The Big M event in Bath: Excellent

Screen shot 2011 03 23 at 12 13 25

Congratulations to Mike and Chris, the chaps behind The Big M conference held this week in Bath. They did a phenomenal job pulling together what surely has to be the city’s largest ever tech event (there were over 200 tickets sold).

I’d never been to Bath before — what a lovely, pleasant place it was. Just an hour-and-a-bit from London Paddington, surrounded by rolling hills and blessed with some phenomenal architecture, I’m looking forward to going back soon.

There’s a thriving creative and technical hub around the city and it was most definitely in evidence during the event. I met some magnificent people working on some very interesting concepts — from Gelato to mobile event networking to uber-sexy RFID projects.

The event was held over two days (a conference on the Monday and a workshop on the Tuesday). I unfortunately missed the second day as I had to rush off to Paris.

Touchnote’s Raam Thakrar delivered a very straight forward message to developers: If you class yourself as a decent mobile developer and you’re not earning at least £65,000 a year, change, modify, stop. I think that statement will resonate highly with a lot of people in the mobile development space.

Aral Balkan had everyone laughing with disbelief at some ridiculous user interface experiences. That’s Aral’s bag — he’s a designer, developer — but his focus appears to be heavily based around helping humans interact with technology. He made some phenomenal points about simplicity — unfortunately, most of them completely (and I do mean, completely) ignored by the vast majority of the mobile marketplace. With the exception of Apple obviously.

I didn’t manage to catch Bruce Lawson’s presentation as I was back at the hotel working away on my presentation. I talked to some of the other delegates who very much appreciated a fundamental reminder of the capabilities of HTML5 and mobile. It’s not all about the walled garden.

I popped back into the Komedia venue just as the panel session held by Vodafone’s Dan Appelquist was coming to an end. Immediate feedback from the chaps I sat down next to was: More, more, more — I can understand why. Dan had assembled a panel of excellent speakers. I know both Sanyu Kiruluta (of RIM) and Terence Eden (of WAC) and highly rate them — so alongside the other panelists, I’m sure it was most definitely thought-provoking.

I then did my presentation.

Then Paul Golding got up to talk Future Innovations. (I am particularly impressed that he has insisted his children, aged 11 & 13 if memory serves, never, ever get a ‘job’. Good policy that, I think, for the next generation.) Paul’s presentation was utterly critical for any mobile startups thinking about how they develop their business. Paul works with o2 and briefly mentioned their Twilio-like service that I really must take a look at.

I’ll be uploading my slides in just a few moments. In my presentation I was pretty critical about mobile operators in general — however one thing I should have said is well done — well down to the sponsors of The Big M, namely:

Vodafone (Developers)
BlueVia
Nokia

I’m delighted they took the time to come down to Bath to talk to the attendees — and that had the foresight to support the event in the first place. Good work!

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