Friday, 30 November 2012

Hot Source November Talkie

This was my second Hot Source talkie and my first time at their regular venue, the NUCA Duke Street Lecture Theatre. What a fantastic building! First up was John Marshall from UK Trade and Investment, who told us about the money he has to give away to companies to help them increase exports. We’re hoping John will be doing a two minute slot at SyncNorwich next week and something longer next year. He was charismatic, funny (in a good way) and very engaging.

Then came the fantastically inspiring Gi Fernando telling us about Freeformers which is on a mission to help underprivileged and undervalued young people break through and find work and opportunity for themselves.  Again this was another engaging and fascinating presentation. It was incredible to hear about young people learning to code in very short spaces of time and turning out prototype apps. Hopefully Hot Source and SyncNorwich can work together to bring Gi back and work some of his magic in Norfolk.

Tim Ferguson of Aviva told part of their story of their journey towards mobile. This was an amusing story of many of the obvious pitfalls that they failed to avoid. Part of Tim’s team will be taking a more technical look at what Aviva have done in the mobile space at next week’s SyncNorwich.

Next up was me and Juliana, talking about SyncNorwich and SyncConf.

The final slot was the most x-rated presentation I have ever seen, but then what would you expect from something about Jake and Dino Chapman. It was exceptionally entertaining and I was pleased to hear that My Giant Colouring Book is coming to Norwich.

Unusually for me at events I made it to the pub after and met many more very interesting people and of course spread the word about SyncNorwich. The Hot Source guys have something very special and I’m really looking forward to working with them over the coming year.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

SyncNorwich at Hot Source

On Thursday Juliana Meyer and I will be doing a presentation at the Hot Source November Talkie. Juliana will be giving an introduction to SyncNorwich and I’ll be speaking about SyncConf. SyncNorwich and Hot Source compliment each other well and it’s about time we interacted with each other more. I attended my first Hot Source in September and Tom Wood was kind enough to come along to the last SyncNorwich. Hopefully there will be lots more reciprocation from members of both Hot Source and SyncNorwich. If you can make, please come along and support us.

SyncNorwich 5 Review

SyncNorwich 5 felt like a real homecoming, reminiscent of our first meeting as SyncNorwich back in July. Not only were we back at Blurtit with the truly amazing Kathryn Wright, but the BBQ was back and we had presentations from startups! Of course the free drinks were still in abundance and the crowd has grown and evolved, but this was home. This was the first time Seb Butcher had organised and fronted one of events. Despite forgetting to tell everyone his name, he did a stellar job coordinating some very interesting presentations.

First up were Lauren and Andy from Incredibli . Lauren and Andy are good friends of SyncNorwich and have been to many of our events. This is the first time I’ve got to hear about their startup properly and they both spoke extremely well. I am very impressed with their idea and hope they get the funding they are looking for. SyncNorwich will be putting a campaign through Incredibli in the new year. Watch this space.

Juliana Meyer’s been threatening to tell us all about her startup for quite some time now and tonight she finally did. Juliana is an excellent presenter (that’s one of the reasons the SyncNorwich team loves her so much!) and tonight was her best performance yet. She also used a promotional video to great effect. mBaSo is certainly an original idea and is intended to get new music directly from artists to fans on a monthly basis for a very small fee to the fans, most of which is paid to the artist. Apparently there aren’t any Heavy Metal bands signed up yet, but I live in hope!

Mark Alexander is part entrepreneur and businessman and part stand up comic. He treated us to a very frank session on the things that have gone well, as well as the things that have not gone so well throughout his career and throughout his life, including his book. Mark seems to go from one adventure to the next and I hope he will come back and speak to us again sometime. 

Smart421 review.

Incredibli video.

Mark Alexander video.

Saturday, 24 November 2012


Skyfall was amazing! I really enjoyed it, but it isn’t a Bond film. It is an action thriller with some Bond references. It may well be closer to Ian Fleming's Bond and it’s certainly the best Daniel Craig Bond film.

It’s pretty much wall to wall action, except when Bond meets Sliva. Although Javier Bardem is superb throughout the rest of the film as Silva, his opening scene, although necessary, is really rather boring. As he walked into view, talking from the far end of a long room I actually thought it was Topol! I couldn’t find much technically wrong with the film, although the tube train that crashed, at rush hour, only had the driver on board.

