I am typing this blog shortly after the closing session of Turing Fest 2021. Said session was Chris McCann CEO of Current Health being interviewed by Turing CEO Brian Corcoran (no big deal…). As a long time Turing Fest fan girl I was super excited to attend TF 2021 not only in person, after such a long time staring at a Zoom screen, but as part of the brand new partnership with Harper Macleod. This year we partnered with Turing Fest to run their Speed Networking space in the delegate village at EICC. And what a space it was! Front and centre, with a beautiful carpet in a shade that can only be described as “Turing Pink”.
You read that correctly… 2021 marked the return of Turing Fest in person. They offered online tickets too, which provided a hybrid model for those a bit further afield. As a result, we were all very much aware of our fellow delegates’ physical boundaries, and more specifically, how they might be feeling about the day (and to be honest, about the last 20 months or so). It made for freer and more interesting exchanges than the usual “networking 101” conversations. I should say, the chat is always interesting at Turing Fest social distancing or not, so maybe it’s just Turing that brings it out.
It comes as no surprise that a lot of the speakers this year talked about the well-being and management of your team. The upkeep of quality culture in your company may seem obvious at the outset, but actually it is easily forgotten when you have a lot of other plates to spin. It is not as simple as ping pong tables and free coffee. As highlighted by 2021 speaker Sara Archer of ChartMogul: beware of the “culture defined by perks”. You must engage with your team. Find out what they value, and does it align with the larger company vision? If there is anything that can be taken from not only the impact of COVID-19, but actually the culture in start-ups as a whole, it is that it’s chaotic and stressful, but it doesn’t prevent movement of talent. Negative issues can take hold, and this results in high staff turnover, lost revenue and your brand resonating poorly with audiences.
Another theme running through the speaker sessions was quality of work and how to manage this as your company grows. Day 2 speaker Varun Nair (previously head of AR/VR audio software at Facebook) noted two things that kill start-ups: (i) lack of focus and (ii) inability to ship and make an impact. As your team grows, so can the problems. From customer service agents to in-house consultants, make sure your people are an expert on the topic they are representing. One of my favourite quotes from this year’s speakers came from Varun: “Debug your teams and processes with as much care as debugging code”.
We are all acclimating to in-person conferences. Turing made it less awkward for anybody who wanted to avoid even tipping a toe in the networking water with handy red/yellow/green stickers for our lanyards to signify how keen we were to speak to another delegate. Honestly, I am thinking of buying a roll of stickers and implementing that in my day to day life.
Your team are your life blood. If you do not nurture and help them grow, do not expect positive results.
What are your standards of quality? Don’t over promise and under deliver because you aren’t educated on the subject you claim to represent, or don’t have the bandwidth to execute the work.
There were so many highlights of this year’s Turing Fest, but don’t just take my word for it. I urge you take a look at the quality of speakers they attract, and search for Turing Fest in your Twitter feed – the evidence speaks for itself. If you work in tech or are building, growing and leading a start-up then consider buying a ticket for 2022 – we’ll see you there on the pink carpet.