My Bristech: Catching up with speakers past (Part 2)

by Bobby Marsh

Monday 2nd September, Bristol, UK

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For those of you who enjoyed hearing from Ben Byford and James Strachan, two of our Bristech 2018 speakers, in the first part of this series, I sat down with two more of our previous speakers to hear their reflections on last year’s event and to hear how about life ‘post-Bristech’.

The first speaker I chatted with is Roderick Chapman (pictured, left). Rod is a Principal Engineer with Altran UK in Bath, specialising in the design and construction of high-integrity software systems.

You’re just as likely to find Rod in a scholarly citation as on Twitter, and after his eye-opening talk on the development of safe and secure code with SPARK, I’m eager to catch up with him.

Our second speaker is Dr Euan Allen (pictured, right).

Euan is a quantum computer researcher who delivered a captivating talk covering the fundamentals of quantum computing, the hardware used to construct quantum processors and what algorithms you can program for a quantum computer (yes, i know, all in one talk!)

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I asked them both:

What are your favourite memories of the day?

Rod reminisced on how he saw his room full of people two minutes before the start of his talk, showing how passionate and genuinely excited Bristech’s delegates were to hear him talk: “It amped up the anticipation and excitement just before I took to the floor.”

The diversity of topics covered by Bristech’s talks was the highlight for Euan - something that is a core part of what Bristech has to offer.

He shared: “It's not very common, at least in my field, to have conferences covering this many topics - I found it the perfect catalyst to many interesting discussions.”

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What surprised you about Bristech 2018?

True to Bristech’s nature, surprise was around every corner for Rod. He was delighted to find diversity across people, interests, and businesses, allowing him to be exposed to new and challenging voices and opinions. 

Euan was surprised by how much he enjoyed Bristech! “Coming from a research area slightly left-of-field from the rest of the conference - quantum computing hardware - I was surprised to see how many talks I could engage with and take something away from.”

What would you say to people considering sending in an idea for a talk for Bristech 2019?

Rod’s advice for future speakers? “Choose a topic that offers something different, so that people will learn something new from it. The key to an engaging talk is to give the audience new information or offer it from a different perspective so that they question their own pre-existing views on the subject.” 

Euan’s advice was short and to-the-point: “Do it!”

He went on to suggest picking as big a topic as you can - Bristech is great for discussing the big topics, so use that as an opportunity.

Standing up in front of a room and talking about the technology that you’re passionate about can be daunting, especially if you’ve not done it before. The Bristech community of over 2.5k people has always welcomed those first-time speakers, either at our monthly meetup or at Bristech’s annual conference. There is always someone in the crowd who will really benefit from the insight you have to bring to the table.

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What’s life like post-Bristech?

It’s almost a full year since Bristech 2018, and while video recordings of all the talks mean you haven't missed the action, our interviewed speakers have been busy in the meantime. 

After having bumped into an old colleague from Bath at the conference, Rod shared: “After reconnecting with him and a bunch of old friends, I visited my old but recently refurbished office - now their new office space - in all its glory.”

For Euan, life after Bristech has been much better connected to the local "scene", as he can keep much closer to ‘tech stuff’ happening in Bristol thanks to the diverse contacts he made at the conference.

We are always on the lookout for authentic voices to speak at both our conference and meetup events.

For Bristech 2019, our Call For Speakers is currently open and accepting submissions until midday on Monday 2nd September.

Bristech Conference 2019 will be on Thursday 7th November 2019 at the Watershed, Bristol. Tickets are on sale.

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About Bobby

With a background in social media and event marketing, Bobby Marsh is highly creative with a flair for fun impactful content. After working in Nottingham for a few years after graduating, Bobby felt the call of Bristol and returned back to his home city.