Turing Fest - Tech Conferences & Events Logo

Turing Fest 2021 – Talks, Highlights & Lessons Learnt

November 17, 2021

It almost feels surreal now – what a success Turing Fest 2021 was! We’d like to thank everyone who attended both in-person and online, it was so special to be back after such a long time away.

For those who didn’t make it this year (and those who did and want to re-live it!), we’ve put together a selection of attendee takeaways from the event. Talks, highlights, and lessons learnt;

  1. Charlie – strategiq

Brian Corcoran (CEO at Turing Fest) opened day 1 by welcoming us all, talking about the journey Turing Fest has been on, and how he did think at times, early in the pandemic, that the event may never run again.  

This made the 2021 [Turing Fest] even more of a significant occasion for the tech and marketing sectors. This is a landmark event in the industry calendar and it offers a fantastic opportunity for marketers, business owners and tech providers to enhance their knowledge and deliver better services & products when they head back to the office (or virtual office)…Our key takeaways from some of the speakers across this 2-day event:

Jason Miller, CreativeX
Talk title: ‘How to build a Face melting Brand strategy to supercharge your growth’


Photo: Erika Stevenson

Day one kicked off with many rock references that our very own Phil McEwan would appreciate. Leading the early days of LinkedIn’s marketing strategy as an analogy, Jason Miller’s energetic style focused on one key concept: Where does your business want to position and how is it going to own that space’s conversation?

For example, Which keywords do you want to rank for and how do you build the conversation from there? We later found the running theme throughout the two days of talks was to have one big rock of content, and squeeze it in every situation. Your job is then to amplify, amplify and amplify some more. Jason spoke about how he used Influencers in the early days of his startup and how micro-influencers are a great resource to influence conversations, especially in the B2B space. It’s well worth considering this as part of your content marketing and distribution strategy.

Jono Alderson, Yoast
Talk title: How to Build a Perfect Website


Photo: Erika Stevenson

Jono Alderson’s session about how to build the ultimate website was a key highlight for us on day 1. He started by asking some pretty hard-hitting questions such as: If the quality of our websites determines how well they perform, then why are they all so terrible?

From Startups to enterprises and everything in-between, Jono discussed how organisations are allowing their slow and sometimes even broken website’s cost them a fortune in missed opportunities. Jono walked us through some of the biggest major e-commerce brands in the world, reviewing their website and you guessed it… not having the best websites in the world. The metrics he was using to review? Core Web Vitals and some interesting research and rankings from Pingdom.

Why we found this so fascinating is because Jono later answered the question after reviewing the big bad and ugly, how do you create the ultimate website; and more importantly, what systems and processes do you need to follow to get there? Lucky for our clients at StrategiQ, something we live by is making sure that Core Web Vitals is continually reviewed by our Marketing and Development teams and it was refreshing to see the care that we take with our website builds in action acknowledged as a gold standard in the industry.

In Jono’s second half of his talk, he mentions the tech stack that fits the best mould for a perfect website. Fortunately for us and our clients, this was music to our ears as he lists off our tech stack for our builds.

  • The best CMS? WordPress,

  • The best SEO Tool, Yoast?

  • The best security set-up? Cloudflare.

Paddy Moogan, Aira
Talk Title: What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There: how to make the move from specialist to leader


Photo: James Porteous

Paddy Moogan (Co-founder at Aira) raised an interesting point in the agency world whereby as channel specialists progress in their careers, they will often reach a point where the only ‘next step’ will be to go into management. They could all of a sudden be thrust into a situation where they have had no formal training, they have simply become a very very good practitioner and now enter a world where they have little or no experience. Musing the point that “what got you here, won’t get you there”. 

A key point from the session is that whilst future leaders and managers will not have ‘experience’ in their early career, they can often show signs and traits that will be well suited to a future role in management. But it HAS to be spotted and nurtured early on with the view of preparing that individual for future leadership.

What are those traits to look out for? Well, it’s worth looking at what great leaders do:

  • They take ownership 

  • They take accountability 

  • They empathise 

  • They show emotional intelligence 

  • They widen their influence 

  • They generalise rather than specialise 

  • They reduce their ego 

  • They reframe what their personal success looks like 

  • They care about culture 

  • They understand the value of diversity

2. Samara Fruitman, CreateFuture

Last week, our team member Samara Fruitman attended the Turing Fest in Edinburgh. This cross-functional tech conference of industry experts provided some valuable insights into the fundamentals for building products and companies. 

