#TBT: 17 tips to throw a killer party

Throwing a killer party for your customers and prospects is not as easy as it sounds. Here are 17 top tips to make sure yours is a hit.

Welcome to my Throwback Thursday series of posts. For this series I searched back through my archives and I have selected 5 posts that are relevant to the Land & Expand mission – to provide you with tips and insights for launching and growing in London (and UK) tech. I’ll post a #TBT article once a month taking us through to summer.

For this months #TBT post, we jump in the time machine and head back to February 2013 to revisit the first ever guest post for the gone but not forgotten 3 Beards.

The original post is here if you want to check it out directly.

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With the party season just behind us, here is a quick guide on how to plan a kick ass party. If you have a sweet tip that’s missing, be sure to add.

  1. Think about your guests, not your company. The goal of any party should be Throwing a killer party for your customers and prospects is not as easy as it sounds. Here are 17 top tips to make sure yours is a hit.for people to have a great time. Don’t compromise on that goal. I’m sure you are working within a limited budget. Focus on delivering a great experience for a smaller number of people rather than giving a poor experience for a lot of people.
  2. Most people hate talking to strangers! It takes a special kind of person to go up to random people and start a conversation. Think about giving your guests something to do rather than have a room of people staring into their drinks. For example book a venue with built in entertainment like bowling or a games arcade.
  3. Scout the venue ahead of time. Sounds obvious but make sure you know the layout, and agree all the logistics with the owners ahead of time.
  4. Make sure the venue has kick ass Wi-Fi, accessible power sockets, and if possible, mobile coverage. A lot of venues are in deep basements with zero mobile signal. If that is the case then reliable Wi-Fi is essential to ensure your guests are sharing their good time with the world via social media. If they are sharing their bad time, then that’s your fault!
  5. Ensure the venue is accessible. Good transport links are vital. Think about your guests getting safely home.
  6. Food & drink. Budget will dictate how much you can do here, but again, think quality over quantity. Tell people up front if it is a cash bar or if they have to eat before they show up so they come prepared.
  7. Ticketing. Use an online service like EventBrite to handle registrations and ticket distribution. This will save you a bunch of hassle. You can also get a ton of info to see how many tickets you have shifted and pull off attendee reports.
  8. Promoting the event. Nothing beats having a strong network of friends to help spread the word about your event. If you are selling tickets, offer meet-up organisers bundles of free tickets for their members in exchange for getting the community excited. List your event on social event sites like Lanyrd. Twitter, Facebook and other social media are valuable channels to promote your event, but less targeted than having a strong network on the ground. Get people using your party hashtag to make tracking the conversation easier.
  9. Be attentive, don’t just fire and forget. Monitor social to fix any problems or answer any questions people may have in advance of the party.
  10. Staff. Bring plenty of your people or make sure the venue supplies staff to ensure guests get taken care of. From arrival and registration to getting served at the bar, to getting their coats at the end.
  11. Dressing the venue. Think about what you want your guests to see. Options could include pop up banners, posters, on screen slide shows, etc.
  12. As organiser, turn up at least 2 hours before kick off. Make sure there are no last minute problems. Double check with the venue that they know what is going on and when.
  13. Arrival. Make sure guests are greeted with a warm welcome and a pain free registration process. If you are using EventBrite then use the organiser tools to handle registration. You can do this via their website or mobile app. Print out a guest list in case of connectivity problems. See point 4 – Hand out name badges / stickers.
  14. Capture the memory. If you are hosting the party you should be spending your time making sure your guests are having a great time. You won’t have time to wander around taking photo’s. Bring in a friend or a professional photographer to make sure those smiles are captured for prosperity. Make sure you clear rights in advance with a professional to ensure you can use them as you please, and ensure you know how quickly your photo’s will be edited and ready to pimp. Paul Clarke knows the score. After the event share the photo’s online via Facebook, Flickr or some other service, and encourage your guests to tag themselves and get sharing.
  15. Swag. If your company has T-Shirts or any other promotional stuff, make sure your guests get some goodies to take home with them. Get them delivered ahead of time to give you one less thing to worry about on the day of your party.
  16. Again sounds obvious, but you should be the last one to leave. I’ve lost count of the events I’ve been too where the organisers duck out early. If you can’t be bothered to stay at your own party, why should anyone else?
  17. Despite all the stress of organising, try and have fun!

