Technology Outsourcing

Roundup: London Tech Week

He didn’t unveil a Boris-bot, he didn’t ride in on a drone-powered chariot sporting wearable tech, but at the launch of this year’s London Tech Week Boris Johnson did all he could to big up the capital and its tech credentials. But is London all it’s cracked up to be?

At one point I heard LTW described as “Boris bollocks” and little more than marketing guff. And it’s easy to see why – the likes of Cloud World Forum & Internet World have been around for ages and many of these events probably would have gone on anyways, just at another date. Also if this is London Tech Week, why is there so much about foreign tech companies, often being hosted in venues like Google Campus? Shouldn’t LTW be about home-grown talent?

Proclamations about being a Tech Powerhouse might be a bit overblown, but that isn’t to say London’s Tech scene is a lie. Far from it. London’s tech scene is bigger and more important to the economy than ever. This isn’t even to say the week itself wasn’t full of interesting people saying important things. I just think that LTW’s problem is much the same as London’s tech scene – a lack of proper identity. It wants to be seen one way – cool, trendy, “agile”, hence the investment in Tech City. But London’s business pedigree means the techies are the serious business suited types, which bring the money but not the hip factor. Take the Rainmaking loft. It’s full of glass booths, meeting rooms named after 80s computer games, and generally full of cool tech types who don’t wear suits. The talk I went to was full of middle-aged guys in suits.

On the one hand we’re seen as the leader in financial tech, and there’s plenty of your traditional Patrick Bateman business suits. But on the other, we’re repeatedly told about the cool, techy east side of London and reminded about the IPO of Candy Crush maker’s King. Some might say the contrast makes London more interesting, some might say it’s just another case of scrambling around for whatever we can get. Boris himself admitted at the launch that “we haven’t yet produced the kind of knock-out, multi-billion pound businesses they have in the Silicon Valley,” and I think until London gets a tech identity, it won’t.

IDG Connect’s London Tech Week Coverage:

-          Lessons On How UK Tech Companies Can Do Business in China

-          A Look at Cloud World Forum and a Professor Who Says the Cloud is Transformational [and Annoying Cabbies]

-          Will AI Put Your Job At Risk? Find out here

-          I Spent Six Hours on a Boat with Bitcoin People

-          Five Minutes With Google Glass - Are they any good?

-          How Tech Can Help Unite Israel

-          How Politicans can help Digital Democracy


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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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