Fireside Summit 2019

Fireside Summit 2019

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An ambitious agenda divided into six content tracks, talks and workshops as well as classes, a great fire plus entertainment were planned by Richard Potts, the man behind the first Fireside Summit. Taking place at Radford Mill in a green and on the occasion a little damp valley between Bath and Radstock, the event was ambitiously billed as “The Off-Grid Startup Technology Festival”. While not all that was envisaged materialised quite as optimistically promoted on its website, this was by no means a Somerset version of Fyre Festival, but an enjoyable, inspiring if sometimes a tad disjointed mosaic of speakers and facilitators. Maybe a little disappointing then that punters attended only in their tens, rather than in their hundreds, something that it must surely be entirely possible to remedy for Fireside Summit 2020. Good things have to start somewhere!

Having bagged a “women in tech” discounted ticket for my start up friend and myself, we spread out across the two stages and managed to sample a majority of sessions between us. From a LegalTech point of view, a few stood out particularly, here we go:

Helen Tanner introduced her Bristol start up Data-Cubed, both with a keynote address and also with a simple, fun and useful workshop. Helen’s team sees itself as a “data SWAT team – a band of consultants, analysers and visualisers that turn your data into stories and help your business to grow”. Such data use is something the legal services sector is keen to achieve. In her talk, she set out to dispel common myths of obstacles to data monetisation including: GDPR stopping most data utilisation; a perceived need to purchase expensive additional IT architecture; the available data not being of sufficient quality. In the workshop, Helen got teams to ideate around innovative use of data aided by building blocks representing sector, client, objective, and available data, a fab fun exercise capable of opening eyes of potential customers, no doubt.

Data Cubed: Building blocks for spotting innovative data use opportunities

Alex Cosgrove presented ADLIB‘s efforts to educate and facilitate progress of individuals and businesses hoping to forge a career in data science and technology. Under the heading of ‘Dive Into Data”, ADLIB makes itself available for example to non-tech students in order to explain and demystify paths into a tech career. Considering the shortage of available talent as a major obstacle to growing our region’s LegalTech sector (and generally to the tech sector’s continued growth), business’ contributions to solutions such as this are essential and responsible.

ADLIB: It is not only STEM degrees that enable an individual to work within data.

Ann Holman of Dot Project ran a small group session on how to create a roadmap for a tech project. Remarkably effective in getting the basics across, I feel that I now grasp a shed load more than I did about theme based, product line based and time line based road maps, how to categorise and prioritise actions, and how to utilise the GROW approach in the process.

There were many more interesting and engaging presenters, special shout out to Areiel Wolanow; Yolanda Berry; Richard Godfrey; Dr Mark Woods; Monika Radclyffe.

I had a fun and fruitful time, also enjoying meeting a bunch of interesting and diverse people with a good overlap of shared vision. I am going to sign up to Fireside Summit 2020 and advise others to do the same, well done Richard P!

PS: in 2020, maybe get some live (acoustic) music to amplify that desired festival feel to it all …. and no overnight down pour onto the campers next time, please! 🙂


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