Match report from The Tech Off: North Vs South!

Match report from The Tech Off: North Vs South!

On Wednesday 7th March, we stormed Cargo nightclub in Shoreditch and had the biggest regional digital showdown in history ever! The North Vs the South came head to head in the mother of all tech talk face-offs.

You can see a whole bunch of pictures from the night on our Facebook page

And you can check out some of the highlights in the video:

If you’re unsure of what The Tech Off actually is, it’s an event in which we challenge the UK’s best digital talent to fight a battle of ideas. Each gives a 5-minute speech, about WHATEVER they want – you never know what’s next. If a speaker goes over their allotted time, our security boys, The Fabulous Bakewell Boys, will drag them off the stage! The baying crowd decides that night’s champ who then takes away the highly coveted ‘Belt of Tech’.

The event is hosted by Shoreditch’s number 1 Tech MC, MC Danimal, tunes are supplied by resident DJ Beefcake. This particular event, we partnered with Sheffield: City of Makers in a showcase of Northern tech in That London.

Doors opened at 6:30 and all attendees were given a free beer supplied to us by True North Brewery – the place filled up rather quickly so we were able to start on time (for once!). The night was kicked off by Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City & Culture for the Office of Regional Engagement and Partnerships.

Then it was time for MC Danimal’s grand entrance along with previous SXSW winner, Nick Bax, and our terrifying security team, The Fabulous Bakewell Boys.We had FIVE rounds to get through – each one pitting a Northerner against a Southerner. Just who would win this epic showdown of Northern Whippet Fanciers and Southern Shandy Drinkers? Let’s find out! 

DING DING – Round One!

Nick Bax, our champ from when we were at SXSW in Texas, was up first representing the North. Nick spoke about how the line between success and failure can be very fine. He professed how wisdom isn’t exclusive to success and how we need to look at failures for our inspiration. It might just be that the world wasn’t ready for the future!

Fighting back, our Southerner for the first round was Jessica Driscoll (along with sidekicks!) all dressed up as brilliant historical women who have done wonders in the world of tech: Shagrat Al Durr , Grace Hopper and Ada Lovelace. Perfect material for the eve of International Women’s Day!

The hi-tech Techometer was brought out to gauge the audience response to determine the winner of the round and it was a rousing win for Jessica. Southerners – One; Northerners – Nil!

Round Two!

Jenni Cohrane has a mission in life: to help the community of people emerged in technology save themselves and live a balanced life. There’s a passion and a half for you.

Ian Kibble raves about ‘hearables’ (technology worn to bring smart technologies closer to our ears) and rants about smart glasses.

The crowd loves ’em both, but Ian wins making the South TWO UP at this stage! Can the North bring it back??

Round Three!

Ruth Amos from Kids Invent Stuff gave us all some sound advice about succeeding. Dream big; collaborate; and be prepared to stumble every now and again.

Tanya Laird gave us a powerful message about the superhero with us all!

Another tough call but this time… the North won out! Well done Ruth!


At break time, the Southerners just had the edge over the Northerners. Now was the opportunity to fill up on beer, get some pics taken, network, and do a bit of dancin’…

Round Four

Wild Card Natalie Hoole stepped in without any preparation to talk about getting mums back into work with the use of technology and social media. Check out her business, Social Sorted, on Twitter.

Jon Morter, self-confessed immature social media prankster, talked about his collaboration with Rik Mayall (on what would have been the late comedian’s 60th birthday!)

It was a resounding success for Jon, which meant the South were racing ahead again!

Round Five

Alison Clark talked about the pleasures in life and how the best things are “C”… cake, chocolate, chips, custard, coffee… and went on to talk about fair trade and sustainability.

Alasdair Jackson takes us all aboard his DeLorean to take us back to the 1980s for a reflective and retrospective look at when technology was simpler yet ultimately frustrating.

Alison wowed the crowd and just beat Alasdair to the last finalist position.

Five finalists waited in line for the approval of the audience. The Techometer (one of the seven tech wonders of the world… possibly!) took the decibels and transformed them into scores…

Will Jessica claim gold?

Will Ian be adding the belt to his wardrobe?

Will Ruth have to make room in her prize cabinet?

Will Jon take the prize home?

Or has Alison got it in the bag?

And the winner is…



The Techometer never lies… Despite three wins to two, the Southerners lost out to the Northern Queen of Tech.

The night was over. Celebratory (and commiseration) drinks followed, a bunch of Southerners partied on through the night while a heady team of Northerners got on an old bus for a rowdy trip back oop North with the victory in their hands.

What a night!

That’s it for now, but don’t worry… we’ll be back! The Tech Off: Soundclash returns in June for London Tech Week.


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