Category Archives: Networking

Tech Nomads – Who Are They?

Who are Tech Nomads, and what do they do?

Based in Liverpool, Tech Nomads is a monthly meetup group. Held usually at Liverpool Science Park, this group consists of creatively minded people who are interested in programming, along with other tech and digital industry areas.

The purpose of Tech Nomads is to bring together and nurture a creative environment for people in Liverpool, to collaborate on tech-related ideas. By creating a close supportive community, Tech Nomads allows for the facilitation of creativity, through informal networking, as well as sharing ideas and experiences. Attendees can also develop their creative skills through writing code.

Recently I mentioned how the Liverpool City Region (LCR) has a growing creative, digital and tech community. Therefore, the work of groups such as Tech Nomads are indispensable, as they are hotbeds of tech and digital creativity, where like-minded people come together to meet, share, collaborate and learn from each other. It is through enabling different minds to interact in a supportive and informal environment, that creativity can thrive.

Tech Nomads is not just for people with an interest in technology. In fact, it is open to everyone, making it inclusive, open and welcoming. This is important to prevent people working in silos, which hinders creativity within organisations.

I am certainly impressed and intrigued greatly with the work that Tech Nomads does. Working in IT, I am certainly looking forward to attending events, along with meeting and networking with fellow tech enthusiasts. Finally, I am also looking forward to learning and sharing knowledge and experiences.

You can find out more about their events on Eventbrite, and also follow them on Twitter.

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Ubiquity City Social – Modigliani Opera Exhibition

Following on from my last article, I would like to share with you a second art-themed post. This is about a networking event in Liverpool that I attended recently, which featured an art exhibition that was educational, yet so unique and breathtakingly brilliant. In the words of Monty Python, it was something completely different!

This networking event was Ubiquity PR’s City Social. Held at 26 Bold Street in Liverpool, the event was to promote the Modigliani Opera Exhibition. This exhibition is to promote and celebrate the work of Amedeo Modigliani, using 4K videos, cinema screens and VR (virtual reality) technology, to provide an immersive and interactive presentation of the artist’s life and work.

Who is Amedeo Modigliani?

Born in the Italian city of Livorno in July 1884, Amedeo Modigliani is a painter and sculptor. Well know for creating portraits and nudes of a distinctive individual style, Modigliani’s works, which although not greatly received at the time, have since soared in critical appreciation and recognition of his artistic talent. In addition, Modigliani was also interested in poetry and developed acquaintances with notable artists and writers including Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau and Max Jacob.

Despite his success, Modigliani’s life was also plagued by ill-health, sadly resulting in his death in January 1920 from tubercular meningitis. Such a tragic end was compounded when his fiancé Jeanne Hebuterne committed suicide two days after his death, whilst eight-months pregnant with their second child.

There was plenty I admired about the exhibition. Firstly, I was amazed by how VR was used to present Modigliani’s life and work, which made me feel as if I was in his presence. A second reason was that I liked how the venue was specifically adapted, with the low lighting, shades of darkness and the 4K video screens, giving an atmosphere and a sense of mystique to the exhibition. It was something I had never experienced previously, and it enhanced the exhibition beyond my expectations.

In summary, the exhibition was a delight, as I was impressed with how it brought Modigliani’s work to life before your eyes and ears, making this a powerful educational experience. As well as absorbing the art and culture, there was also the opportunity to network with familiar faces. This helped to nicely compliment the exhibition, meaning I was able to absorb plenty from an educational evening, making this very pleasant to attend.

If you are a fan of Modigliani’s work, a lover of art and culture, or just curious to find out more, I really recommend attending the exhibition. Even better is that it runs till Monday 30th September, so you can order tickets here.

I would like to thank everyone involved with the exhibition. These include Joel Jelen and everyone at Ubiquity PR, as well as the award-winning The Italian Club for providing the catering. My special thanks also go to the representatives of the Fondazione Amedeo Modigliani. This is for providing a great multimedia exhibition, and for sharing their knowledge about Amedeo Modigliani’s work. You can find more about their work here.

Ciao!

