Last week I was lucky enough to be able to attend the FDM Women in Technology Awards as a finalist. Although I didn’t win myself, I was bowled over by all the female talent there and the range of achievements - from founding award winning start-ups to creating artificial organs.
Here is a roundup of the winners.
Woman of the Year – sponsored by FDM Group
Eleni Antoniadou, Co-founder and Chief of Science, Transplants without Donors from London
Eleni is the founder of Transplants Without Donors, which produces "off-the-shelf" tissue engineered organs that are customizable for each patient. She has also recently joined the NASA Academy as a researcher.
Entrepreneur of the Year – sponsored by Alcatel-Lucent
Jennifer Sheridan, Founder & CEO, Togeva Ltd from London
Founded in 2010, Togeva is a unique Live Sharing™ Platform and API for mobile devices that allows people to create and share digital content. Jennifer is responsible for many roles, including leading technology development and design, general accounting and managing the team. She is actively involved in the startup scene in Tech City/Silicon Roundabout.
Innovator of the Year – sponsored by The Institution of Engineering and Technology
Joanna Montgomery, Founder & CEO, Little Riot from Newcastle
Joanna launched Little Riot, an interaction design company in 2010 – with flagship product ‘Pillow Talk’ originally created as her university degree project. This innovative technology allows couples who are apart to listen to the heartbeat of the other person. As well driving PR, Joanna leads on product development and oversees the entire company operations.
Inspiration of the Year – sponsored by VMware
Deborah Gundle, Founder/Director, Netbuddy from London
Without any prior IT experience, Deborah established Netbuddy in 2010, an online social networking community and crowd sourcing resource for parents and carers of children with learning disabilities. Since its inception, the site has received an average of 6,000 visitors per month.
Leader of the Year - in a corporate organisation (with over 500 employees) – sponsored by BP
Lucy Dimes, Chief Executive Officer, UK & Ireland, Alcatel-Lucent from London
Lucy joined Alcatel-Lucent in 2011 and has been at the forefront of driving innovation and growth in 4G, internet and web hosting services, ICT, managed network services and outsourcing, on an international scale. She has established the UK&I Diversity Forum, the UK&I ‘StrongHer’ network and introduced mentoring for women in a global talent pool.
Rising Star of the Year – sponsored by Cisco
Taylor McGhee, Integrated Supply Chain Specialist Apprentice, IBM UK Ltd from Port Glasgow
Taylor joined the IBM Apprenticeship Scheme in 2011 at just 17 years old, rotating within the main pillars of supply chain from customer fulfilment to supply operations. She is charged with helping each area improve their business processes and is an active Social Business Advocate within the team. Taylor also acts as a mentor for newly recruited apprentices and regularly attends internal networking events.
Team Leader of the Year - in a SME (with under 500 employees) – sponsored by salesforce.com
Tamara Lohan, Co-founder & CTO, Mr & Mrs Smith from London
Mr & Mrs Smith, an innovative travel website was co-founded in 2003 by Tamara and her now husband James after a disappointing experience with a hotel guidebook recommendation. As CTO, Tamara has consistently championed technology as a key differentiator for the brand, masterminding an array of technical integrations whilst leading and nurturing her team of loyal staff.
In addition, for the first time, a special Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Alexander Mann Solutions, was presented - to pioneering IT entrepreneur and philanthropist Dame Stephanie Shirley. This Award recognised her significant contribution to the industry, her game-changing influence and lifelong passion for inspiring and enabling women to achieve success in technology.
Do you use Twitter? If you're reading tech blogs, I'm guessing you probably do. If you're just a personal tweeter then you won't need a service like Hootsuite, but if you run a small business or an personal projects it can become invaluable.
If you run a small business then it's advisable to have a Twitter account. For a very low amount of marketing effort, you can catch the eye of consumers that you wouldn't otherwise reach, and if your twitter feed is clearly targeted to a certain market, you will pick up followers who are interested in exactly what you offer, creating a tailored sales channel.
On the other hand, if you are an ambitious professional. It also makes sense to have a personal Twitter account, allowing you to build your brand as a thought leader in your field. How to manage both of them?
The first service that Hootsuite or similar sites, such as Tweetdeck, offer is a simple one, but probably the one that adds the largest value. Without a place to access more than one feed you would need to log out and in again every time you wanted to look at a different account. With Hootsuite you can stay logged into your main Hootsuite account and then access all feeds, in a simlar way to the Google mutiple sign-in feature for emails.
