Turing Fest is one of the biggest and – in our slightly biased opinion – best cross functional tech conferences in Europe.
Held every year in Edinburgh’s EICC, it attracts some of the best minds in tech and this year was no exception, with speakers from Twitter, Spotify, HubSpot and Skyscanner; to name a few.
What makes Turing Fest so special for Scotland (and Edinburgh) is that the event brings together speakers & companies from the most innovative local startups with the aforementioned global giants.
We’ve been going along to Turing for the past three or four years now and it rarely fails to disappoint. As a marketing consultancy, we can usually be seen sitting in the talks covering growth and leadership, but I personally found some of the “build” (engineering) speakers equally insightful. Here’s a round up of some of our favourite speakers, takeaways and memorable moments from Turing Fest 2022.
April Dunford on crafting propositions 👀
If you haven’t heard of April Dunford and you are in the business of brand strategy, then you really ought to check her out. She has led marketing teams for a host of successful startups and is one of the most sought after consultants specialising in brand propositions. She’s also written a popular book, Obviously Awesome, which is now cemented on our reading list!
In her talk, April gave a hilarious analogy of the process of buying a toilet and how it really shouldn’t be that complicated! The most helpful thing that marketing can do is help the buyer navigate alternatives and make a shortlist. In this case, understanding your bathroom situation (you really needed to be there…) so you can choose the right loo for you!
My key takeaway from this talk was that marketers should spend more time (working with sales) to understand critical customer insights in order to better frame the value proposition, which should ultimately align with the product-market fit.
Matt Lerner – Startup Growth First Principles 🧠
Attending Matt’s talk was a real must for me. A former VP Marketing at Paypal, successful VC and now consultant to European startups; Matt really has seen it all. At Turing 2021, he gave a fantastic talk on defining – and channelling your team towards your ”North Star Metric”.
This year, his talk was focused on 2 or 3 key “mental models” for startup growth. One of these included the famous JTBD (Jobs To Be Done) strategy, which we employ regularly for clients at Bridge. The other mental model was this:
Imagine everything you know about your business is 2% of the universe and you need to figure out the other 98%.
Matt also challenged the audience with a couple of key “thought experiments”
First thought experiment: imagine your startup is inevitable – you are in a race to solve the ideal business model.
Second thought experiment: If you knew growth was the hardest thing to do – how would you do it differently?
The take-away for me from Matt’s talk was: how can we – as marketers – approach the challenge of growth with complete humility (?) and a beginners mindset, in order to better understand customer needs. We can do this via constant research, hypothesis and experimentation.
Paul Adams on Moving Fast 🚀
Paul Adams is the CPO of Intercom, one of Ireland’s latest Unicorns. He gave an insightful talk on the “need for speed” and how all startups are in a race against rising and giant incumbents.
My main takeaway from Paul’s talk was that – even if you have a fantastic product with clear differentiators – if you don’t maintain momentum (not just speed), the competition will overtake you by matching their scale with new (competitive) solutions.
Paul made some excellent points on how to maintain a “speed mindset” within your team by encouraging anything that contributes to momentum.
Nyssa Packard 💡 How to Run User Research at any Scale
At Bridge, we are advocates of well executed user research, so Nyssa Packard’s (Head of User Research & Data Science at Skyscanner) on how to run user research at any scale was close to the top of our list.
Nyssa gave some fantastic advice on how to employ qualitative and quantitative research using a bunch of free (or very low cost) tools. One of the top tips (and arguably a growth hack) for me was her suggestion on utilising Facebook & Instagram ads to test responses by specific audience demographics. Essentially running low budget test & learn campaigns as part of your user research.
Our team – having a ball 🏀… literally
Finally one or the best moments of Turing for me was watching just how much fun the team was having. Here’s a video of Joanna and Ibzz competing with each other at the FanDuel stand. Ibzz managed a close 2nd 🥈 in the event competition (he is a former Basketballer, so we can’t give him too much credit!).