What I Want From Turing Festival 2012

August 23, 2012
By Michael Hayes

As you may have seen in one or two posts on RookieOven the Turing Festival returns to Edinburgh in 2012, in fact it starts today. So I thought it would be worth sharing what I would like to see as a result of the three days of talks, meetups and hacks.

Turing Festival 2012

Community

Scroll back up to the top (but do remember to come back down). What do you see? “Creating a more vibrant startup community”, that’s what I’ve been trying to do in my own small way through RookieOven. It’s something of a bugbear of mine that we have an east/west split; we’re a small country we simply can’t afford to be so travel shy. I hope Turing Festival provides a platform for founders from across Scotland to socialise and get to know each other. Then from these connections – collaborations, introductions and a lot more beneficial happenings will emerge.

Bringing Real Problems to the Table

I hope through events like CEO to CEO we can bring real problems facing Scottish startups to the forefront of the discussion. Personally I feel there’s too much of a focus on money, yes cash is essential to grow a business and it can be hard to come by but I (perhaps naively) believe if your product is good enough and you have a team capable of executing you either won’t need it or it will be easy to acquire.

I feel Scotland has much more pressing issues such as the inability to retain talent. >70% of my year that graduated in Computer Science now work in the financial sector, many out with Scotland. There is a severe talent shortage in Scotland; we need more talented people able to excel in a startup and I don’t just limit that to developers (although they are the talent that is most in short supply).

Spotlight on Tech

With the amazing line up of speakers I hope Turing Festival puts the spotlight on the Scottish tech scene (note not solely Edinburgh) for the weekend (and ideally beyond) and we receive some decent exposure. Whilst UK wide coverage would be great I would be happy with the Scottish media taking a look at the amazing tech companies on their doorstep.

Learning

I hate to sound like a know it all (because I patently don’t) or a battle hardened founder (I’m not) but I see a lot of naivety in many startups. A notion that the technology is the easy bit and putting little value into the implementation or the flip side of investing all their effort in the tech without a thought on how to sell it. Hopefully Turing Festival will come at a good time for some and help them learn cheaply.

Paying it Forward

I’d love to see Scottish companies helping each other out, not for short term gains but for wider longer term benefits. Scottish companies helping each other to succeed is mutually beneficial. Recently I’ve been at the brunt of founders out to screw young startups for their own gain, this goes against my ethos and I hope Turing Festival will foster a similar opinion among Scottish startups. This is a bit of a cultural change within the community but the events on offer at Turing Festival should help.

So they are a few things I would like to see as a result of Turing Festival, what about you? What do you like to see?