The Tech Off – Photo Diary From Austin

The Tech Off – Photo Diary From Austin


We came, we saw, we stripped off. The Tech Off met the world’s most innovative technologists with man thigh and spandex and simply said: DEAL WITH IT!

Our event series The Tech Off was invited to host 3 events at Great Britain House, the biggest single-country space at the biggest of big tech throwdowns, SXSW Interactive. And we did it, in our own inimitable style. We had two Heats on Saturday & Sunday lunch and a Grand Finale on Monday night.


What the actual…?!

Haven’t been to The Tech Off? It’s been called The Lovechild of TED Talks and WWE. Speakers get 5 minutes to talk about tech (in Austin we asked them to ‘imagine the future’), and the crowd chooses the winner who takes away a wrestling belt. Or in this case The Great British Belt Of Tech!

If you think this looks fun, barking mad and a way to get lots of great bite size chunks of insight from top speakers – you are correct!!!

We’re in London again on April 19th for No Mercy – co-produced with our friends at Glug. And then in The North for Leeds International Festival on April 26th for Creatives VS Coders – co-produced with Glug Leeds, Future Labs and Parallax.

A picture says a 1000 words…

…So we’ve collated a photo diary from the 3 days we lowered the tone of this illustrious showcase of British talent. We experienced spoken word poetry, street fights, chickens and ACTUAL DRAMA in the final!

See for yourself, just scroll down the page…

Techdept. The Tech Off Great Britian House SXSW 2017

As always, the event was hosted by MC Danimal AKA The Beyonce of Tech, with security team The Fabulous Bakewell Boys and DJ Beefcake on bangin tunes & sound FX.


The gruesome foursome got in the local paper (in the same photo gallery as Joe Biden & Bill Nye The Science Guy) here and here. And Campaign Magazine gave us a namecheck too, here and here!

To make things even more weird (we were in Austin after all) the whole thing was recorded by a documentary (nay ‘techumentary’) film crew…keep your eyes peeled for The Tech Off: The Movie.

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Heat 1
1pm Saturday 13th March 2017


Held on the rooftop of Great Britain House @ Speakeasy we braved the unseasonal elements (ie cold and rain) to deliver a knockout show, in front of what MC Danimal claimed to be a crowd of 500-600.

4 winners were selected to go through to the Grand Finale!

Full photo set here.

1.1 1.2 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.10 Selfie 4 1.10 Selfie 5 1.10 Selfie 1.10 Selfie2 1.10 Selfie3 1.10 Selfie6 1.10 Selfie7 1.11 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19

Heat 2
1pm Sunday 14th March 2017



It had at least stopped raining on the ‘Kew Gardens’ rooftop, but this didn’t stop an even more select audience attending. The apparently light crowd was refuted by MC Danimal who claimed it was in the region of 700-800.

Out of 8 awesome speakers only 4 were hand-picked by the crowd to reach the Grand Finale!

Full photo set here.

2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.7 Selfie 2 2.7 Selfie 4 2.7 Selfie 5 2.7 Selfie 2.7 Selfie3 2.8 2.9 2.10 2.11 2.13


The Tech Off: Street Fight
5pm Sunday 14th March 2017
Congress Avenue, Austin, TX

Detroit 1982

It is a little known alternative fact that The Tech Off originates from the 1980s, when tech entrepreneurs would battle it out for seed finance on the streets of downtown urban Detroit. You can see here an early photo, the root cause of a lifetime rivalry between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.

So, to celebrate our return to the downtown streets of a US city we held The Tech Off: Street Fight on Sunday afternoon after Heat 2. This time we pitted Tim Harper (Brand Director at The Tin, in town to promote this) and Fred Schmidt (Director, International Affairs at Capital Factory – who had just picked up an MBE).

The Street Fight was won by…Fred! A worthy winner who added a second piece of silverware to his day’s tally. His talk was so good we invited him back to the Grand Finale…and you won’t believe what happened.

Full photo set here.

3.1 3.23.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15


The Tech Off: Chicken Shit Bingo Special
6pm Sunday 14th March 2017
The Little Longhorn Saloon, Austin, TX

To get some R&R time after our intense Sunday we headed to The Little Longhorn Saloon for their weekly Chicken Shit Bingo event. This is where you buy a numbered ticket, and a chicken is placed in a cage with a numbered floor. When it shits and hits the floor of the cage – the person with the corresponding number wins!

And guess who had the winning ticket? That’s right it was MC Danimal AKA The Beyonce Of Tech – who took away $114 dollars to offset the cost of flying the Bakewell Boys in. 

The plan is to hold The Tech Off: Chicken Shit Bingo Special during SXSW 2018. Speakers will give their talks in the parking lot and the winner will be chosen by the chicken!!

Full photo set here.

4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.9 4.10 4.11 4.12

Grand Finale
5pm Monday 13th March 2017



The Grand Finale – part of ATX Startup Crawl – was packed to the rafters, MC Danimal estimated circa 3000 people. Each of our 8 speakers spoke with passion and insight. We had 2 rounds and picked a winner in each – for the final two to go head-to-head.

Round 1 was won by Nick Bax of Human, and Round 2 was won – controversially – by Fred Schmidt our Street Fight winner. Fred over-ran his 5 minute speaking time but refused to be thrown off stage, kicking a chair at our security team and demanding to speak as HE NOW HAS AN MBE!

Nick and Fred went head-to-head with The Techometer selecting Fred as the winner. But in even more drama Fred refused the title, saying it should be taken by the next generation, and handing it over to Nick.

MC Danimal at this point was apoplectic with rage at the failure of his security team and the disrespect shown by the rightful winner (Fred) and the FAKE winner (Nick). SAD! He was last seen stumbling from the venue mumbling how it was all “RUINED” and “FINISHED”.

Full photo set here.

5.1 5.2 5.3 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 5.17 5.18 5.19 5.20 5.21 5.22 5.23 5.24HandoverWinner!


Austin in ‘18…?

Much fun was had & many things learnt. We’d very much like to thank our friends at the Department for Industry & Trade for putting up with us! As for next year… Chicken Shit Tech Off is a must attend event!!!

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Next Up!

Don’t miss these:

The Tech Off London


The Tech Off Leeds


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