It’s hardly surprising that pretty much everyone has heard of Silicon Valley. The term has been about for over 40 years and has become synonymous with hi-tech companies. Silicon Roundabout, despite the media coverage of late, is decidedly less ubiquitous, especially outside of the UK. Silicon Broads? You’re going to draw a blank from many there.
This lack of recognition is a problem for Norwich and Norfolk, one that a number of technical groups in the area are striving to address. The term Silicon Broads is just jumping on the “Silicon X” bandwagon and is never going to get the same acceptance as the original term, but I also think it’s missing the point. We don’t have chip fabrication plants in Norfolk, we have technical people, and a surprisingly large number of them.
The great thing about people is that they know other people. It’s these networks that companies like Facebook and Twitter have cashed in on. Get enough people together and the potential reach through their networks is astounding. This is precisely what the recent SyncNorwich Tech Crunch event was about: get a large enough group of technical people together to make people sit up and take notice.
Of course getting 300 people together for an event is easier said than done. Having Mike Butcher, Editor-at-large for Tech Crunch, as your headline speaker certainly helps though and John Fagan pulled off a huge coup for the region by getting him to come to Norwich. By using Mike as the glue, SyncNorwich were able to put together the largest tech event the city had ever seen, showcasing local startups and attracting everyone from students to CEOs.
The sheer volume of coverage from social media, blogs and local press shows the event tapped into something. Norfolk has announced its presence on the tech map, and it’s not just here to stay, it’s here to be an increasingly important player in Digital Britain.
The Norfolk Tech Journal is out now and can be downloaded for free here.