As promised! The video of Rob Bishop from Raspberry Pi speaking to Digital Scarborough is available to view
A couple of nights ago we hosted Rob Bishop from Raspberry Pi as part of Digital Coast, video coming soon!
To see what was said about the event: Twitter
Pics courtesy of:
We are very excited announce that Raspberry Pi Evangelist Rob Bishop is going to be joining us via Skype at the University of Hull, Scarborough Campus.
As the Raspberry Pi is backed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation and all of us at ServerTastic and Digital Coastfully support what they are doing we would like to donate any profits to the foundation. With this in mind tickets are priced at £5 inc. VAT but students are welcome at no charge.
“I don’t know why we pay our license fee” is something we’ve all heard time and time again and every time I’ve heard it, I’ve defended it. The role a truly free and independent media organisation plays in a democratic country is fundamentally key to our freedoms, I would argue a free press is possibly the most important tool that any nation needs to move forward.
This is something many people don’t understand or lose sight of when complaining that there is nothing on BBC1 so the license fee isn’t worth paying. They forget about that they provide twelve TV channels, the red button, fourteen radio stations (not including local radio) and iPlayer. But what is the point when the information provided isn’t balanced or glossed over, slowly morphing into just another version of the agenda driven services offered by the likes of Sky news?
It may be that I’m getting older or that a party is in power that, in the interest of balance, I’ll say I detest with a passion but BBC news channels seem to be loosing their edge don’t they? They seem to be playing the Governments agenda or fuelling scare stories and not doing what journalists should be doing and going beneath the soundbites. Just yesterday, a former NBA basketball star appeared on the BBC breakfast sofa to speak about a condition he had. The presenters seemed to push and push to try and get a scaremongering story that just wasn’t there - NBA star: exercise caused lung problems. The recent coverage of the changes in the welfare state and the perpetuation of the Tory myth that work-shy people would be hardest-hit again seemed to be taken at face-value, luckily The Independent covered the story, you know, with actual facts.
Oh and we won’t mention Saville.
This kind of thing seems to be happening time and time again, but the impact of it pales into insignificance when you look at the scything changes to the NHS that the BBC allowed to happen without looking at it from the other side of the coin. This is a big deal and before anyone thinks that I’m just as anti Tory politics, it has been proven and I urge you to read “How the BBC betrayed the NHS: an exclusive report on two years of censorship of distortion”
My original title was “Why I will no longer defend the BBC”, but I know deep down that have to, we have to. They just need to get their ship in order.
For those that don’t know me I’m a web developer who lives and works in Scarborough as well as being a Visiting Lecturer on Web Design up at the University and I sit on a local group called Digital Scarborough. Digital Scarborough has been around in some form or another for seven years or so and it is driven by enthusiastic volunteers. It has however, by their own admission, struggled to find a coherent purpose in the last few years. On the 1st November I went along to HD Live (http://2012.hd-live.co.uk/), which is a conference in Hull that looks at why technology is essential for business and economic growth. It is a very well supported event with a number of high profile speakers and at £90 per ticket it isn’t cheap, but it got me thinking…..
Now the speakers that it attracted where in the most part excellent, including some household names from the tech world and beyond. For me the high point of the day was the excellent Fraser Speirs (http://speirs.org/) who is an IT teacher at a small school in Glasgow that has championed one to one technology in schools. The speaker that got me thinking most though was Evan Davis, the economist, journalist and presenter for the BBC. He spoke about how the British economy evolved over time, that we are at a crossroads and subsequently what that means for Hull.
Working together increases productivity
If you have two cities, each with a million people and you were to combine them into one city with two million people, they will be 5% more effective. Judging by the number of events that happen in Scarborough, from the one off events that individuals at Woodend put on to Creative Coast and the Engineering Week there appears to be an appetite for forming relationships and working together.
Don’t wait for inward investment
The digital economy is bucking the trend UK wide is growing at a rate of 4% each year, and this is likely to be carried on by very small companies working together in unison. Evan suggested if inward investment came then great but don’t assume it will, or if it does it would revolutionise the area. This aside, I would argue that the Scarborough area has already received a substantial amount of inward investment. Companies like York Potash, Yell/Hibu and Qdos all employ people who work in digital roles be they designers, coders or scores of other roles. With the addition of the smaller Scarborough based companies (I make it twenty-eight in Woodend alone) there is no question that there has been investment in digital roles in the area.
