Sunday, 3 February 2013

Hot Source January 2013

I enjoy the Hot Source talkies more and more everytime I go.  The more I take part and follow the discussions on linkedin, the more I understand what it and the people involved are all about. At this latest event I also realised another of the aspects that separate Hot Source from SyncNorwich. Hot Source showcases a lot of local talent, whereas SyncNorwich generally brings in people from outside of the county with skills that are not necessarily found locally.

For the January Talkie, Hot Source were also trying out a fantastic new venue at St Andrews House, part of City College in the centre of Norwich. This was a modern facility and a far cry from the old lecture theatres I remember at Leeds university in the late nineties.

Blair Keen from Adobe shared some of his personal experience and perspectives on conversion rate optimisation. Adobe is a huge global player in marketing and data. I felt the first Hot Source event I attended in the autumn last year lacked a little charisma. Blair has vast quantities of charisma and I found the practical exercise he did with the group very informative and the description of how he changes websites with his clients to encourage users to do the things his clients need fascinating.

Simon Coward is the Director of Innovation and Enterprise at Hethel Engineering Centre. Simon told us all about how the Hethel Engineering Centre was created and how it has grown over the years and where it’s going next. I had no idea how big it was or how many people were employed there. It’s staggering for Norfolk. Their focus is exclusively on engineering manufacturing, although this focus is being broadened. The new areas Hethel are looking to include “Soft Tech”. I wasn’t sure if this was software engineering, but I very much hope that it is.

Due to no fault of Simon’s, his talk unfortunately resulted in my only disappointment of the night. Someone in the crowd (who was sat right next to me) clearly had an axe to grind and asked Simon a question relating to what appears to have been a failure in a previous business Simon was involved with. The question was entirely unrelated to Simon’s presentation. This obviously made Simon uncomfortable, but he chose to answer the question, but clearly not to the askers satisfaction. It’s shame that a member of the audience chose to behave in this way. In my opinion the organisers should have stepped in to prevent it as it was entirely irrelevant.

Jezz Wright, of Norwich based Blockhouse TV talked about their TV show for pre-schoolers, how and why they made it, how they distribute it (they have a channel on Roku Smart TV), why he ended up on BBC’s Good Morning sofa last week and what the recent bonkers media exposure might mean for their production company! It was an enjoyable talk, but could have been more concise. To give Jezz his dues, he did have the flu and spoke anyway.

Hot Source don’t seem to plan their events very far in advance, so I have no idea what the March talkie is going to be, but I am reasonably sure I’ll be there.


  1. I did love Hot Sauce. I went along as a total Hot Source noobie and I found it far more interesting and beneficial than I initially thought I would do. I am so glad I was curious enough to accept the invitation to go take a look.

    I have to agree with the inappropriate question to Simon at the end of his talk though. The question sounded politically motivated to me and was of no benefit to the rest of the people attending. It would have been far more professional and polite to ask Simon personally afterwards. Much admiration to Simon though. He recovered very well and took the time to answer the question despite it's irrelevancy.

    It definitely didn't put me off though. The speakers were great, the subjects varied and interesting. It made me want to go find out more about conversion rate optimisation ^_^

  2. Thanks for the write up Paul - you're very kind. If any of your readers (like ridethedragon) want to know more about conversion rate optimisation then feel free to contact me through my blog or come and find me on Linkedin :)