The final scenes with Bond back at his home in the highlands caused me quite a lot of anxiety. I was convinced Kincade was going to get killed. And Bond films, Her Majesty’s Secret Service aside, should have a happy ending. What they did to the Aston Martin was just criminal.

Go and see this film.

Friday, 23 November 2012

The SyncNorwich Aviva Christmas Special at Carrow Road

What: The SyncNorwich Aviva Christmas Special at Carrow Road

When: Thursday 6th December 2012 from 6pm

Where: Carrow Road, Norwich, NR1 1JE

Full Details:

SyncNorwich is delighted to have Aviva join regular sponsors Smart421 for a Christmas special. We’re very early this month as we were really keen to get Carrow Road. The evening will will start with three ignite style lightning talks:

SyncNorwich - Juliana Meyer @SyncNorwich
Meetmy, love to share - Keith Beecham @_meetmy_
Innovation Fund - William Harvey - @lowcarbonfund
Making a splash with no cash (FXhome) - Tom McLoughlin, @tommclough

We will then be handing over to Aviva for three presentations by different speakers including Rob Houghton, Solutions Delivery Director for Developed Markets at Aviva. Jason Vettraino and Jason Steele will be speaking about The joys and perils of Mobile Apps - A discussion of the innovation opportunities, multi-platform issues and Testing hell of a GPS based solution.

Smart421 will bring remote control robots and set up a racing game (think 'table-top robot wars') with prizes that will be given away free to attendees who join in the games.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

SyncConf 15th February 2013

What: SyncConf - SyncNorwich’s first one day conference

When: Friday 15th February 2013 from 8am

Where: Open, 20 Bank Plain, Norwich, Norfolk, NR2 4SF

Full Details:

Tickets: (on sale now)

Building on its thriving tech and startup community, SyncNorwich presents SyncConf 2013, a one-day Agile and Tech Conference in the heart of Norfolk in the heart of Winter. Syncing local and international speakers, people, ideas, innovations & investors together. Conference profits to kickstart local startup.

We have an incredible lineup of speakers including Kevlin Henney, Alan Kelly, Benjamin Mitchell, Giovanni Asproni, Liz Keogh and Gary Gale (Nokia).

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

SyncNorwich at The Common Room Review

On Saturday 10th November we brought the first SyncNorwich Corner to The Common Room Prototype at St. Laurences church on St. Benedicts in Norwich. Visitors to SyncNorwich corner experienced three highly engaging lightning talks. One each from SyncNorwich regulars Sophie Garrett and Julie Bishop and another from new comer William Harvey.

Collaborative Consumption and yours2share - Sophie Garrett @yours2share
WTF is Recruitment - Julie Bishop - @jobhopjulie
Innovation Fund - William Harvey - @lowcarbonfund

These were followed by Paul Russell developing and deploying a brand new web application from scratch in about an hour. This was a new experiment for us and worked really well as Paul explains here.

SyncNorwich was thrilled to be invited to be involved with The Common Room despite the freezing cold!

More pictures here, here and here.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Steel Panther

Steel Panther are very entertaining and I enjoyed the show, but I am going to go against the grain as I was rather underwhelmed. There was way too much just messing about on stage talking rubbish. It was amusing for a while, but then it became bigger than the music. Perhaps this is what most Steel Panther fans go to their shows for, which is fine, but I really like the music and that’s what I wanted to hear. I’m also fairly sure that Mike Star was miming most of the time and it wouldn’t surprise me if most of the rest of the band were too. This is just not acceptable in 2012, even if the act is based on the 1980s. However, I love Lexxi Foxxx and his mirrors, simply hilarious. Would I go and see them again? I don’t know, the jury is still out. I’ll certainly be getting their next album though.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Why I'm Taking Ruby Seriously

When: Thursday 8th November at 7.30pm

Where: Blurtit, Seymour House, 30-34 Muspole Street, Norwich, Norfolk, NR3 1DJ

So, after deciding not to speak at any events until 2014, I seem to have got myself a speaking gig at tomorrow night’s Norwich Ruby User’s group. I don’t know very much at all about Ruby. Very much like JavaScript, I’d written it off as a bit of a toy language. Now I feel differently (even about JavaScript too). So why don’t you come along tomorrow night for a discussion on why I’ve changed my mind.