Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Thoughts from Tech Talks 5

This afternoon was the fifth Tech Talks event in Bristol, run by local web hosting company SpiderGroup. These events have an opportunity for networking followed by three 20 minute talks from experts on various aspects of business and technology.

Today's three speakers were Richard Caddick of CXPartners, talking about user experience in design, NetMentor Peter Brill, talking about how content is king, and Steve Allpress of Nvidia and formerly Icera, telling us the story of building a microchip company and selling it.

Fascinating speakers as always, here are some key points I noted down that I thought I'd share.
  • Designing for people is hard, and so you need to research and understand people and their behaviours to do it well. Richard mentioned a project for TheTrainLine, where they watched people trying to find the booking references hidden in their email printouts as they collected tickets at a mainline station, leading to the booking reference being moved to the top.
  • We all know that content is king, but it can be difficult finding the interesting stories in what we see as mundane. So Peter told us we need to think like a journalist and sniff out the answers to the non-obvious questions. 
  • Peter also talked about repurposing content, so look forward to seeing my blog posts re-hashed as forum posts elsewhere!
  • Steve told the fascinating (and occasionally technical) story of creating a startup which shook up the world of 3G chip manufacturing by doing everything better, faster and smaller. But the most fascinating thing was the insight into building a company which is dependent on round after round of VC funding - your end purpose is to build something that someone else will eventually want to buy, as they achieved with their sale to Nvidia.
All in all an interesting afternoon, certainly for a biz-tech geek like me. And a great quote from chief Spider James Cook at the end: "A lot of business people don't realise that business is essentially process driven".