Ever had an outstanding idea but lack either the conviction or the means to execute it? If the answer is yes, the Management Society’s Tech Talk on the evening of 31 March offered a solution to your woes.
As soon as the small group of attendees, all eager to absorb some knowledge, entered the Arts Building, it was obvious that the evening ahead would provide an engaging environment. The outstanding speakers critiqued technology within advertisement, its prospectus, the meaning of creativity and the vision outsiders have of what advertisement means today. The panel also discussed an outline of the labour market for advertisement, as well as tips for interviews. Combined, these conversations provided a high asset for any student intending to pursue a career in the world of marketing and social media.
The committee managed to bring to our University a superlative group of speakers: Chris Maples, former vice president of Spotify Europe; Clare Bowen, head of creative development at RadioCentre; and Mike Burgess, co-founder of web agency BAM Mobile.
Mr Burgess started the presentation by highlighting the importance of start-ups for the future of technological progress. The underlying idea behind the message he carried across was that advertising agencies and advertising start-ups do not work the same way. Whereas the first try to create a need (remember Leonardo DiCaprio selling a pen in The Wolf of Wall Street?), the latter aims at being a “product agency.”
This entails more than marketing a product, as it implies adapting the product to make it cover an actual unknown, uncovered necessity. It is a mind-blowing concept in which marketing reaches a new scope and becomes an industry changing the world rather than selling the change.
Mr Burgess also places his bets in mobile start-ups, since mobile is the main source of Internet streaming, outperforming computers since 2014. He believes more effort should be put into this market and in tracking users’ behaviour to adapt the ads users are redirected to.
On the same topic, Mr Maples remarked on the importance of motivation in making a start-up successful in such a competitive industry. He said that creativity, understood as the capability to solve problems in alternative ways, is key to outperforming competitors and being at the head of technological process. To do so, you firstly need to be bright and able to understand topics deeply from different perspectives. As Mr Maples explained, this analysing capacity is key and found in every successful entrepreneur.
Mr Maples proved to be a charismatic speaker, and he illustrated all of his comments by detailing his vital experience. In one anecdote, Mr Maples, at the time over 40 years old, was about to meet Spotify founder Daniel Ek, who under 30, and kept thinking that there was nothing such a young boy could possibly teach him. Three minutes later, he believed he had finally been explained how the world works, as if it was clear rather than an undecipherable puzzle. The rest of the story is how Spotify became what it is today.
Meeting incredible people is not bounded to working alongside Daniel Ek or Mark Zuckerberg, though. Ms Bowen, who, unlike the other two speakers, works for an agency, praised the benefits of working in such a diverse environment, where people come from all kinds of backgrounds having only similar passion and outstanding minds. To her, working in advertising has been a full, rounded experience since it is both a challenging job and an industry which can provoke a real change in the way the world works.
Ms Bowen shared several tips for interviews, including be ready for any kind of question, keep calm, and try to connect with people. According to her, the best way to secure a job once through the interview process is making people’s lives easier at the office and being effective rather than a burden. Ms Bowen also underlined the importance of having charisma and being remembered as the way to secure a graduate position after an internship. Do not be the one who shies away: speak up, but at the same time, be humble.
All in all, the Tech Talk was a smoothly run event with brilliant speakers. The lack of a large student body presence, likely due to deadlines, was not a downside since the event became relaxed and boosted communication between speakers and attendees. This, in turn, allowed discussion of several interesting entrepreneurial ideas of students in the audience.