MonthNovember 2015

Apps World – The Good and The Bad

Thanks to Startacus, I won a gold pass to this years Apps World. This ticket gave me access to everything! All talks, panel sessions, workshops, exhibition and even the Appster Awards and after party!

I was really excited to attend, what was essentially, my first big business conference/exhibition (whatever you want to call it).

I had a fantastic two days down in London and was certainly sad for it to end. However, not all aspects lived up to expectations.

The Good

The talks and panel sessions.

Turning up on the first day to see Jason Bradbury talk about wearable tech and then interview google glass inventor Babak Parvis is a pretty good start!!

jason Apps world

Over the course of the two days, this was followed up with panel sessions on topics including:

  • Effectively driving acquisition, retention and conversation
  • The state of mobile enterprise
  • Wearables and the mobile marketing landscape
  • Using location based technologies to compliment the UX
  • DevOps – The Next Opportunity

(And many more!)

apps panel 1

Apps panel 2

Mixed in were guest speakers including:

  • David Shing
  • Tom Teichman

Some of these speakers were open for everyone, others were for paying delegates only.

It was these speakers and panel sessions that made my trip worth while. Some talks were insightful, others full of knowledge and some just funny!

The Bad

The exhibition.

Don’t get me wrong, some were great! Generally the more establish companies had the better stands.

My issue –  a lot were very similar!!

I counted lots of ‘we can get your app built for cheap’ stands, soon followed by a ‘we can help you analyse the data coming from your app’ stand. They were small, similar and sometimes just boring.

I walked around wanting to see exciting technology being applied to apps. Apps that were attempting to change how we worked or played. Instead I got the same sales pitch over and over.


Would I go back?

Yes, definitely, if I have access to the talks! I learnt a lot and had a great time. So perhaps I’ll just have to try and win a ticket again next year!!






Startup Weekend Lancaster LIVE!

Right now I am helping run Startup Weekend Lancaster 2015!

54 hours to start a business and so it is non stop work. For that reason, this weeks blog will be less of a blog and more of an arrow to how you can follow the events of this years Startup Weekend!



Snapchat – lanentrepreneur

Here are some pictures of the event so far 🙂



Where to Start at Startup Weekend

This time next week I shall be getting ready for Startup Weekend Lancaster 2015. It has been a long time in the making (a huge amount of credit must go to Philipp for his work in organising the event) and soon it will be show time.

If you are unfamiliar with the Startup Weekend format, here’s a quick run-down:
60-second pitches result in the formation of small teams around the best, most viable concepts.
54 hours are spent focusing on customer and product development, validating ideas and building prototypes with the help of experienced mentors.
Finally, each team has the chance to present their results and receive feedback from a panel of high profile entrepreneurs and community leaders.
Not forgetting, awesome prizes for the winning teams!

Having competed – and finishing second – last year I know the rush and excitement of the event. It was one of the best, if not the best, event I attended last year and I wish I could compete again this year. However I have thoroughly enjoyed helping to ensure that anyone competing this year will have an even better time than I did last year.

So as I’m not competing, I feel like I can share my tips to having the best Startup Weekend possible.

Start with an open mind, but focus it fast!

I turned up knowing virtually no one. You are thrown in to network with everyone and soon you’re hearing everyone’s business ideas.

Go into the event and networking with an open mind. Everyone on an equal level, but look out for key people, listen to key ideas and focus on them. If you like and idea, you need to get the person behind it to like you! At the next opportunity, focus on them and introduce yourself, express your interest and explain how you can help.

BUT, still have an eye open for more possibilities. Team places are competitive and you need to have a few favourites in mind, target a number of people and hopefully you’ll then have a choice as to which team you can join.

Break the ice

Once you have your team and your set free to get going, the temptation is to jump straight into work. This is both unproductive and anti-social.

Chances are you are on a team with new people. Why not all go for food and get to know each other. You will all enjoy the weekend more and be more productive.

Set some rules and role

Team leaders, I’m talking to you now!

Set some ground rules!!

You have 54 hours, the last thing you want is to be arguing about what can and can’t be done. The rules don’t have to all be strict, a few humorous ones always help, but having a framework for everyone to work around will help, trust me!

As for roles, this should be simple depending on people’s skills sets. But still clarify to avoid confusion. Again, you only have 54 hours, don’t waste them!

Pace yourself, but work late

Control your energy level are vital, you don’t want to crash. One of my key strengths last year was my ability to work until the early hours of the morning. Many other teams crashed and slept – whilst they spelt, I worked – each day I could see the advantage of working late, we were progressing well.

Enjoy it!

I had such a great weekend and met some great people. I wouldn’t have done that if I had been worried or nervous about the result.

It is a really tough challenge and that should be enjoyed. What’s more fun than changing your brand image at 3am???


Whether you have experience or not, you will learn a lot! The mentors and judges are there to help everyone walk away better than when they showed up. Ask questions, listen to ideas, work hard and keep going!!

The Social Animal

I have recently read ‘The Social Animal’ by David Brooks.

Fiction and Non-Fiction combined, the story follows two characters all the way from birth to death. The book explains the process of how our lives unfold and how our mind adapts. It explains the motives and imagination of a child, the emotions of falling in love, the influences of work and the desire to find meaning in life.

The book also ‘jumps out’ at key points to go into more details about the world around us. For example, the impact of different schooling systems, or how voters really act around election periods.

I had considered writing about my favourite part, or what I had learnt. In truth, I can’t pick one area and any attempt to share what is taught would only undermine the power of the book.

In short, this is potentially the best book I have ever read and it is a book I will tell everyone to read. For a short overview of the book, David Brooks has given a TED talk on the topic, however nothing will beat reading this book!



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