tech Business for Sale was very informative. There are a lot of little-known pitfalls in the process – this showed the correct way to go about it.
There were plenty of opportunities for networking during the event. The catering was provided by the Share Community, a charity which works with a disabled people to give them opportunities.
Duncan Cheatle talked about how to attract and retain talent. Many of the businesspeople who gave talks were adamant that what makes business success was having the right people in the right jobs. This is particularly important for SMEs and startups, where budgets are tight and the staff might be doing lots of jobs and working long hours to bring the project to fruition. “We use our values as part of the recruitment process. It's self-selecting – people come to work for you because they want to embrace those values.”
The final tour-de-force speech was from David Siegel, a crypto-currency and blockchain expert. He predicted that the decentralisation potential of the blockchain would be a lifechanging technology revolution, similar to the internet or mobile phones. “In the next 30 years everyone will have access to worldwide, worldclass information, education, data, services and everything else.”
The Share community is a local charity that was supported by the event. It works with disabled people to give them opportunities and contributed the catering to the conference.
Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce were present, supporting the event, and it was sponsored by Wandsworth Council.
Author: This article was written by Julian Jackson, Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce's resident blogger and copywriter - https://julianj.journoportfolio.com