April Meetup with James Allen from Creative Huddle and Presense Orb

James Allen from Creative HuddleThe power of online analytics for offline businesses and how anyone can be creative. Two amazing subjects that were tackled by Lean Startup Yorkshire last night.

The event picked up where it left off in February. A good mixture of both new attendees and those that enjoyed the first meetup ensured that the networking before the presentations was lively and informative. Drinks and food laid on by NewRedo were enjoyed by the lean startup group.

The presentations kicked off with Presence Orb. What a start. The unassuming Tom Sheppard wowed the meetup with the startup tale of how he initially created a solution for home security that would track if your gadgets were removed from the home. They quickly pivoted to a system that tracks visitors to retail locations by picking up their mobile signals.

Tom Sheppard from Presence OrbTom lightly touched on the facts that Cisco incubated them in London, an amazing achievement in itself, and focused on the actionable insights that his product gave retailers, in the same way that great analytics on a website or web application would.

The highlight of the talk was how Tom had to quickly scramble to re-position the marketing messages of the business when an early partner had managed to present the solution to the world’s media as a real world snooping device. ‘Cookies for the real world’ was soon dropped as the company tagline as it was both inaccurate and had huge potential for negative PR.

Being small and agile this was done in an evening, typifying the lean principles we all came to learn about.

Lean Startup Yorkshire meetup buffet

Tom showed that bricks and mortar retailers now have the power of detailed analytics for their real world locations. Finally they can compete with the online world with actionable insights and metric driven decision-making that was thought to be the preserve of the e-commerce world.

Is this the beginning of the fight back of high street retailers?

A quick break followed the many questions from the crowd, which really demonstrated the engagement within the room.

On next was James Allen from Creative Huddle. James opened his presentation with a slide showing him in amazing locations around the world. from the Maldives to Madrid. He then revealed that his previous job was to sell the worlds best tourist spots to the rest of us. Amazingly after 15 years this became a tiresome job for James and he turned to the world of startups to create his own piece of paradise in Yorkshire.

James took us through a rapid analysis of why people and companies are not creative. Reflecting James’s background, the presentation was heavily backed up with referenceable articles and research. The take-away was that large organisations struggle to be creative despite the leadership desire to be creative. Smaller companies have a much better chance at being creative as they have less constrictions on creativity.

James Allen from Creative HuddleThe second half of the presentations was all about process. James, again, clearly showed his references whilst dispelling the many myths around creativity. The common view is that creativity is a mysterious, esoteric activity practised by the few mavericks in an organisation. James showed us all that creativity is a process, a process that anybody can follow.

Fascinating examples from Hubspot, Netflix and Valve really brought the talk to life.

The talk was interspersed with some playful audience tasks that ensured that the room really engaged with talk. James practised what he preached with a creative introduction to his new world and some easy to apply techniques for us all to use.

The night was concluded with further networking at the Midnight Bell, a thoroughly fascinating and informative evening. If you are interested in lean startups in Yorkshire, this is the place to be. Our next meetup is on the 12th June with two more fascinating speakers lined up.

Sanjay Parekh

Leave a Reply