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Insights & Tips from Turing Fest – The Only Place to Be for Startups & Scaleups

July 25, 2022

The potential of open source to cure cancer, why startups fail, the skills you really want to hire for, how to build a perfect website and scaling organic growth are just a few of the topics discussed at Turing Fest. The breadth of themes and quality of speakers is what makes our conference so popular and exciting.

We’ve gone through the speakers from the last few years and picked out 8 of the best to give you a flavour of what to expect in 2022.

Iva Babukova – Can Open Source Cure Cancer?

Single-cell RNA sequencing has enabled breakthroughs in treating diseases and it has huge potential to revolutionize cancer research. Iva Babukova and her team at Biomage created the first open-source cloud-based platform for single-cell sequencing analysis.

“This means that any user without any programming skills can come in, log in, upload their data set, click analyze and their experiment is ready.” This process reduces single-cell data analysis time from several months to a week empowering and enabling biologists on a global scale.

This open-source technology not only saves time and helps build a community but it speeds up the process of sequencing meaning that curing cancer is only a matter of time!

Mark Logan – The Real Reasons Startups and Scaleups Fail (And What to Do About It) 

Many startups and scaleups fail. That’s a fact. But Mark Logan, newly appointed Chief Entrepreneurship Officer for the Scottish Government and former COO at Skyscanner, believes there is something businesses can do to prevent that from happening – optimize for agency.

What that means is creating agency to be sufficiently competent, have clear ownership, be aligned and have the necessary resources. Logan believes you should think about what you are trying to achieve and optimize from that and then work out the structure to support it.

“Agency, or lack of it, is what undermines most startups and scaleups in my strong view,” Logan says. “You want to get these elements in place – invest in individual competence, push decision ownership to the front line, have appropriate alignment, and remove barriers to resources. If you can ask yourself, do I have these elements in place, have I damaged them, then you’re going to be fine.”

Andy Irvine – Jobs-To-Be Done: The User-Centered Trojan Horse

The most successful businesses have one thing in common – they understand what their customer wants and needs. But even the best companies struggle to use user-centred design to pinpoint value for their customers.

Andy Irvine believes the problem is the word ‘design’ as it’s misunderstood and speaks a different language to the rest of the business. The solution? A tool ‘Jobs to be Done’ “which brings design and business together in a really useful way. If you’re to take concepts from the tool, it’s about progress and circumstance.”

Danae Shell – Stop Recruiting for Rockstars: The Skills You Really Want to Hire For, and Why

“I think we’re being given really bad advice when hiring,” says Danae Shell, Co-founder & CEO of Valla. “We’re hiring in the wrong context.”

Shell believes that businesses need skills that drive innovation, and there are five underappreciated ones to consider in today’s volatile and complex landscape:

  • Vulnerability

  • Problem seeking

  • Consistency

  • Context-setting

  • Comfort with uncertainty

In her Turing Fest talk, Shell tells you how to spot them and interview questions to use to spot them!

Janna Bastow – Power of Product Pricing

“Are you underpriced? Do you think you could actually be charging more for your products but haven’t made the move to correct those pricing levels for one reason or another? The reality is, most of us are in that position,” says Janna Bastow.

Nobody talks about pricing, the average SaaS startup spends only six hours working on pricing in its lifetime. Considering how tightly linked pricing is to product market fit and basic unit economics in business, that’s ridiculous.

Janna believes your pricing is probably hurting you and might be the biggest area of impact on your product. So, what’s the perfect pricing? That depends but there are tactics you can use such as segmentation of packages, customer discovery and focusing on building a product of value.

Jono Alderson – How to Build A Perfect Website, Yoast

Websites are the main way companies reach, engage, convert and retain an audience. The way they perform can make or break a business. So why are so many of them terrible (including the big brands)?!

“In the real world making a perfect website is tricky. Even if you know what perfect looks like in your ecosystem, it turns out that unless you have an incredible amount of resources, an incredible sophisticated team with far too much time, you can’t keep up, you can’t plan well enough and you can’t sidestep the accrual of technical debt,” says Jono Alderson.

The solution? You need to understand the metrics, use the right tools and collaborate so you can build on the work of others. After all, a one-second improvement in speed for a website means retail consumers spent almost 10% more according to Deloitte.

Fabrizio Ballarini – Scaling Organic Growth by Building Products

Building products with engineers is the most scalable way to drive organic growth. However, there’s often a disconnect between marketing and product and product and engineering. How can this be solved?

“Word of mouth is the biggest driver of growth. At Transferwise we worked at making a product that is 10x better than alternatives when it comes to price, build and convenience,” says Ballarani.

Find out how to generate product ideas from search data, get tactical examples on building custom CMSs and see what Fabrizio has learned by building products that solve customers’ problems across the entire funnel.

Maria Gutierrez – Healthy and Effective Leadership Teams

As a VP of Engineering Strategy & Operations at Twitter (and former Head of Engineering at Intercom), Maria Gutierrez is no stranger to building effective teams. The challenge is building a healthy and effective team through leadership to ensure cohesion. So how can companies do that?

Gutierrez believes you achieve faster growth through better relationships between peer groups. “In tech companies, we’ve optimized how teams should operate and collaborate but we don’t put the same level of rigour when it comes to building high-performance leadership teams. Most leaders serve in two important teams, the team that they lead and the team they are a member of, and they need to prioritize the first one for the good of the organization.”

But what gets in the way of people truly operating as a team? The reasons are visibility, time, and distance. The answer is to grow and hire new leaders. Learn more about the tactics involved in fostering healthy and effective leadership in Maria’s Turing talk.

There’s more to come at Turing Fest 2022

There’s no shortage of talent, knowledge, or inspiration at Turing Fest. It’s a place for the startup and scaleup community to come together to share experiences and learn from leaders.

The speakers in 2022 Turing Fest are not to be missed with industry-leading professionals from Spotify, TechCrunch, Twitter, Evervault, Zalando, HubSpot, and much more. Tickets are running out, so book your place today.

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Two days of inspiring talks, roundtables and networking with the brightest and best of the tech & startup world.

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