The Tech Off: Eurobest Smackdown Special!

The Tech Off: Eurobest Smackdown Special!

Our regular battle of creative technology ideas – The Tech Off – crash landed in Helsinki on Tuesday 2nd December, with a suitably high impact!


We were honoured to have been asked by the fine folks at Eurobest – the festival of creativity, innovation and ideas – to bring our particular brand of wrestling-themed fun to Northern Europe’s centre of tech.

So we thought we’d do it in style! For a full set of photos check out our Facebook page.


With a prime lunchtime slot in the 350-seater Helsinki Hall, we decked the seats with our specially made “rock” foam fingers, as the crowd poured in – filling the space to capacity. As the lights dimmed, we played our epic Michael Bay-esque intro video – which resulted in loud cheers from the baying crowd, thirsty for blood, tears…AND TECH!


And as Rocky ran up the stairs on screen – our CEO Dan Kirby (dressed as Rocky for his MC duties), and our three competitors (wearing authentic Mexican wrestling garb), ran onto the stage through the crowd, limbering up on stage before their presentations…

The crowd went wild – they were well and truly ready to RRRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUMMMMMMMMMMBBBBLLLE!!!!!


If you haven’t experienced The Tech Off before – the rules are that each speaker has only 5 minutes to talk about tech: anything goes, product, app, concept, trend. It’s fast and furious. The crowd then chooses the winner by using our unique Tech-ometer app. The winner takes home the coveted Tech Off winner’s belt – and eternal digital glory!

We brought a star studded line up of contestants with us to Helsinki:


Martyn “Mad Dog” Ware:

founder of seminal electronic music bands The Human League & Heaven 17, and sonic pioneers Illustrious Company.

After making his entrance in a golden cape, Martyn took us on a journey to an immersive sonic future – where sound, space and image blend to take us to places we could never imagine.
This approach – which Martyn showed examples from Illustrious Company’s pioneering work, including The Millennium Bridge sound installation across the river Thames during the 2012 Olympics – can be applied to retail, architecture, urban design, theatre, art, movies, TV.

His vision is to create new world’s using technology and imagination. Indeed after returning to London he will be working on a 3-dimensional soundscape of ancient Rome, helping create an immersive digital environment from an historical place and time.


Renate “The Cyborg” Nyborg:

founder & CEO of Pleo, a mobile consulting and design studio in East London. She was Global Director of Mobile for Edelman – the world’s largest communications agency

Renate got the crowd engaged straight away, asking them to tweet her with their favourite buzzwords.

Taking the fight to the other contestants, she challenged them to define key digital buzzwords for the crowd – some said it was a shot below the belt, but anything goes at The Tech Off!

Her point was that we are entering a new world of exciting technological possibility – but that the buzzwords we use are getting in the way of a wider understanding of these possibilities. Unless you’re a tech enthusiast, why would you be able to understand what “big data” or “internet of things” truly mean.

Find the right words, and you unlock the potential of this brave new world.


David “Badass” Bailey:

Creative Director User Experience & Design for the BBC, he ran design studio Kiosk, and is a Designer’s Republic alumni

David was so “badass” he didn’t even need to show slides to compete in the arena – instead talking direct to the crowd. He highlighted one of the paradoxes of the digital age.

Because we can now consume endless digital content – to gorge on films, blog posts, but particularly music – do we lose an appreciation for this very same content?

As with food or drink, David argued that sometimes it’s better to spend time with something – to savour it. By slowly taking time to appreciate music – as happened in the “scarce” days of vinyl – you really get to know it and build a deeper relationship with the artist, a process which often takes time and focus from the listener. He challenged us to imagine a digital word with self imposed limits.

What if there was an app that limited you to listening to only one album per week? Or a month? How could we build on the positive benefits of digital consumption, while beginning to better appreciate the quality rather than the quantity of music.

Maybe one of the attendees from Helsinki’s buzzing tech start up scene would jump on this insight and build us the next Spotify-in-reverse?!

TTO - Belt copy

The Tech Off is always decided by the crowd, and after setting up the now-legendary Techometer app, the Eurobest attendees didn’t disappoint – baying like hungry crowds at the Coliseum….

It was a close call, but “The Cyborg” pipped “Mad Dog” and “Badass” with a Tech-ometer topping 11…a well deserved win for the Nordic contender! There can only be one winner at The Tech Off!!


Renate sported her winner’s belt with style – and as we waved goodbye to her later that afternoon, we wished we could see her take it through airport security!! Unlike other Tech Off winners, Renate gets to keep her belt – it’s a Smackdown Special!

However no-one left empty handed, as we made specially engraved golden-glove -runner-up awards for Martyn & Dave, which helped put a soothing salve over their bitter loss.


All in all a rip roaring ride across the world of creative technology – we all had a blast, and would like to thank Eurobest for the opportunity to put on our show!!!


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