Talkfest means a lengthy, often enjoyable conversation or discussion. The Tech, is self-explanatory.
Zoe Cunningham, MD of a Boutique Software House, Softwire, wanted to help and meet like-minded people. What we know as 'networking'. Zoe fully understands that true networking is about building relationships with those you know and those you are yet to meet. You need to be yourself and offer to help. Based in London and with an interest in showcasing talent, radio presentation and disruptive technology, she created Tech Talkfest. It started as a radio show but on 22nd October 2012 at 6 o'clock, Shoreditch House was abuzz with those attending the inaugural event. Nikhil Shah, one of the co-founders of Mixcloud.com got the conversation going. Since then, there have been many events, from TV to Fashion; Gaming to Digital Leadership; Raising Finance to Publishing; there is something for everyone, just pick the right evening.
Ghilaine Chan met Zoe late in 2012. She was working at Microsoft and had been a keen networker for a couple of years. With her interest in the new, shiny, disruptive nature of the Start-up scene, she connected with Zoe at a T-Party Christmas Drinks and asked her advice on how to get more exposure to Start-ups and fast growth companies. Zoe recommended two things. Firstly, to start attending more Start-up focussed events and to read the book, never eat alone by Keith Ferazzi.
Whilst it sounds like a cliché, Ghilaine started to help Zoe with the events and she started introducing her to some amazing and interesting people.
The events themselves are designed to be modest in guest list to enable people to chat and mingle easily with each other. If you have too many people it can become daunting for even the most extrovert networker.
"Networking is essentially about making friends and being nice to people. You don't need to be a power-hungry empire builder, smooth-talking salesperson, or exuberant 'people person' to enjoy it" - Zoe Cunningham
One of our biggest challenges is changing the perception of networking from the card swapping, self-aggrandising perception, that many people have, to simply getting to know people. Imagine how children who walk into a park alone manage to end up playing with children they have never met before. They have nothing to 'sell', they don't have job titles or companies. They find themselves playing in the same area of the park and get talking about why they like it. It is that simple!
The thing to remember is how amazingly easy it is to help people out. Firstly, you need to listen to find out what their challenges are then see what you have that can help them with that challenge. Sometimes it means helping them directly or by connecting them to someone you know who can. Often it doesn't even feel like you are helping them because what you can do to help, comes so easily to you.
In January 2014, Zoe decided that she wanted to create her own business and Ghilaine was looking for a new opportunity. In April 2014, Ghilaine left Microsoft and became the General Manager of Tech Talkfest. Along with continuing to build events, in July 2014, they created a Private Members Network that enables our members to build deeper relationships with the much sought-after professional connections that transcend the people that they are paid to work.
We call it Exponential.
It is a curated network . We offer a concierge connection service, making connections on behalf of busy members who want new friends, colleagues or collaborators. All this with the intention to have some fun whilst we do it.
We are a private members network based on generosity. Imagine a room of the most successful people you know and all they want to do is help you.
In the time we have been growing Exponential, we have met many great people who love what we do, share our values and help others. Our intention with Exponential is to curate (business) friendships and connections that transcend those we work with and to have some fun whilst we do it.
Zoe and I have decided that doing it for a selected group of people who subscribe to the network is limiting our ability to do what we do best: Bringing people together to help each other.
We still want to have regular gatherings to bring people together over an interest or perhaps just dinner, but we want to have it open to anyone, we feel, fits our ethos. With this thought, we have decided to end our subscription membership and create a community around invite only events.
If you do want to keep updated, please do subscribe here.