Turning Fest

Turing Fest 2023: A High-Tech Treat takes Edinburgh by Storm

Meeting people and getting educated is perpetually the name of the game in the tech industry, which is why conferences like Turing Fest are so important. This week I had the privilege of attending Turing Fest, the UK’s biggest cross-functional tech conference that descends on Edinburgh each year. Vibrant, inspiring, and thought-provoking talks ignited caffeine-fuelled debates and discussions among over 1,000 industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and tech enthusiasts from around the globe over the 2-day event. This short blog delves into some of the highlights of Turing Fest 2023 that left me with a profound sense of excitement and anticipation for the future.


This year’s Turing Fest boasted an extraordinary lineup of speakers, each one a luminary in their respective fields. From pioneering entrepreneurs to visionary technologists, the event delivered a series of thought-provoking talks and panel discussions. While there were a host of varying topics and speakers across the 2 days, it was impossible to listen in on them all. Personally, I had the privilege of hearing from a diverse mix of trailblazers in the tech space who are shaping the future of responsible AI, product led growth and practical growth frameworks, to brand positioning, copywriting, and professional development. 

The conference was kicked off by April Dunford, who spoke with great expertise on maximising brand positioning to unlock growth in noisy markets. From re-categorising factory robotics to factory autonomous-vehicles, to positioning a CRM scale up as hyper-specialised to unlock fast growth, Dunford’s talk was central to many conversations I had over the 2 day event. This included one freelance consultant I spoke to deciding to pivot sector entirely in a eureka-moment of strategic clarity. Dunford’s book, Obviously Awesome, is now high on my reading list.


We also heard from Leah Tharin Head of Product at Jau.ai and Emily Grossman, Growth Marketing Director at Dojo, on the significance of product-led growth and growth frameworks respectively. They both spoke to the merit in prioritising profitability over growth for long term success, and provided fascinating examples of long term goal setting.


AI was understandably the hot-topic central to both days of speakers. We heard from Shannon Vallor, Baillie Gifford Chair in the Ethics of Data and Artificial Intelligence at the University of Edinburgh, and co-director of Bridging Responsible AI Divides, BRAID, on the ecologies of responsibility of AI. In her fascinating talk, ecology was used as a lens through which she could demonstrate the interdependency and incredible delicacy of industry, academics, policy makers and regulatory work in driving safe progress with AI. We also heard from Bastian Grimm, CEO of Peak Ace AG on strategies and tips to drive growth using existing AI tools.


Lastly, using copy and content as foundational tools in selling came up across a range of speaker events across the two days. An interesting fusion of cynicism and pragmatism came to light as Joanna Wiebe from Copyhackers talked about ‘money words’ that drive revenue, de-optimisation as a means to driving conversions, and how Apple are leaders of ‘you’ centric copy in persuasion techniques. Language consolidation was echoed in a talk from Purna Virji, Senior Content Marketing Evangelist for LinkedIn, titled ‘Work Your Assets Off’. She compared content writing to the fast fashion industry and urged marketers to be more economical with their content – reusing ideas and dressing them up to work in different environments. 


The speakers’ diverse perspectives and expertise ignited a collective spirit of innovation. Attendees were able to gain valuable insight and foster debates and discussions that were both intellectually stimulating and practically applicable in the ever-evolving tech landscape. However, one of the hallmarks of Turing Fest 2023 was the speaker roundtables and networking opportunities available to attendees. These discursive sessions facilitated deeper learning with industry leaders, as well as enabling attendees to foster connections with like-minded individuals, potential investors, and for many, fellow entrepreneurs. 


Turing Fest’s reputation as a breeding ground for innovation and entrepreneurship is not without merit. From the stellar lineup of speakers to the engaging roundtables and networking opportunities, attendees were exposed to ideas and emerging trends that will shape the future. The inclusive and vibrant atmosphere fostered collaboration and sparked new connections. Turing Fest 2023 truly lived up to its reputation, and I look forward to meeting old and new friends in the tech space at next year’s conference to review industry progress and embark on new tech journeys collectively.

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