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London Tech Week: Behind the scenes at two of the biggest community events

London Tech Week is a big deal for us at Marlin. From 11th to 17th of June our city is flooded with 50,000 global technology leaders, journalists, policy makers and enthusiasts visiting hundreds of events that this year ranged from a community hackathon to create apps to help alzheimer's patients to workshops on the intricacies of tech law.

While our clients are no strangers to headlining some of the leading tech events across the globe,  this year we also worked closely with two of them to host insightful panels on some of the hottest topics in tech in our home city.

Trainline held a panel on the reasons there aren’t enough women in technology and what can be done about it, while Photobox Group explored the future of AI and the question of if it can ever be emotionally intelligent. Unsurprisingly - both ended up fully booked.

Here are a handful of tips we learned when helping to host two of London Tech Week’s biggest and best community events:

Herbal House Opening Party Jody Ford Ceo Photobox Group Speech

"Where did all these people come from?"

It's gonna get busy

Don’t underestimate the number of tech enthusiasts living in London. As a rule of thumb from our experience - imagine how many people you would like to attend. Then prepare for double! Thankfully, Trainline’s revamped HQ and Photobox Group’s newly opened 37,000sq ft space  meant there was room to grow as our plans evolved.

Richard Orme Cto Photobox Group

Richard Orme, Photobox Group CTO

How to feed the hundreds

Once you’ve got the space sorted you will need something to keep the audience going during a lively discussion. Make sure there’s a range of food and drink for different dietary needs and everything must be clearly labelled. Also, it sounds obvious - but if 200 people are eating and drinking you’ll also need something for them to eat off and drink out of. A well stocked crockery cupboard can be the unsung hero of a well planned event!

If in doubt when it comes to snacks - we have two words for you: vegan donuts. We learnt from our Trainline panel that a few hundred of these will evaporate when placed in front of London’s hungry tech community on a Monday evening.

Herbal House Opening Party Jody Ford Ceo Photobox Group Speech 2

A housewarming to remember at Photobox Group new offices at Herbal House in Clerkenwell

Broaden your horizons

Catering is one thing, but all the donuts in the world won’t fill a room at London Tech Week without the right panellists. Make sure you bring insight from across the board.

Trainline’s panel had politicians (Chi Onwurah, MP) the CEO of social enterprise Code First: Girls, Trainline’s own CEO, Clare Gilmartin and the Head of Enterprise at Royal Academy of Engineering. It meant four unique perspectives coming together for the common goal of getting more women into technology.

Likewise, at Photobox Group’s panel they had a distinguished engineer of the Google Assistant, Clare Gilmartin of Trainline, Richard Orme, Photobox Group’s CTO and tech-industry veteran Hugh E Williams discussing AI and emotional intelligence with Victoria Woollaston, Editorial Director of Alphr.

It’s not Prime Minister’s Questions - nobody wants to watch two people repeat the same things at each other for an hour.

Hugh Williams Board Advisor Photobox Group

Hugh Williams, Senior Tech Advisor and former Global VP for Google Maps

Timing is everything

3.43pm - 3.57pm - guide guests to seats” It’s a precision that seems excessive, but building a detailed running order for the event with clear roles and responsibilities will save a lot of stress on the day. Everyone should know where they should be and when. That being said, allow some flexibility when it comes to the guests. No matter how many times you use the word “sharp” or “punctual” in your invitations, there will be late comers. Have a bit of flexibility and be prepared to start later and run over your original end time - it will mean a full room and less disruption than if you try to seat people once things have kicked off.

Enjoy it

It can feel slightly unreal when months of work comes together on the day. Take a moment to enjoy the fruits of your labour, be proud of bringing a lively discussion to a big, engaged audience and start to have a think about the important questions: how on earth will we top this one next year?

Can Ai Be Emotionally Intelligent Panel Ltw Photobox Group 1
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Date Published

June 25, 2018

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