MC Danimal and The Tech Off crew made their final appearance for 2018 at Getahead Festival on Wednesday 13th June. What a night!! The Tech Off was part of the 24-hour festival of the head. 24 hours of music, comedy, panels, workshops and a multitude of other events.
Here’s how it all went down…
If you haven’t been to The Tech Off before, it pits top tech talent against each other to win a wrestling belt – a battle of ideas. It’s been described as “The Lovechild of TED talks and WWE”.
Speakers get strictly 5 minutes to talk about anything to do with tech. Then the crowd chooses who wins.
We had a potentially disastrous start to the night when the projector died on us! All the graphics, all the presentations, all the clips – now rendered useless. However, we took MC Danimal’s motto to heart.
We simply had to “Deal With It”.
Our DJ for the night was the phenomenal Carly Wilford – replacing regular DJ Beefcake for the evening – sporting a custom made Golden Getahead Robe. She kept the room – and the wrestlers – rocking!
Dealing with it!
First up was Denis Simms from Side A&B who talked about the nature of the music industry and the way we purchase music online. Despite not having access to his presentation, he was able to wing it and get his message across.
Gordon Reid from Middle Boop was up next. Again, without the slides projected, he was thrown a bit of a curve-ball, but he took advantage of it and played with it to gain the audience’s sympathy and approval. Gordon communicated about the value of time well spent; how you should never accept bad briefs; never give your ideas away for free; and to always have confidence in yourself and the ability to say ‘no’.
His energy and humour were somewhat infectious!
Next was a brave soul returning to The Tech Off for another stab! Sara Gozalo from YouTube took to the stage with great aplomb and wowed us once again as she spoke about her frustration over music metadata and the kind of anxieties Techies go through (which seemed very appropriate for Getahead Festival!).
The energetic Chris Howard from The Rattle was next. Storming the stage like a Tasmanian Devil and, yes, dropping the mic in the classic act of rebellion. Not quite as cool as Obama, but a close second. His pitch? He is creating the MIT of music here in London – after attending MIT himself! Artists are the founders of change and culture is their tool.
Sadly, our advertised guest, THePETEBOX, was poorly – so we got our co-founder and Tech Director Rick Grundy to stand in for him. Totally unprepared, he managed to dominate the stage and think on his feet. Rick spoke about fond memories of looking out to the stars with his father and being fascinated by the notions of the universe being finite or infinite. He then talked about the brilliance (and magic) of tech working when components come together.
Finally, we had to have a Wild Card, picked from the crowd with no prep. George Taktak from How Mental got up and took to the stage like a fish to water. He talked about how our tech should better communicate our emotional state.
Inspired by his grandfather’s inability to speak due to Alzheimer’s, George is working on tech to help people to easily express emotions using sound, haptics and visual interaction. This app could allow us to share feelings with each other in order to improve mental health through empathy.
This was the moment we got all the speakers back up on the stage as they begged the crowd for mercy / glory:
Apart from Rick’s pitiful score of ‘1’ (there was probably some bias here…) the competition was TIGHT!
What a night! But that wasn’t the end of it… the partying went on until 6 a.m. the next morning – all part of Getahead Festival.
We’re taking The Tech Off on a sabbatical for the rest of 2018. So see you next year!
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