#TBT: Top tips: APIs – A marketer’s secret weapon

Welcome to my Throwback Thursday series of posts. For this series I searched back through my archives and I have selected 5 posts that are relevant to the Land & Expand mission – to provide you with tips and insights for launching and growing in London (and UK) tech. I’ll post a #TBT article once a month taking us through to summer.

For this months #TBT post, we jump in the time machine and head back to February 2014 to revisit the article I wrote for Netimperative.

The original post is here if you want to check it out directly.

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Understanding the world of APIs will help marketers develop smarter mobile campaigns. James Parton, European director of Twilio looks at how marketers can utilise technology to enhance their campaigns.

Understanding the world of APIs will help marketers develop smarter mobile campaigns.

A UN agency report suggests that in 2014 there will be more mobile phone subscriptions in the world than people, and that 75% of Europe will be online. So for any marketer thinking about implementing a mobile marketing strategy, now’s the time. Marketers have a wealth of tools at their disposal which allow them to bring incredible campaigns to life on a daily basis and one that’s finding its way into more and more toolkits is the API (application programming interface).

Understanding the world of APIs will allow marketers to begin developing smart mobile campaigns that help them stand out and attract the attention of today’s online society. So what is an API? Put simply, it’s the middle-man between two separate systems that allows them to communicate and share information back and forth. It’s a slick and easy way to plug in and consume a service from a third party provider. Those services could be anything from sharing the news, to transactional services like making payments, or even sending an email and making phone calls. The clever thing about APIs is now you can consume these services through simple web interfaces that your software development team can integrate in next to no time. You can bypass cumbersome commercial negotiations, the purchase and maintenance of third party software and hardware, and time consuming and expensive integrations. For these reasons APIs truly are making a huge difference and present significant opportunities for business.

The momentum behind the adoption of APIs is huge. According to data from ProgrammableWeb, a website that tracks the growth and usage of APIs across the world, in 2005 there were just 32 public APIs. By September 2013 that number had exploded to 9,992 – and many of these are the secret weapon behind the channels marketers interact with on a daily basis, such as Twitter and Facebook. They allow the simple, straightforward and fast development of incredible tools that help us market our companies more creatively, which will ultimately drive the bottom-line. Looking at Facebook as an example, it’s created a developer ecosystem that has built more than nine million apps on Facebook’s platform, and those APIs power everything from using Facebook to take payments, through to adding ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ buttons to your own website content.

Another good example is Yelp in the way it cleverly utilises Google Maps. By plugging into its API, Yelp can not only share data and information on hotels and restaurants etc, but the API allows it to show users exactly where these local services are. A job that would once have been long-winded and tedious for the Yelp employees is turned into a slick and simple process thanks to the humble API.

Once marketeers begin embracing APIs and dreaming up creative campaigns, amazing new possibilities are unlocked. People are doing incredible things everyday such as building call centres, SMS notification systems, and customer callback sales functions. Another altogether more creative example is when EE briefed London Agency, Poke, to create an outdoor campaign that would bring the community together at Christmas. Poke used an API to create something truly magical – ‘Make Hackney Sparkle’. By simply calling a number displayed on an EE outdoor advert, members of the public could make it snow on London’s Rivington Street! The project really demonstrated just how to grab people’s attention in among all that white noise I mentioned above. Even more powerful was there was no need for complex app downloads and installs – just a simple phone call supported out of the box by every phone on the planet. The campaign reached over 318,000 people on Facebook and Twitter and more than 10,000 people have watched the ‘making of’ video of the project.

This is just a snapshot of the amazing and creative things being built using APIs every day. The beauty of them is that pretty much any kind of implementation is possible. The API is the ingredient, and the recipe is only constrained by the imagination of the developer. From building a fully featured contact centre from scratch in 20 minutes and 8 seconds, to securing Enterprise file sharing with Box, to Coca Cola Enterprises using SMS to alert their field engineers of priority faults across their inventory of 600,000 coolers and vending machines in Western Europe.

I’d love to know how you’ve used an API to bolster your marketing campaigns or how you plan to do so in the future.

[DATA] New – Tech Nation 2017 Report published

Tech Nation 2017 Banner

The Tech Nation report is one of the seminal pieces of research on the UK Tech Industry, and the updated 2017 edition has just been published.

You can get a sneak peak from the infographic below, and the link to the full report has been added in the Research & Data section of Land and Expand.

From the Tech City press release:

With over 1000 data points, 220 community partners, 61 tech startup case studies and 30 UK tech clusters, Tech Nation 2017 marks the most comprehensive study to date on the UK’s tech ecosystem.