Ubiquity City Social – El Pecado

Last week, I attended the Ubiquity City Social networking event at El Pecado. Located and hidden away on Bold Street in the heart of Liverpool’s Ropewalks, this cosy little Spanish eatery provided an ideal backdrop, to a delightful evening of networking. It was a lovely event to attend, and I came away afterwards not only impressed with the networking, but also of the venue and its homely surroundings.

Arriving at the event early, I was greeted with friendly welcomes and smiles. This was followed by refreshments including tapas that was tasty enough, to satisfy the hungry and salivating appetites. Other refreshments included glasses of sangria and wine, which was certainly popular with several attendees.

The event featured an interesting mix of people. Naturally there were several familiar faces, including some I had not seen for a long while, and I was also delighted to meet some new faces too. These included Heather Anderson of The Hive Youth Zone, Russell Gannon of Baltic Triangle Area CIC and Jane Slinger-Brennan of Rutherford Diagnostics. It was interesting to listen to their stories about what they do, which not only gave me food for thought, but also some potential ideas for future blogging content (watch this space).

El Pecado was a homely yet atmospheric restaurant. This is because I noticed how the tables and chairs were neatly arranged closely to each other. I also noticed the low-hanging lights on the ceiling and the closeness of the kitchen, which gave a sense of intimacy. In my opinion, El Pecado has the feeling and touch of an old-fashioned family-run restaurant with a soul and sense of comfort, fitting in nicely within the unique community and vibrant surroundings of Bold Street.

My thanks go to Joel Jelen and everyone at Ubiquity PR for organising a fine networking event. I also would like to thank the staff of El Pecado for the tapas, the sangria and the other refreshments, which all helped to make for a lovely evening.

Thanks for reading!

Professional Liverpool – Creative, Digital & Tech Sector Group Launch

The city of Liverpool has a vibrant and fast growing creative, digital and technology sector. Across the entire Liverpool City Region (LCR), there are many businesses who utilise technology to collaborate and work with partners and clients. However there needs to be a single unifying voice, to represent the interests of Liverpool’s creative, digital and tech community.

I was delighted to recently attend the launch of Professional Liverpool’s Creative, Digital and Tech Sector Group, at Roxy Ballroom in Liverpool. The purpose of this group is to provide a representative voice to the sector, and to raise awareness and promote it to the LCR and beyond.

Collaboration was the theme for this event, including the importance to businesses. This featured guest speakers who provided an overview of the group’s purpose and aims, along with why businesses need to collaborate. Led by Paul Furlong of Opus Media, who is the group’s chairman, the other speakers were Kelly Forshaw of Laduma, and Neil Atkinson of The Anfield Wrap, who gave some interesting examples of successful collaboration from their experiences in business.

The launch had a feel-good vibe to the atmosphere. With a warm, informal and quirky touch, there was plenty of networking, and collaboration with a packed-out audience feeling at ease, leading to hearty laughs and conversation. This was helped by the drinks, pizzas and chicken wings provided, along with the indoor golf, bowling alleys and table tennis.

I certainly hope the Creative, Digital and Tech Group is successful for Professional Liverpool and the region. Judging by the success of this event, I have great hopes for this group to encourage Liverpool’s creative, digital and technology community, and to collaborate successfully with other businesses and organisations. In these tough and digitally connected times, businesses and industry sectors can no longer afford to work within silos.

This means collaboration is the way forward for businesses and organisations, regardless of public, private or charitable sector position. This can only be achieved through open and honest communication, teamwork, and a willingness to listen and work together.

I was glad to have attended, as I am looking forward to learning more from future events. It was a pleasant evening and I would like to thank all the speakers, and everyone at Professional Liverpool and Roxy Ballroom, for coming together and successfully collaborating on a successful group launch.

Professional Liverpool – An Introduction to the Dark Web with Aabyss

The World Wide Web has transformed our world completely beyond recognition. From communicating via email, shopping and streaming videos, performing business transactions with clients online and more, the Internet and its associated technologies has given people and businesses so much to greatly benefit from.

There is also a disturbing side known as the Dark Web. This is the darker and mysterious side of the Internet, making it a dangerous and illegal haven for criminal activity, including hackers with the intent of causing cyber crimes, and even malicious attacks to businesses through viruses, trojans, ransomware and malware.

