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Silicon Beached 2016

The inaugural London-based Silicon Beach event 2nd February

Story by Silicon Beach April 5th, 2016
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Silicon Beached, London

Silicon Beached was a one-day conference, held in London’s iconic Conway Hall, on 2nd February 2016. A spin-off from the already successful Silicon Beach, a two-day conference exploring various aspects of digital innovation, futurology and modern advertising (you can learn more about is here), Silicon Beached was much of the same, bringing together an impressive programme of extremely knowledgeable and influential speakers. Ten of them.

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lindsey clay - chief executive, thinkbox

The Chief Executive of Thinkbox (an organisation that works the marketing community with a shared single ambition: to ensure advertisers and agencies get the best out of today’s TV in all its forms), gave the perfect opening talk at the inaugural Silicon Beached event.

With the advent of Netflix, Amazon Video, iPlayer, TiVO, YouTube, Vimeo and other alternatives to live TV viewing (the list really is endless), it was interesting to learn from Lindsey that people still watched as much, if not more, TV than they did ten years ago - before the advent of smartphones.

Lindsey also showed an amusing, albeit possibly disturbing, film that showed just how much a part of our everyday lives TV was.

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Liz pavitt - partner, rubber republic

Rubber Republic create exciting, infinitely shareable, videos. In the main for the web and predominately for brands. They’re the team behind some wildly successful campaigns (not least of which is this famous/infamous one) and Liz is their Business Development Director (in title only, she is FAR more than that).

Liz’s talk presented the premise that how a business presents itself, or should present itself in these modern Internet-enabled times; is a little like online dating, itself a modern day phenomena that only exists as a result of technology. The truth is there for all to see…

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ali hanan - founder, creative equals

Ali Hanan is an extremely well-respected Creative Director, having worked at some of London’s leading agencies on some of the World’s most recognisable brands. A catalyst that drives her creative work stems from some research conducted by Havas Media that suggests that 92% adults in the US and the UK wouldn’t care if all brands disappeared off the face of the planet tomorrow.

Her ‘side project’ (which is a terrible way to describe something of such importance) is an initiative she has founded called Creative Equals. Just 24% of advertising‘s creative agencies are female; and at a leadership level, just 14% of CDs are female. Creative Equals aims to redress the balance.

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lauren currie

Recently named by Management Today as one of the UK’s top 35 business women under 35; and by ELLE Magazine as one of the 30 smart women under 30 you need to know; Lauren is a Scottish designer and entrepreneur. She makes, thinks, writes and speaks about design, social change, education and entrepreneurship, whether that be at Snook, the service design agency she co-founded; Hyper Island, where she leads on their new MA in Experience Design; or under her own steam as a freelancer.

Lauren has a very simple mantra. She “believes in better”. Lauren spoke about using creativity in design to make the country better; that we should be design with people and not just for them; and that we should be involving people and listening to them, if we really do want to enact change.

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#upfront

Lauren then sidestepped away from her presentation to introduce a new initiative she was trialling: #upfront. Based on her own experience at a previous conference and an on going dialogue Lauren was having with her audience on social media, eight members of the audience were invited up on stage to share the spotlight with her.

Speaking at conferences can be a daunting prospect, especially if you’ve never previously experienced the view of an audience from the perspective of the stage. So #upfront aims to change this, one conference at a time.

Each of Lauren’s co-presenters got involved in the discussion, but it was 16yr old Leila Willingham who stole the show. Taking hold of the mike like a seasoned professional, Leila told the Silicon Beached audience to “Grow up and sort it out.” Right now, she and her peers don’t know about a gender inequality issue and by the time they reach the workforce, there had better not be one!

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jessica gioglio - head of labs, sprinklr

In such esteemed company as this, it might be considered frivolous to use a term like expert, but Jessica Gioglio is every bit a social media and content marketing expert. Not only has Jessica published the acclaimed book “The Power of Visual Storytelling” and spoken at numerous conferences around the world, she also spent four years as Social Media Manager at Dunkin’ Donuts and now heads up Sprinklr’s trans-atlantic content lab. To say Jessica knows her subject would be putting it lightly.

