GeeknRolla

It’s not often Smarta finds itself among a large group of people, all of whom are happy to describe themselves as bonafide geeks, but Tuesday saw scores of them converge on London’s Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for technology site TechCrunch’s GeeknRolla conference.

It proved to be, as these things often do, a bit of a schizophrenic day – short speeches interspersed with lots of shouting and even more debate; and though Smarta had until then considered itself well-versed in the ways of the computer, having heard various impenetrable terms bandied about as if they should be the first word in the OED, it now stands corrected.

Technology aside, there were a few things to be taken away from the day for the ordinary business owner, beginning with Huddle founder Andy McLoughlin’s presentation on hiring a team of peers. “It should feel like falling in love,” he told the audience. “The first time someone leaves, it will break your heart.”

McLoughlin also had some fairly strong views on recruiters. “Generally, they’re bastards who are full of shit. Set a fixed rate, be explicit with your needs and demand their three best CVs.”

We also thoroughly enjoyed a panel on women in technology, with panellists Zuzanna Pasierbinska-Wilson from Huddle, Sophie Cox from Woldeka, Nacera Benfedda from Viadeo, and token man, Telegraph technology blogger Milo Yiannopolous. “I think we need to see some stats before we start claiming we need more women in tech,” asserted Yiannopolous. “Did you need stats when you were deciding whether we should vote, too?” asked Pasierbinska-Wilson, to roars of laughter.

The final panel of the day featured ex-Dragon Doug Richard, Firebox and MindCandy founder Michael Smith, angel investor Alex Hoye and venture capitalist Julie Meyer. Feedback on the 10 pitches in 30 minutes was generally good, apart from Richard who told one nervous entrepreneur his pitch had ‘sucked’, but he did offer some pearls of wisdom to other entrepreneurs.

“Popularity is a good start for some ideas. Look at Twitter. They don’t have a business model but they’ve been a success.”

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