Wednesday Oct 15, 2008

Future of Web Apps The week that was.- Setup and Day 1

Future of Web Apps - Exel Centre - Docklands - October 08

Setup day on Wednesday went smoothly, I arrived to find the stand setup and collateral ready, I just needed to make my presentations work for the sessions and get my voice ready to talk a lot. The evening was looming ahead and thus I decided to check in, get ready and prepare myself for a dinner with the stars.

Part of working with Carsonified is the personal effort they make for everyone involved and thus the evening before FOWA was a select dinner with the speakers over the next few days, the Big Hitters. Sitting down to dinner we all recived a personalised Journal, which was a fantastic touch and then I decided I would have a few beers or to, and thus preceeded to chat to Andrew Turner from Mapufacture   Elaine Wherry from Meebo, Stefan Fountain from Soocial and Anish from Yuuguu, lots to chat about, picnic, economy, the hoff and the competition between Andrew and Elaine around the number of slides they were going to present in 40 minutes.

Day one - Lift Off

Phew what a start, we had BookingBug, Worldeka and Snagsta on the Startup Essential Lounge to talk to startups about what its like to work with Sun, and how we can help them in various ways, then we also had the death ride, the Surf machine.

What continued throughout the day was lots of conversations around what Sun is doing with the Startup community in EMEA, how we are helping them, not just from a technology perspective but also from a networking, introductions, scaling or the other things that Sun is great at.

On the other side of the hall, we had the Sun Developer stand and the guys from MySQL and Zembly there talking about development, what that means, how we can resolve problems and help build quick scaleable platforms. Want to know more about Zembly ? Check out the interview with Todd CTO here now.

So lots of sessions, lots of pictures, lots of interaction and that is just day one......then we all went off to get changed, freshen up and attend the media temple party at FOX, which for me was a chance to become once again, the man in the shirt.

So there became an official after FOWA party committe, and we had to discuss what we were going to do next, as the hotel bar was closing and thus we decided to go to the Startup Essential bar, (supported by Every City) and discuss startups, UK Scene, the economy until the early hours of the morning and thus then we will have put the worlds to right. As you can see we had a great representation from the UK Startup Scene, Nic from,  Josh from theIplatform, Jake from TactileCRM, Andy from Rummble and Andys sister from Every City and of course the man in the shirt.

Day two to look forward to, breakfast with the speakers, and a buzzing Friday with Tim Bray speaking as well....also the famous Facebook party as well to prepare for, along side a day of telling everyone about Startup Essentials, wait till the next episode for more...

Wednesday Oct 01, 2008

Guest Post - New York New York, so good they took 21!

Guest Post - From Jake Stride - Tactile CRM

Sun Startup Essentials recently helped the UKTI take 21 of the UK's most promising digital companies to the US to learn about doing business over the pond and how to access funding.

Tactile CRM was one of the lucky companies to be on the Digital Mission and found the whole experience eye opening and a great success, as there is a second Digital Mission to SxSW in March, the following may help you decide if it is for you.

Imagine the scene: 21 UK startups land in New York City on the day the US financial markets start to tank – queue plenty of jokes about UK bad luck, and how startups now look like a better investment than banks. It was going to be an interesting week.

Digital Mission NYC was broken in to 2 halves. The first couple of days were about understanding the US market, employment law and how to access funding/investors in the US, the rest was based around the Web 2.0 Expo and meetings people had arranged.

As a web-based contact and sales management system for small businesses, Tactile CRM already has customers in the US and Canada (about 60% at present) so the main focus for the week was about meeting with customers and suppliers to build the Tactile CRM brand and recognition rather than trying to meet with potential investors.

The first couple of days gave us access to some great seminars about the legalities of running a business in the US, support and programs available to foreign companies in New York and some great networking events, including one at the British Consulate.

Two things became immediately apparent from these first couple of days:

  1. There seems to be a strong divide between the East and West coasts, New York is far more of a digital/design scene, whereas the West Coast is much more about tech/software startups. This isn't a black and white divide but worth bearing in mind.
  2. Investors like to have you close by. So if you are looking for investment, you are more likely to succeed if you can move closer to them.

The second half of the week was the Web 2.0 expo. The conference was very well run and plenty of web 2.0 glitterarty where in attendance.

For Tactile CRM this was the most important part of the week. We used the opportunity to meet with existing and potential suppliers and had pre-arranged several meetings with other software solutions we would like to work with/tie into our software. Combine this with the number of networking events during the day and evening that were being arranged around the expo and it made for a hectic but useful few days. It would normally, take months to meet the same number of people.

All in all the Digital Mission was a great success and cannot be recommended highly enough for people thinking about it. As long as you understand what it is about, have clear goals for the week and plan what you want to do, it's a great investment for your business.

As an added bonus each of the companies that went have at least 20 new friends from the Digital Mission and a lot closer ties and network of expertise to access (it was worth it just for that) - there was even talk of people getting together for their 'next' startup!


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