Smarta Talk: “Uncover the Tech that’s growing the UK’s innovative small businesses”


Thursday 27th March 2014, Wayra, London.

Last night I attended a Smarta 100 talk at the Wayra campus in North London. The event was one of a series to promote the Smarta 100 competition (which opens in around a month’s time), and was sponsored by O2 and Microsoft.

The talk was centred around a guest panel of speakers, all from the UK tech, startup, and business scenes, and the discussion was around identifying and promoting what technology or services are available to UK startups, which are of great value and use to us all. On the panel we had Ben Dowd, O2 UK’s Business Director, Glenn Woolaghan, director of SMB for Microsoft, Paulina Sygulska, Co-founder and Director of GrantTree Limited, and Jonathan May, founder and CEO of Hubbub (formerly SponsorCraft). My notes from the discussion are jotted below…

Microsoft, previously known and branded as being a ‘software’ company, now transitioning and trying to re-brand themselves as a “devices and services company”.

Glenn (on speed to market) –“ don’t think you have the time to test products and features anymore, not as much as you used to (things move too fast these days)”.

Jonathan (Hubbub) – “everyone that you hire should be better than you! Don’t outsource web development – it won’t get delivered properly! Bring web development in house (co-founders or otherwise) and do it properly. When scaling – taking your foot off the gas is lethal!”

Apps & tech to use: AWS, GitHub, Trello, Google drive, DropBox, Pipedrive, Hipchat, Buffer, Asana…

“When Snapchat recently sold to Facebook… ~40M users churned to an alternative… this highlights that users are using an app because it does something (they want) rather than out of any sense of loyalty…”

“People are (often) reluctant to sell – you’ve got to be able to articulate your idea, your business, yourself…”

“Managing legacy is hard” (a task faced by many businesses today)

“Biggest challenge – cutting through the shit – there are so many vendors out there – know where you want to go and work out what you need to get there…”

Big challenge: access to affordable developers.

“The mobile phone is the remote control of people’s lives!”

O2 & Twitter partnership to check out – “Insights” (free) – register and look at (get £50 free Twitter Ad credits on sign-up).