After we lay the smackdown on the French Riviera in June (at the Cannes Lions Festival), we were pleased to be back on home turf. Less rose, more cans of craft beer…
Going back to basics we held a Tech Throwdown, old skool style, at Cargo nightclub in deepest darkest Shoreditch – the part of London where the internet officially lives. This meant only 5 minutes for each of our speakers, stripped back lean and mean.
If you don’t already know, The Tech Off is a regular series of events where we get the UK’s top creative tech talent to give short talks. Anything goes, as long as it’s about technology, and is interesting. Our crowd decides the winner, who takes away The Tech Off Winner’s Belt. The reigning champ returns to defend their title at the next event….
This was our biggest London event yet, with over 200 top creative, marketers and technologists keen to see who would take the glory!
The stage was set for an epic fight, and we had a line up of heavyweight creative-tech speakers for the baying mob:
Coming through the crowd flanked by our security-men “Killer” and “Not Tonight” and regular MC “Danimal”, reigning champ Jeremy proudly presented The Belt to our awaiting audience.
Kick-starting the proceedings, he took us into a world where software beats cancer. Where data has true purpose. He showed how his company – Salesforce.com – was applying ‘single customer view’ thinking to create the ‘single patient view’ in hospitals. Imagine a view of the patient with a variety of data inputs, from wearables to MRI scanners – to allow us to better predict your health – machine learning for the body.
He even showed us some robots that work in Salesforce’s San Francisco based children’s hospital. The world’s first smart hospital! With ROBOTS!!
Dressed in black like a creative ninja, Ann gave us some wise words to assess your ideas. To get real people to ‘give a shit’ about them, which should be all of our aims.
The thrust of her argument is that you have to think about why people should care, the context. You should also stop making assumptions about people! Get true insight, the underlying truth, to get into other people’s shoes. She also encouraged us to ‘mix things up’ – using diversity to get new breakthroughs.
Karan spoke concisely about not just data but how we understand data. He said understanding isn’t enough (we all know we should eat less, and exercise more, but we don’t do it).
You need to make it memorable, which he argues poets have been doing for centuries:
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d and thunder’d
The Charge Of The Light Brigade was written 6 weeks after the battle, which has stuck in the memory for centuries because it was made memorable. When you explain things, when you think of the metaphors you use, so that people believe and feel it, it will work much better.
Data Needs Poetry!
Mike took us on a tour of the future, of ‘haptic’ technology, which replicates the sense of touch but in virtual worlds. Starting with the Mario Kart with the ‘rumble pack’, he showed the importance of immersion in virtual reality – of which he believed haptics are key.
He showed a Software Development Kit from The Pretender Project which allows developers to control your muscles (no, really!). He even showed video of Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation – which allows people to trick your brain, so you can remote control their body.
He showed various applications, including surgery and tactile interfaces – for example with Microsoft Hololens. He also showed the ultimate ‘tactile interface’ – the “V Stroker”. Don’t know what that is? Google it….but maybe not at work ;0)
Dressed for battle in a hot dog outfit, throwing orange balls into the crowd with abandon, before apologising for launching ‘real time newsjacking’ with his book on the subject. This has subsequently been taken over by brand spam – and by American excess!
In a slightly masochistic talk, he managed to slag off his fellow Americans, and insult the performance of the Eng-land football team – inviting people to throw orange balls at him. Which they did, with rather impressive accuracy #head #crotch #face
In a primal scream he challenged us all to create content that was relevant at the right time, adding value to the world!
Bravely facing our crowd, who now had turned into a heckling, ball-throwing mass of unreasonableness, James introduced us to the idea of price optimisation. Which he argued was sexy, just like him!
Surely it’s crazy to expect someone in the Indian sub-continent to pay the same amount for in-app purchases as someone in Western Europe? And when we thought about it – YES IT WAS.
Digital – he argued – was about opportunity, and price optimisation was about creating new opportunity for your apps! BIG UP NUFF RESPEC TO PRICE OPTIMISATION!!!!
At this point it was time for DJ Beefcake to do his thing (a medley of ‘hair-spray rock classics’) while we prepared for the moment of truth – the Ceremonial Choosing Of The Winner!
Despite being in a railway tunnel, we established that enough of our audience actually had a data connection in order to connect to The Tech Off Voting App Of Glory! This was a relief (although we did have our old skool Techometer waiting in the wings).
As the speakers filed back onto the stage, several of them succumbing to over-excitement, the tension built. Would the voting app work?! Was the lighting guy pumping out too much dry ice? Who would win The Belt?!
As the gloves pounded together, and the explosion tore through the air, the winner was presented – live from t’internet! – as Jeremy Waite! For the first time in The Tech Off history we had a double winner!!
As the confetti cannon fired, we could barely believe that The Champ retained the belt!!! Glory indeed….
Much fun was had by all, so if you like the sound of that kind of thing we recommend signing up at www.thetechoff.com so you don’t miss future events.
On the subject of future events, we will be next seen at The Festival Of Marketing in London on Wednesday November 11th – in a Battle For The Future! Buy tickets now!!Find this interesting?