Venture Fest Report 2011
Unlike many other B2B exhibitions, Venture Fest provided access to a higher level of business expertise.
From patent attorneys to major web projects and from industrial product innovation to film production companies, they all had something to say. “We want to get noticed.”
I listened to Darren Buttle of ABF Europe on the UKTI presentation. Anybody that can achieve that level of growth should have had more of the ears and attention of many of the attendees. Export growth made easy. Darren also revealed how it all started.
The local film production company was a husband and wife team producing excellent quality work with an emphasis on “easy to understand.” As most men are visuals, this appealed to the majority of visitors to Venture Fest. York isn’t the sort of place where you would expect to find 2 Australians working as film producers but I hear that business is working out well for them.
I spent some time with Michael Ord on the Frooly.com stand. They have a great idea and only time will tell if he and his business partner, Gemma Baldan, can successfully monetise the site. The trend looks good and getting website response times down to under .3 seconds is just one of a number of immediate targets. They will need a deep pocket to sponsor such rapid growth.
With a long history in engineering , I was pleased to see Strainsonics Ltd and their more practical approach to looking after major pieces of civil engineering such as suspension bridges. With additional interests in the world of tribology and measuring film thickness, I had a wonderful self indulgent 30 minutes talking nuts and bolts with the boys.
I caught up with Paul Berwin of Berwins solicitors in Harrogate after, ahem, too many decades! It seems a long time since early school days. Business is good at Berwins with specialities in IP, IT and SaaS to name but a few. Unlike many other solicitors, there seems to be an inclusive family feel to the firm and I know they pride themselves on very open internal communication channels. They also have a good online presence with other marketing services coming from Henry Bennett, their marketing executive.
The only poor part was the “Ask the sales and marketing experts” in the late afternoon where an SEO expert called Phil Hopkins got very muddled between SEO and PPC and his answers to my 2 questions were both misleading and highly inaccurate…more smoke and mirrors from a SEO expert that obviously knew very little. But Phil’s company, H2, do make attractive looking websites. The PR expert, Victoria Tomlinson, talked about social media and its benefits although when asked about any case studies showing a ROI, she replied that it was a bit too early to tell after 12 months. Blimey, I must get stuck into this social media stuff asap! As with most PR companies, it’s mainly fluff and more online vanity. We were also informed that she was writing a book on the subject but with very little apparent knowledge of the existing online space where social media fits in, I won’t be rushing out to the book shop. However I am aware that Victoria Tomlinson has run a very successful traditional PR company for a long time. There was also a Jayne Reid on the panel. I have no idea what she was doing there.
But there’s always a surprise. I sat next to a journalist called Michele Andrew during the sales and marketing experts thing detailed above. I checked her out later on. She and her colleagues are probably just one of very few companies that really understand online copy and the space where it fits. Colleagues include an award winning PR company and others. They have clearly demonstrated an understanding of online and it’s nothing to do with eloquent prose, social media or any other self indulgent online vanity exercises.
So, Michele and others, good to meet you. See you in York next year or maybe sooner.