The previous week was absolutely packed with tech and business events (Events Menu here for a recap), and unless you completely abandoned all other obligations including sleep, you probably didn’t catch them all. Luckily for you, we were running around spastically to fit in quite a few… So in order to keep you in the loop, we thought we’d each share which event we liked most and what interesting things we took away with us. Our highlights below, but if you had a different favourite, add your thoughts too!
Thomas: Last week, we were lucky to be invited at RunRev’s annual conference, organised this year in Edinburgh at the Dynamic Earth. Three words: what a venue! I went to a number of events there before, but they topped everything this time. The keynote talk was followed by a short tour of some of the stuff displayed at the dynamic earth (no relation to the talk). We were pushed in a room displaying an iceberg (a real one!) – how exciting after hearing someone tell his story on how he invented the internet in the dark basement of the CERN down in Geneva 20 odd years ago. The bar was set up in the rain forest room, which entertained us with animated animals and real water pouring down the trees. RunRev organisers certainly realised that achieving excitement in a geeky conference is somewhat difficult to achieve, even with the inventor of the internet telling the story on how he saved the internet from the corporate world, but fitting it in this incredible venue was a smart move.
Kate: New Approaches to Leadership for Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs, Managers & CEOs, 31st August, 11-8pm Organised by Informatics Ventures and taught by Fiona Murray and Laura Morse, it was a intriguing (and exhausting) day of workshops. Topics included: Facts and figures about women in leadership roles; challenging assumptions about women and work; networking 101 by Ken Morse; pitching skills, and finished off with an evening session of networking with fellow participants and people from the business community. One of the reasons why I liked this workshop was because it forces participants to think about their career aspirations – whether its a new job, or putting yourself forward for that advisory board position, I thought it was very worthwhile. There are lots of things that this workshop made me think about. One of which is that the knowledge from the workshop was – fundamentally – about creating a diverse workforce.
Mark: I’ve been enjoying the Fringe Programming Meetup every month at the Auld Hoose at 7pm on the third Wednesday of every month (basically a week after Techmeetup in Edinburgh). It’s vaguely modelled on the FringeDC meetups in Washington DC and is much more developer oriented than Techmeetup tends to be. It’s very informal and attendees tend to just discuss their favourite languages, techniques and the news with those that happen to be sitting near them. A lot of the people who come work for the various startups around, so it can be a good place to make connections and pickup gossip, but beware, conversations about the merits of Common vs Scheme Lisp, Python interpreter internals and the inevitable editor holy wars are quite likely to occur, so it’s certainly not your typical business networking opportunity. However, if you’re a developer, or like to dabble in the dark arts, it’s an invaluable opportunity to meet like-minded folk, share war stories and learn a thing or two about the discipline.
Jess: Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs was my favourite as well, as Laura and Fiona created a warm atmosphere that really opened us all up. I heard some shocking stories, such as a tough woman who carried on with a presentation after a stitch in her stomach broke and began bleeding (she’d had a C-section only a week before, but kept the pregnancy discreet to avoid investor concerns). Ken’s session on cocktail party tactics was especially entertaining, and I loved getting a step-by-step how-to instead of a vague lesson that sounds nice in theory. I think more sessions could really benefit from taking this realistic approach! Having to pitch ourselves in the final exercise was a refreshing challenge compared to pitching businesses, and I realised how strange it feels to make bold, frank statements about my experience and capabilities. It was powerful to hear everyone proclaiming their talents with increasing confidence, and the pool of judges were very lovely folks to meet – to our delight, it turned out to be more than just practice!