Once a month, on the (penultimate??) Wednesday, I’ve been attending an event called ‘Tech Wednesday’. Last night was my third time attending, having been last month and back in last October. Each month has a particular theme, and this month it was entitled ‘Women In Tech’. We ended up a bit late due to heavy traffic, into the back of the room. Every seat already taken.
This is the first thing about Tech Wednesday — it is so well attended. I’ve been to several meetup groups, and they’re often just a handful of people. Tech Wednesday is packed full of keen and interested people in and around the world of tech. The free pizza and beer I’m sure helps, but mainly I suspect the people here come just because they are interested and passionate.
The first speaker, Pauline Roche, was talking about tech for positive impact and social change. She had lots of great ideas and had a good natural presentation style. And this is a topic that has been on my mind a lot recently.
The second speaker, Sally Tomlinson, also once a maths teacher, was talking about a platform which she developed to help schools manage work experience. Having recently been involved with work experience, this is such an obviously great idea, and it sounds like it’s a platform already changing the world for many young people.
The third speaker, Rachel Maclean, was talking about tech-ifying the HR world, an industry that is apparently behind the times when it comes to computers and automation. Sounds similar to the humanities, with which I’m pretty familiar now. Rachel's presentation in particular was so well delivered and communicated.
This is the next thing about tech Wednesday — the talks. I’ve seen quite a lot of talks here now, and they’re such a wonderful variety, and generally speaking, they’re delivered by great presenters. There’s always a lot take take away from them, whether it is how they’ve communicated a topic, or just getting an idea for something new.
Yesterday, for example, I learnt more tools for delivering a great presentation, and got to thinking more about how to use tech for change. I’ve been feeling more and more at home in Birmingham recently, and want to try and impact the community positively in some sort of way. Hearing speakers on this topic hopefully keeps nudging me in that direction.
After the talks is the arrival of the pizzas. And with so many people, it can be quite a scramble to get there. The other issue is that you’ll generally get talking to someone interesting about something pretty fascinating, and the pizza is soon forgotten anyway.
I spent most of my time talking to a guy last night, who is working on a split ticketing app for trains. Finally! How has someone not already done this?! Really interesting talking to him, and how they’re developing and working through a whole range of issues, mainly around legislation.
I’ve met a few really great people through this now, and it has been inspiring me towards my future goal of eventually setting up and running my own business. The event is held on the site of a tech incubator, so there’s always lots of great startups around. I would probably say that even if you’re not into tech at all, Tech Wednesday still has a plenty that you could get out of it!