Then there are services that are invaluable if you are a busy business tweeter rather than a casual personal one. You can send the same tweet from mutiple accounts. You can schedule tweets so that they appear in your timeline at a later date (perhaps while you are busy in a meeting!). You can even auto schedule tweets to appear when they will have the maximum impact on your followers.
Hootsuite is free to use if you want to access fewer than 5 twitter accounts, which should be enough to be getting on with for most people.
I'm pretty sure that, like me, you don't remember the first time that you used Eventbrite. When I first came across it, it felt like one of among a million new startups to do something that it seemed sensible to have a web app for. It felt like a nice site that did what you wanted, but would they ever make money just from selling tickets?
The competitors that Eventbrite started out against were the big boys - Ticketmaster, Ticketweb and individual venue and event organiser sites. As a consumer buying tickets, I couldn't see how tiny Eventbrite could end up a winner.
But Eventbrite had a better plan. They weren't trying to compete with Ticketmaster to sell Madonna tickets. They were going for a previously unserviced market - small independent events organisers. In fact I would suggest that Eventbrite in fact helped to create this market by allowing event organisers who couldn't afford large system licence fees access to a simple pay-per-ticket cloud platform, and hence the ability to run events that wouldn't have happened otherwise or to grow attendance of smaller meetups.
Eventbrite is completely free to use if you are not charging for your tickets, and they charge a percentage (which can be either deducted from your revenue or charged through to the ticket buyer, as you prefer) on paid-for tickets.
And if you fancy trying out Eventbrite - why not have a look at these lovely Tech Talkfest events :) techtalkfest.eventbrite.com
Simple but effective is the key with our third online web app Doodle. Most people I know through work have used this app, so chances are that if you're in the tech space you will have too. If not, you may surprised at just how simple it is.
Do you remember the last time you tried to get your mates together in the pub? All of them, on the same day? It can be difficult to juggle emails, suggesting a date only to find that John can't make it, while trying to remember that Susan can't do Wednesdays.
Well this is exactly the problem that Doodle solves! Using Doodle feels like simplicity itself. Enter your dates, receive a link, share with your friends and wait for them to enter their availability. Then you can easily see the count of who is free on which night (and a grid of exactly who, if some friends carry more weight than others).
It somehow seems counter-intuitive that a business can make made from such a simple idea, but personally I think it's an important lesson for any startup. Simplicity is key.
Starting with paid-for Premium Doodle to capitalise on people who want a bit more from the service, Doodle have now launched BookMe as a complete service for time-based service industries such as hairdressers. Given their reputation, it deserves to be a success.
I'm writing a series of 5 posts on what I consider to be the best free web applications available at the moment. You can read the last post about free emailing application Mailchimp here.
It is with great delight that I choose Weebly for my second best free app. This is in a large part because if you are reading this on my personal blog (http://www.zoefcunningham.com/blog.html) it is being brought to you by Weebly!
(Similarly if you are subscribed to my blog, the you were delivered the last post about Mailchimp via Mailchimp!).
As a coder, I wrote and designed my first website myself, from scratch. Big mistake. I am a coder, not a designer. My website looked truly appalling and had that hint of "is this a hoax site? It's so badly designed" about it. It was so bad, I wish I had taken a screenshot of it to show you.
My second attempt involved using someone else's design but editing the HTML directly myself. This seemed like the perfect way to get maximum flexibility (WYSIWYG was a dirty word 10 years ago) with a sensible amount of effort. But was it a sensible amount of effort? Editing my website became a massive chore. I was using a simple file sharing site, and so to make an edit I had to download the HTML, make an edit, test locally, upload it and then fix the typos that inevitably occur. That's leaving aside the fact that "make an edit" involved typing out more characters in HTML tags than in text.
I have used a lot of Wordpress sites, and I find them too to be difficult and non-intuitive to use.
So I was absolutley delighted to discover Weebly.com, (found by typing into Google something similar to "website designer") which I now use for all of my websites (8, in total). Weebly solved all of my website problems.
In fact, despite starting with Weebly because it was free, I quickly upgraded to the professional version in order to use my own domain names (the biggest limiation of the free version is that you must use <your-site>.weebly.com). For me, that is the perfect example of how good these new free web applications are - you'd be prepared to pay for them if you had to.
Managing Director of Softwire, technology and backgammon presenter. Plus a little bit of new music radio.