Attendess at this month’s Professional Liverpool Dark Web breakfast event at Avenue HQ.

Earlier this month, I attended a networking breakfast event organised by Professional Liverpool. Held at Avenue HQ in Liverpool and hosted by Aabyss Limited, the event featured a talk from Phil McGowan of Datto on what the Dark Web is, and of how it poses a threat to businesses. This also included a live demonstration of a simulated ransomware attack on a virtual system. Working in technology, I was intrigued by the topic as I found it to be mind-blowing, interesting, thought-provoking, and at times disturbing to learn about. I also sensed the other attendees felt similar too!

Phil gave a brief overview of the Dark Web, by describing how it can be used by hackers. Listening carefully, I gleamed several interesting facts about the Dark Web, of which I have included some below.

  1. With the Dark Web, this has seen the proliferation of ransomware.
  2. Over an estimated 6 million people use the Dark Web.
  3. As well as malware and ransomware, illicit services can be purchased for reasons of committing cyber and other crimes.
  4. No skills are required to be a hacker.
  5. Cyber attacks through malware and ransomware are rampant and is an increasing cause of downtime for businesses.
  6. £500 million in ransoms was paid by businesses affected by ransomware in 2018.
  7. Within the Dark Web, there are hacking companies who are getting more sophisticated with their techniques.
  8. In the UK, the average cost of downtime for businesses is £7000 per hour.
  9. Even though more data has moved to the cloud through SaaS (Software as a Service) it is still vulnerable.

From all the above, this paints a terrifying picture of the threats posed to businesses by ransomware. With personal and other sensitive data at risk from many security threats, this is also compounded by the fact that there are no simple solutions or silver bullets, that can easily address all these concerns. This means complex and detailed solutions are needed to minimise and manage risks effectively to maintain business continuity, and keeping services running through disruption. As I mentioned some time ago in a previous post, the responsibility for cyber and data security lies with everyone.

Overall, I was delighted and glad to have attended this event. This is because I appreciated Phil sharing his knowledge of cyber security, and of how ransomware and malware poses a real threat to businesses. With the proliferation of black-market services available on the Dark Web, I can honestly say what I learned was not only educational but has also reinforced my own beliefs, about why everyone must take cyber security seriously. I only hope the other attendees felt the same and to spread the message, as I heard one saying he was going to speak to his company’s IT department about the threat of ransomware.

I would like to thank several people for making this event possible. This includes Phil for giving a superb talk, Kelsey Lee Connors from Professional Liverpool and Andrew Allen, Greg Jones, Troy Midwood and Keith Smith from Aabyss, for putting together this successful and educational event. My thanks also go to Avenue HQ for providing the delicious breakfast of coffee, croissants, fruit and Danish pastries. On a final note, I am delighted that Phil’s talk and demonstration had a strong impact on everyone including myself. My only regret is the event and the topic deserved a bigger audience, but even still it was excellent and worth attending, and one that I have taken so much from.

Breakfast provided by Avenue HQ

LinkedOffline – A Networking Event with a Difference

It is good to attend a networking event and come away afterwards feeling that you have encountered something completely different. This is because some networking events are mostly similar in style and structure, meaning that you subconsciously expect the same every time.

Last month, I was delighted to attend the LinkedOffline networking event in the NYL Lounge in Liverpool’s Aloft Hotel. Having been involved with the LinkedIn and WhatsApp groups I was made to feel very welcome, which is why I decided to attend this event. I had also heard reasonably good vibes from the groups, and I was looking forward to attending.

Having arrived for the event at the Aloft, I was made to feel very welcome, meaning the positive vibes were justified. There was an interesting mix of people from different backgrounds, with shared stories, hearty good-natured laughs and also conversations on a wide variety of topics. A interesting little bonus was that I met up with some familiar faces, and I learned how to use the scan function within the LinkedIn app to connect with people.

The event began with an open-networking feel allowing everyone to informally meet, mingle and mix socially. Following this there was a welcome speech, which was followed by a group discussion, where everyone was broken into groups allowing for a brief discussion on what qualities made for good leadership. In addition these discussions enabled icebreaking to allow for everyone to introduce themselves, in a comfortable and relaxing environment, whilst also listening and learning from the stories of others. This made the event different from others I have previously attended, which was pleasant for me personally, as I came away with something new.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed the event and I recommend LinkedOffline to anyone in Liverpool. Set in a lovely and welcoming environment such as the Aloft, you can be sure to have a nice evening of networking.

