The below blog post originally appeared on Techdept - here
Like two prize fighters in an 80s movie, creative-event-series Glug and our-event-series The Tech Off just can’t stop slugging it out. We first met in May 2016, and a second “Glug Off” was duly set for Wednesday 28thSeptember.
We returned to Cargo, a nightclub deep in Shoreditch – the palpitating heart of London’s tech-scene. Yet again the crowd snaked around the block as over 600 creative-tech fight fans entered…The Danger Zone!
See full image set from the night HERE!
If you haven’t been to The Tech Off before, it pits top tech talent against each other to win a wrestling belt in a battle of ideas. It’s been described as “The Lovechild of TED talks and WWE”. Speakers get strictly 5 minutes to talk about anything to do with tech. Then the crowd chooses who wins.
We usually play by classic Texas Tech Off Rules, but this time we were playing by East Bronx Rules. As born on the streets of late 70s inner city USA (see picture) East Bronx rules specify TWO rounds of FOUR speakers – with the baying crowd choosing one winner per round. The two winners are then placed up against each other for The Tech Off Winner’s Belt Of Digital Glory.
Anything goes at The Tech Off! And it certainly did go. Parental Guidance was well advised…but as Techdept CEO MC Danimal AKA “The Beyonce Of Tech” said…“DEAL WITH IT!”
Our stellar line up of speakers featured THREE previous Tech Off winners, and our ONLY EVER double-winner (Jeremy)…so it was a tough one to win. But was an upset on the cards? We picked a Wild Card speaker straight out of the crowd…it seemed everyone was feeling the pressure of…The Danger Zone!
Kevin “Glamour” Palmer – Co-founder @ Kin designOur defending champ strode onto the stage as The Alpha Male of Interactive Design…only to surprise us with a glamorous cocktail dress under his manly robe! “I Will Design!” he sang to the tune of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”, which was itself written about The Tech Off.
Someone must have issued a dressing up memo because Maxine looked like a fresh new addition to the X-Men franchise in a red velvet cape, and bejewelled body suit. She soon lay bare all the dirty sex habits of our shag-happy crowd…it turns out your health data is better found in your Google searches than your Doctor’s records.
Our first non-dressed-up speaker, Tom challenged us to drive change and innovation for ourselves. Showing how he’d made up his own job (Innovation Director) at top social agency We Are Social, he gave us the great example of Grace Hopper (“1969 Data Processing Association Man of the Year”) who famously said: “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness, than it is to ask for permission”.
Our final speaker of Round 1 made things personal. His personal history with Tom Ollerton set us off on the story of how he proposed, and in the process shifted by an ad copywriter. He gave us a call to arms – to celebrate the Honourable Traders out there (just like Tom!). We all cooed as he presented a picture of his baby twins, born premature, but prize fighters just like their Dad :)
In a nail biting climax, The Techometer definitively chose our Round 1 Winner as…. Jeremy Waite!
The rest of our Round 1 Speakers sulked off, so we took a well needed break. While 600 status updates were posted, our security The Fabulous Bakewell Boys provided some serious on-stage selfie action. They even showcased their best dance moves to the tunes of Donald…
Duly lubricated, sated with selfies, and ready to attentively listen to truths from our Second Round Speakers the mob returned…but little did they anticipate the unfolding drama.
The Skinny Bouffant took to the stage, a man on a mission. A mission to shock us into new thinking. His rampage of energetic cussing snapped the crowd out of Shoreditch and into a parallel dimension….of TV remotes. We’re sure his innovative ahem ‘wearable tech’ solution will be on the shelves soon. But his was a rant with purpose – make the mundane inspirational!
Despite her top hat and clown-print morph-suit, Nadya was no-joke. She laid bare her dysfunctional family, and the strength it has given her during an illustrious career. By the end of her 5 minutes she had the crowd rapping:
I’m a fuck up and I’m good for business.
I’m a fuck up and I’m FUCKING awesome.
I’m a fuck up and I’m good for business.
I’m a fuck up and I’m PROUD!
Citing Malcolm Gladwell, she said that all CEO’s are f**k ups. This was disputed by Techdept CEO & event MC Dan Kirby (pictured) who could see absolutely no evidence of this:
After the barrage of potty-mouthed-ness from the previous two speakers, Gemma took us deep into a compelling argument for randomness. Our lives are now guided by algorithms not accidents. So how do we create true diversity of experience in a digital world? To escape the echo chamber of our social media, and single minded recommendations of Amazon? The great challenge is for tech-enabled serendipity: “finding something good without looking for it”.
Playing by East Bronx Rules we made room for a Wild Card Speaker – picked from the crowd with no slides, no preparation and no safety net! So Sam had it all to do, going up against some of our best ever speakers.
He focused us immediately on the harsh realities of life in Syria, and how tech could do something to help. He was inspired by a newspaper story of the people of Aleppo, and how they use their little electricity to share – via Whatsapp and other encrypted platforms – the location of new bomb sites in the city.
His idea? To create an app which takes this information and shows on a map where the sites are – making it easier to stay alive. In a cry for help, he asked for any Developers who could work with the platform API’s and make this vision a reality.
Using The Techometer we established the Round 2 Winner as…Simon Gill! But playing by East Bronx Rules our Wild Card Speaker automatically went through to the final deciding round…
Our three finalists lined up as the crowd gave it their all, manically cheering for each of our battle-scarred contenders in a desperate bid to influence The Techometer. In a close run contest, our Wild Card narrowly pipped Simon Gill by 0.25 of a point!
Kenny Loggins filled the screen and confetti poured from the ceiling like the glittering tears of our losers – and the Belt of Tech was passed to Sam Appleby!
IT WOZ THE WILD CARD WOT WON IT!
A well-deserved win, and Sam peacocked into the night leaving the rest of our speakers to….DEAL WITH IT!
Congrats to all, and massive thanks to Malin and all team at Glug & Techdept who made it such a great success. See you in 2017!
If you think all of that sounds fun, then sign up to learn about future events at www.thetechoff.com
And don’t forget to check out all the photos from the night > HERE <!