Tech Nation 2017

#TBT: Britain’s digital economy: Silicon Roundabout and beyond

Data shows that 15,720 new companies launched in Tech City, London last year but what's next for the UK startup scene?

Welcome to my Throwback Thursday series of posts. For this series I searched back through my archives and I have selected 5 posts that are relevant to the Land & Expand mission – to provide you with tips and insights for launching and growing in London (and UK) tech. I’ll post a #TBT article once a month taking us through to summer.

For this months #TBT post, we jump in the time machine and head back to July 2013 to revisit the article I wrote for the Guardian.

The original post is here if you want to check it out directly.

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Data shows that 15,720 new companies launched in Tech City, London last year but what’s next for the UK startup scene?

The moniker Silicon Roundabout originated as a tweet by Matt Biddulph. The phrase quickly took on a life of its own, and has come to represent the thriving tech community clustered in London’s EC1V. The area – which nominally spans Old Street, Shoreditch and Hoxton, but in truth spreads beyond these boundaries – has rapidly become a hub for tech startups and digital businesses to call home.

There are always questions asked about how a startup is defined for the purposes of research, but that withstanding, the latest data shows 15,720 new companies launched there last year alone, which is more than any other area in the country.

In addition to the tech giants such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook, London has become a first choice for high-growth US companies looking to open a European HQ such as Twitter, Foursquare, AirBnB and Uber.

From our perspective at Twilio, London was a natural choice for our first office outside of the US. Language, accessibility to rest of Europe, a vibrant startup ecosystem, the financial market, talent and flexible business conditions were all contributing factors. Also, and importantly, a number of our existing US customers wanted to launch in the UK and take Twilio with them.

But it’s not all rosy. One of the original reasons for companies basing themselves in areas such as Shoreditch was the affordable rents, but there are those arguing that these have been obliterated by the hype drummed up around the area. There are properties that were snapped up for £15 to £18 per square foot in 2011, which are being passed on at as much as £42.50 per square metre only two years later. This could be forcing smaller companies to move or start up elsewhere.

It’s also important to highlight that the tech industry has exploded all across the UK, and not just in east London. In fact, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research’s recent report told us that there are at least 270,000 digital companies across the country. If you pull together the digital and creative industries in the UK, these accounted for 6% of British GDP, which is 2.8% up from 2008, according to government figures.

Now compare that to the financial services industry – the UK’s economic backbone for decades – which dropped from more than 10% of British GDP in 2008 to 9.4% in 2011. Put in that context, it makes for interesting reading.

Tech clusters can be found in cities all over the country, including Bath, Brighton, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle. Paul Smith, director at ignite100, a 13-week accelerator programme for early stage startups in Newcastle, told me that the most exciting development in the Newcastle startup scene is seeing teams co-locate between the city and London.

He said the cost base of any startup basing development and design in Newcastle is far lower, and a team’s runway can easily be doubled. Plenty of founders are then travelling to London two or three times a month, so don’t feel like they’re missing out on the London scene either.

But what we can’t do as an industry is pat ourselves on the back and rest on our laurels. Tom Hopkins, director of MMC Ventures recently wrote a piece highlighting that the job is only half done, and without further funding the wave of new startups will not grow into the world dominating companies the UK craves.

In addition, it’s vital we support the next generation of young entrepreneurs, and it’s encouraging to see that government is starting to take action. Education secretary Michael Gove recently added computer programming to the national curriculum, meaning primary schoolchildren across the UK will be exposed to coding from a young age.

There are also organisations such as Code Club, Skills Matter, General Assembly and others that are helping develop the new breed of tech entrepreneurs by teaching them the skills they need to pursue a career in the industry.

It’s an intriguing time to be sitting by the roundabout in east London. New companies are starting every day, growing fast and building products left, right and centre. This is the era of “doing” and collectively we’re building something exciting which is attracting the attention of the world and putting not only east London, but the whole of the UK on the tech map.

Must Read Research: The European Internet Industry Report 2016

research and data reports on the UK and European Start Up scene

Reading Time: 1 minute
 

In our ongoing mission to sign post key Tech and Startup research, I’m pleased to let you know we have added the recently published report from CatCap and Silverpeak called The European Internet Industry Report 2016: M&A, Growth Equity & IPO. You can find it linked from our Research & Data page.

The report is a must read for its wealth of data, insights on key market trends, and deal breakdowns.