I would like to thank Pam Case and Ian Denny the co-founders of LinkedOffline for organising a lovely event.

The Platform – Has Liverpool Got the Media it Needs?

There are so many media platforms in Liverpool today. From newspapers, online news and blog sites, the media representation of Liverpool has transformed beyond recognition.

At this month’s Platform event in Liverpool Science Park, I was delighted to attend and listen to an interesting debate, which looked at Liverpool’s media community. Led by representatives from the Liverpool Echo, BBC Radio Merseyside and Radio City Talk, this was a debate that was informative and engaging, with the panel and audience each having plenty to say. It was a lively discussion and at times very feisty!

Because media is a broad subject, this debate focused on how Liverpool is represented locally, where resources can be applied, the fairness of media coverage, and if any improvements can be made. The panel included Ryan McKernan from Agent Marketing, Paul O’Connor from Hit Search, Rosie Kenyon from Kenyons, Susan Lee from the Liverpool Echo, Pauline McAdam from BBC Radio Merseyside, Mick Coyle from Radio City Talk, and Liam Fogarty from the University of Central Lancashire.

I have learned plenty about the local media in Liverpool. For starters, print media is declining due to the fall in circulation, and fierce competition from online platforms. This means smaller print titles face a difficult and uncertain future, meaning some will cease to exist.

As a long-standing local newspaper, the Liverpool Echo continues to adapt and buck the trend for print media. This is through a combination of advertising revenue and their continued coverage of news representing all aspects of life in the city, including crime, politics and football. Indeed, I have learned the Echo recently saw a 60% surge in paper sales due to Liverpool’s recent dramatic Champions League semi-final victory over Barcelona, which shows how popular topics such as football helps to attract and grow audiences.

Advertising is also crucial for both traditional and digital media platforms. Whilst BBC Radio Merseyside is funded by the licence fee, others are reliant on revenue generated by advertising through audience growth, from the popularity of content created that connects and resonates with people. Therefore, to create and market content, it is important to know the target audience, and how to deliver and connect with them.

Despite the popularity of online platforms, I was also interested to learn that radio is still popular. Radio is a very simple concept that makes a connection with people and is also second to none when producing and delivering news, that relates to people in Liverpool. It also has the advantage of being continually able to rapidly adapt and produce content to fit the changing tone of these current times.

I also learned other interesting points related to Liverpool’s local media, which include the following.

  1. Engaging with people to get messages across.
  2. Need to be digitally literate and know how to use platforms properly.
  3. Plan what a campaign needs to do.
  4. Digital marketing is a very broad term.
  5. Know how to deliver content to a targeted audience.
  6. Content needs to tell stories that resonate with the audience.
  7. In negative stories, look for the positives.

Does Liverpool have the media it needs? Reflecting on what I have learned, I believe the media in Liverpool serves the city reasonably well. Platforms such as the Liverpool Echo, BBC Radio Merseyside and Radio City Talk produce content relevant to the city and its people, from local politics, public and mental health, environment, knife crime, government cuts, to other subjects such as football.

However, I also believe they can cover more stories related to the good things happening in Liverpool. These can include stories related to people, businesses, tourism and other topics. Indeed, there are several news websites such as Liverpool Business News, Good News Liverpool, My Planet Liverpool and The Guide Liverpool, which produce good quality content about positive things happening in the city.

I appreciate and respect that topics such as crime, local politics and football needs to be covered with limited media resources, as they are popular and helps sales. However, it is surely worth taking an occasional risk in covering other subjects, that may not get as much attention.

Is there any harm in trying?

In conclusion, I would like to thank all the panel members for their contribution to a lively debate, and to the members of the audience for their participation. My thanks also go to Liverpool Science Park for sponsoring the event. Finally, I would also like to thank Amanda Follit, Mick Ord, Garth Dallas and Steve Dickson, for organising a very thought-provoking discussion.