We visited the Internet World Expo on it’s last day today. Running for three days as part of London Tech week, I wasn’t sure what to expect but knew that there would be something there for me to take a look at, and I wasn’t wrong. However, promising that we would ‘discover the most cutting-edge technology innovations and strategies to drive their organisation’s success.’ I can’t say that I was entirely convinced.
There were two things that really stuck in my mind from today. The first was a visit to the chaps at boxagon.com, a new start up (they were in the startup show case area) that’s usp is a user driven web site that, as they put it ‘…is a new way of finding and sharing collections or “boxes” of things that go well together for all types of adventures. So if you are getting a dog or running your first marathon, you can search through the site and see curated boxes of items that other users recommend.’ And it does just that, it could also have other applications like putting together a wedding gift list or recommended medical products all handily grouped together. As a user driven site it certainly makes you feel more comfortable buying the recommended items because the lists aren’t driven by companies and customers are always pretty discerning about these things.
The second part of today that I really enjoyed was watching a boys v girls ‘code off’ courtesy of the team from Free:formers. Free:formers run hands-on workshops for digital novices teaching them everything from how to use social media safely through to competent digital innovation, and on top of that for every business person they train they offer training for free to an unemployed 16-25 year old in their One:for1 scheme. The code off was a fun introduction to any newbies in the audience to see how, with the right training (no one coding had much more than a years experience) anyone can code well. The audience were invited to vote via Twitter using either #ffboys or #ffgirls during the coding with the winners (the girls won it!) announced at the end.
Despite the flurry of freebies and the friendly personalities on each stall (and the brilliantly comfortable beanbag seats from Squish) I can’t say I left there overwhelmed by what most had to offer. It’s a great shame, because with the right mix of stalls and tangible innovations it could have been an even better expo.