Jessica’s talk revolved around the notion of the ‘era of infobesity’. Due to the sheer amount of information that consumers are subjected to, never have they been harder to reach and that their attention is now the ultimate commodity. And because of this, we have to try harder to improve their experience. And be loyal. Brands that reward loyal customers turn them into terrific ambassadors.

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savannah peterson

Savannah flew in from San Francisco especially to attend Silicon Beached. Not only that, she sourced her own sponsor (the marvellous and very generous Air New Zealand) to cover her air fare, so determined was she to attend Silicon Beached.

Named by Forbes magazine as one of the 30 Under 30 to watch in consumer tech, Savannah is a highly sought after orator, having spoken at Ford Innovation Lab on the Future of Transportation, SXSW on Gender Diversity in Technology, Gasparilla Interactive on Why Now Is the Time to Innovate and Silicon Beach Fest on Virtual Reality. She also also teaches digital marketing and crowdfunding at Stanford, NYU, PACE, and SUNY Oswego!

Savannah’s Silicon Beached talk was all about motivations and goals, no not goals, decisions.

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Thea Hamren - Associate creative director, mr president

An alumni from the much lauded Stockholm-based Hyper Island, Thea is Associate Creative Director at the equally lauded Mr President, who were named Creative Agency of the Year by The Drum 2014.

Thea’s talk centred on a theme not unknown to regular Silicon Beach attendees, as she named 2016 The Year of Purpose. Consumers now expect more from brands. If brands want a meaningful connection with their audience, simply existing is not enough…

Thea also had the days BEST slide (it involved a squirrel and a frog).

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A short pause (for cake)...

No Silicon Beach-related event would be complete without a paean to cake, specifically the marvellous confections of Heather Brown Bakes. Obviously in between mouthfuls, whilst savouring the delightful cookie dough balls and armed with plenty to talk about, there was networking to be done.

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pip jamieson - founder, the dots

A native Brit with a distinctive laugh, Pip is an entrepreneur who has spent the last 13 years immersed in the creative industries Down Under, including executive roles at MTV Australia and New Zealand.

Named as one of Australia’s top female entrepreneurs, Pip told us her extraordinary start-up journey, from quitting her dream job at MTV, sinking her life savings into co-founding her first venture in Australia - which she quickly grew into the leading professional networking platform for creatives in the region - to exit and then launching a further improved offering here in the UK.

Pip’s talk was peppered with anecdotes and insightful, candid advice, such as how she hires staff and then keeps them engaged and motivated. Her talk was also filled with laughing. Lots of laughing.

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nishma robb - head of business marketing, google

The brief the speakers at Silicon Beached received told them they could speak about anything as long as it was interesting and they were knowledgable on the subject. As a result the audience were very nearly treated to a talk that focused on shoes and Nishma’s children!

Actually Nishma’s talk did involve shoes and her children, but as one would expect from the Head of Business Marketing at Google and a former MediaWeeks 30 Under 30, indeed a legitimate digital marketing veteran on a mission to with the magic of technology; Nishma’s talk included so much more! With a few surprises too…

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MT Rainey obe

MT Rainey is truly inspirational and the reverential hush that filled Conway Hall as she gave the closing keynote speech was well-deserved.

A Board Director of Channel 4, and also Pinewood Studios Group and Charlotte Street Partners too; MT was the Founder and CEO of the celebrated advertising agency Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R and is one of the most respected names in the advertising industry, hence the recent OBE awarded for Services to Advertising.

Accompanied by only a few films, including three adverts that she’d personally worked on (one being the classic 1984 launch of the Apple Macintosh, another being an early role for Kevin Costner, and his dog, and the final film featuring Helen Mirren and her legs - or were they? - in her inaugural commercial) , MT’s talk seamlessly pulled together points made in every one of the previous seven talks and provided a fitting end to the day.

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the end. see you next time.

The next time will be the 29th and 30th September when Silicon Beach returns to Bournemouth for two days of inspiration, learning and exploration of all things digital and innovative, from some of the World’s best thinkers, creators and do’ers. You can find out more HERE

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