The old engineering economy, the Glasgow of trains and ships is long gone. The engineering future of Edinburgh is in new technologies.
I once took a boat trip down the Clyde with the sculptor George Wyllie on the paddle steamer the Waverley as part of a day of politics focussed on dreaming a new Glasgow.
As we passed the old shipyards he said to me that we should be making space rockets on the Clyde.
Well Glasgow is now a world centre of micro-satellites, dreaming works.
This report isn’t about dreaming anymore, we dreamt of a new Edinburgh tech scene and we made it happen, it can be made to happen in Glasgow too.
Gordon Guthrie is a Vice President of Product Delivery at the American FinTech unicorn BlockFi. He was previously an IT Strategist at the Royal Bank Group, Chief Technical Architect at IF.com. He was a co-founder of the Turing Festival and has been a founder and worked at a range of startups from small to large, including bet365.
In making recommendations for Glasgow I should preface my comments by stating up front that these proposals should be considered to contained within the recommendations of the Logan Report — not as a counter set, or to replace the broad framework that Logan has laid out.
This document contains lessons to be learnt for, and proposals to shape the implementation of Logan in Glasgow.
These proposals should also be seen as widening the scope of the Scottish tech sector. Glasgow has its own Harlem Globetrotter problem with Edinburgh — competing with Auld Reekie on the capital’s terms is not wise…
There are substantially two motors of opportunity that Glasgow should seek to benefit from:
For the last 30 years the tech industry has been regarded uncritically as a good thing. That is simply no longer the case. The baleful experience of the Trump presidency and the role that big tech played in it has burnt that goodwill to the ground.
Add to this the horrors of the Chinese surveillance state and its atrocities against the Uigyurs and it is clear that big tech, and big governments are a clear and present danger.
Tech had been…
Glasgow faces a major threat, and a smaller potential threat to its future as a tech city.
The smaller threat appears to be abeyance for the moment. A Trumpian America where, as TikTok shows, a US-based company’s future is a plaything of the klepto-state. However given the 4 year US election cycle and the time it would take a Glasgow-based firm taking the FanDuel road to global dominance, this threat remains substantial and real if not immediately quantifiable. Trump failing in his attempt to get the Supreme Court to overturn the election is a good development; somewhat undermined by him…
Before implementing Logan in Glasgow it is worth internalising some of the hard-won lessons and insights from the slow, painful Edinburgh experience.
The Edinburgh institutions listed by Logan did not emerge like Pallas Athena, fully armoured from the forehead of Zeus, but grew, part organically, part experimentally and part consciously.
And critically they grew out of each other.
Informatic Ventures first begat the OG social forum, the StartUpCafe website and then begat TechMeetUp — the first and longest lasting open-tech and startup agora in Scotland. …
The recently commissioned Logan Report makes a number of important recommendations about how Scotland can support development of the new digital economy. The tech scene in Edinburgh has been a major international success story over the last decade. Logan outlines how, in broad terms, we can build on that success across the whole of Scotland.
In this report I will look specifically at Glasgow and make a number of suggestions are to how we can best implement the Logan Report in Glasgow.
In the summer of 2007 I met Tom Griffiths in Doctors pub in Edinburgh. Tom had just dropped out of a PhD program at Edinburgh university to found a tech start-up called Groopit. A few months later Tom, myself and three other founders, Chris Stafford, Lesley Eccles and Rob Jones, would found the company that would become FanDuel. That company today is the leader in the US sports betting market and was recently valued at over $11 billion. It employs over 1,000 people including over 500 people in their Edinburgh and Glasgow offices.
As I reflect on the success of…
The recently commissioned Logan Report makes a number of important recommendations about how Scotland can support development of the new digital economy. The tech scene in Edinburgh has been a major international success story over the last decade. Logan outlines how, in broad terms, we can build on that success across the whole of Scotland. In this report I will look specifically at Glasgow.
The Edinburgh tech start-up scene today exhibits the following desirable attributes to a reasonably evolved extent while the Glasgow start-up scene largely does not:
Boris Johnson reacted like his teeth were being drilled without anaesthetic. “Oh, hello” I thought.
We have some cute aphorisms in politics “never kick a man unless he’s down” and “if at first you don’t succeed, in wi the boot and in wi the heid”.
Let us add to them.
In the days of yore you used to rent a television from an outfit called Radio Rentals becuz in the days of yore-yore you used to rent a radio from them for your top, home entertainment, high-tech needs.
Radio Rental lives on only as rhyming slang but watching BoJo go…
Former SNP Parliamentary Candidate — Quondam Computer Boffin