The financial model was too fractious
The industrial revolution worked for Britain because it spread wealth. The emergence of the service based industry has caused wealth to be concentrated in certain pockets of the country, something needs to be done to spread the wealth and join the economy back together.
Now looking at Digital Scarborough, there are many ways that it is failing these points in my opinion that need to be addressed.
Digital Scarborough and its problems
In the past the group has focussed on bringing events to the town instead of building a community. Putting on events is great but it has to be with an end goal in mind, this is why HD Live was so successful. We have two events already lined up for next year and the quality of speakers are extremely high, for example we have Ling Valentine, Malcolm Garrett and Martin Lambie-Nairn who should be of interest to the tech and wider business community but who are we trying to attract and what are we trying to say?
This apathy (and there is no other word for it) from the local digital community has always been a big problem and no matter who I ask I can’t really work out why this is so. As I’ve previously alluded to we have the community but we aren’t engaging. We know the speakers are good enough but the fact that only 16% of the tickets sold for the Ling Valentine event in January have gone to people living in Scarborough is staggering to me.
The only thought I have to the above is that we are trying to be relevant to all people and as a result may be alienating everyone. The reason HDLive was such a breath of fresh air for me was that even though it was aimed at encouraging economic growth,there were no events such as learn about SEO or social media and things of that ilk. Businesses people still attended but they learnt from the speakers stories and weren’t offered what amounts to free advice that damages the local digital economy.
What does Digital Scarborough need to do?
So, these are the things I believe Digital Scarborough needs to do but involvement from local businesses and individuals is key.
1) Encourage people to come and share their experiences. Whether they are part of a division in a larger company or going it alone, people have always learnt from other people.
2) Encouraging collaboration is key. Digital Scarborough needs to facilitate this, not only within the town but reach out to other towns and cities, like Hull (http://hulldigital.co.uk/) and Barnsley (http://thedigitalbarn.co.uk/).
3) Make sure that the good work the people in the industry are doing is shared and receives the recognition they deserve.
4) Create a buzz.
So what now?
Please get involved. If you are a ‘coder’, ‘designer’, ‘creative’, ‘geek’ or are just passionate please get in touch via email or Twitter. There is a need for Digital Scarborough, I don’t think that is in any doubt, it just needs to work for the town.
Managed to get my first ever article published in .net magazine - “Create your own API with Restler”
This is your opportunity to hear from Ling Valentine. Owner of the “worst website in the world”, she eats dragons for breakfast!
Ling appeared on Dragons Den and turned down investment from Duncan Bannatyne.
Having settled in Newcastle as a Chinese immigrant, who speaks perfect Chinglish, Ling set up a profitable and fast growing business from scratch which now leases more than £35 million worth of cars each year!
As a marketing genius Ling has made a success of using Social Media viatwitter and made an actual ROI, non of the estimated rubbish you hear from other so called Social Media experts.
You should attend this talk if you are interested in the real world of marketing and how you can create a buzz about your company.
Ling is also talking in London and New York. But no need to travel there when you can come to the amazing beaches of Scarborough!
This is a no bullshit talk guaranteed to give you real life examples of how you can improve your marketing and business!
Book your tickets early to avoid disappointment: http://ling-scarborough.eventbrite.com/
It is still early days but I’m delighted to announce that next year’s Digital Scarborough conference will run in March 2013.
As we are in North Yorkshire and some way from London, we are faced with the problem of students moving away from the area as they don’t think they can pursue a digital career here or people being apathetic towards getting involved in online communities as they don’t think they can, or see how they can make an impact.
Next year’s event brings a number of high profile speakers to the town who have achieved notoriety in their specific field and can inspire the next generation to pursue their goals regardless of where they live or study. Confirmed speakers so far include:
- Martin Lambie-Nairn
- Malcolm Garrett
- Ling Valentine
Check out the website http://www.digital-scarborough.com for more info!