Here are some of her favourite key sessions and takeaways:

Izzi Smith, Ryte
Talk Title: Website Sustainability: Knowing the Impact and Taking Action


Photo: Erika Stevenson

  • The carbon footprint of web channels is similar to the airline industry…

  • Make your websites LEAN: Compress unnecessarily large images, remove unneeded pages and URLs, reduce video/audio (and autoplay!), create a dark mode view, optimise/limit fonts

  • Raise awareness: Take the right steps to certify your website as carbon neutral 


Marijana Kostelac, Freelance Bold
Talk Title: Big Wins for Small Teams: How to Ship Content that Drives Change


Photo: James Porteous

  • Publish with intention and treat each piece of content like an investment

  • Know your customer- don’t speak to everyone: DON’T focus on demographics such as age/marital status/gender. DO focus on roles, who your customers trust, what they read/listen to, their workplace frustrations

Richard Millington, FeverBee
Talk Title: Thriving Brand Community


Photo: James Porteous

  • A sense of belonging is the least of people’s worries

  • Customers want convenience and accuracy from trusted sources

  • Community members aren’t motivated by money. They’re motivated by recognition, status, influence/access… They want a FEELING that they’re becoming better at what they do

3. Andrew Bond

Hiten Shah, Nira
Talk Title: Manage your energy, not your time


A great way to end the day with that session from Hiten Shah

I’ve got a lot of takeaways from that:

  • You can’t make everyone happy, so focus on making yourself happy

  • Ask yourself what gives *you* energy

  • Buy this book immediately Down pointing backhand index

Bethan Vincent, Marketing Consultant
Talk Title: How to build your first marketing team


Photo: Erika Stevenson

Characteristics of your startup’s first marketing hire needs:

  • Gets shit done

  •  Offers insights not just data

  • They’re an excellent people operator

4. Amy Peters

Dr Suzanne Brown, Emotionally Connected
Talk Title: From the inside out: Mastering the art of emotional fitness


Photo: Erika Stevenson

That was a really enjoyable session, felt like a total reset in many ways!

Key takeaways:

  • Face discomfort in order to grow

  • Anger is a positive emotion and we should use it

  • Celebrate the small and big wins

Darina Garland, ooni
Talk Title: What’s work for? Passion, people, purpose and pizza


Photo: Erika Stevenson

That was not only a masterclass in how to value people but also in presenting. Loved Darina’s warm and funny style. Takeaways:

  • Everyone needs to know their purpose

  • Set the conditions for people to thrive

  • Great pizza needs a hot oven & high heat

5. Rachel Miele, Harper Macleod

It comes as no surprise that a lot of the speakers this year talked about the well-being and management of your team. The upkeep of quality culture in your company may seem obvious at the outset, but actually, it is easily forgotten when you have a lot of other plates to spin. It is not as simple as ping pong tables and free coffee. As highlighted by 2021 speaker Sara Archer of ChartMogul: beware of the “culture defined by perks”.

You must engage with your team. Find out what they value, and does it align with the larger company vision? If there is anything that can be taken from not only the impact of COVID-19, but actually the culture in start-ups as a whole, it is that it’s chaotic and stressful, but it doesn’t prevent the movement of talent. Negative issues can take hold, and this results in high staff turnover, lost revenue and your brand resonating poorly with audiences.


Photo: Erika Stevenson

Another theme running through the speaker sessions was quality of work and how to manage this as your company grows. Day 2 speaker Varun Nair (previously head of AR/VR audio software at Facebook) noted two things that kill start-ups: (i) lack of focus and (ii) inability to ship and make an impact. As your team grows, so can the problems. From customer service agents to in-house consultants, make sure your people are an expert on the topic they are representing. One of my favourite quotes from this year’s speakers came from Varun:

“Debug your teams and processes with as much care as debugging code”.


Photo: James Porteous

We are all acclimating to in-person conferences. Turing made it less awkward for anybody who wanted to avoid even tipping a toe in the networking water with handy red/yellow/green stickers for our lanyards to signify how keen we were to speak to another delegate. Honestly, I am thinking of buying a roll of stickers and implementing that in my day to day life.

Your team are your life blood. If you do not nurture and help them grow, do not expect positive results.

What are your standards of quality? Don’t over promise and under deliver because you aren’t educated on the subject you claim to represent, or don’t have the bandwidth to execute the work.

Those are just some takeaways from some of the Turing Fest 2021 speakers. Thanks to everyone to took the time to jot them down!

Sign up to our community so you can be notified when the videos and presentations are available. 

The live experience

Get tickets to Turing Fest 2023!

Get front row seats to Europe’s best cross-functional tech conference.
Two days of inspiring talks, roundtables and networking with the brightest and best of the tech & startup world.

    Share article:
    Stay In the loop

    Subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive content!

    Get the content that’ll help you to grow your startup delivered to your inbox, every fortnight

    By submitting this form you are consenting to receive marketing communications from Turing Fest. Read our privacy policy here.
    Live experience

    Get tickets for Turing Fest 2023!

    Join 1000+ tech professionals for 2 days of learning at the UK’s leading startup event in Edinburgh on 28th-29th June.

    You might also like...

    The potential of open source to cure cancer, why startups fail, the skills you really want to hire for, how to…
    The internet might seem like an intangible ethereal space but the truth is it’s a physical network which consumes a huge…
    Having worked with numerous top level companies over the past two decades and having interviewed multiple high level professionals Matt Lerner…
    Never miss a thing

    Sign up for exclusive updates

    Be the first to know about upcoming events, news and ticket offers!

    By submitting this form you are consenting to receive marketing communications from Turing Fest. Read our privacy policy here.