Leaders in Tech comes to town: how did our first-ever London meet-up go?

Leaders in Tech is a well-established community in Berlin, Denver and many other major cities. However, London wasn’t one of them – until last week. On Wednesday 10th July, we held the inaugural Leaders in Tech meet-up in the capital, kicking off with a red-hot topic: AI and the Future of Business.
The first meet-up took place on a fantastic river cruise that left from Westminster Pier. On board were a mix of London’s brightest CTOs, CIOs, VPs and senior tech figures, along with three influential speakers. Once guests had had a chance to tuck into the more-ish BBQ food on board, it was time for our first speaker to take the floor. 

Imtiaz Adam is Director of Data Science at DLS. He spoke about the The Impact of 5G – and why it will be “a completely different world.” According to Imtiaz, 5G will make machine to machine communication possible and reduce latency, allowing billions of devices to connect with each other as well as human users. Though it will take the technology some time to filter through, Imtiaz predicts that by 2025, the market will be huge.

Next up, was Dr Janet Bastiman, CSO of StoryStream and AI VP at MMC Ventures. Her topic was The Strategy of AI and the practical steps you need to take to apply AI to key areas. Dr. Bastiman talked us through identifying the problem, assessing your data, attracting talent, development, productionisation, and regulation and ethics, providing a very useful guide for any would-be AI implementers.
The last expert was  Daniel Hulme, CEO of Satalia and a serial speaker for the likes of Google and TEDx. In his talk, he explained how AI can only really solve problems when it’s able to adapt. He went on to describe how AI has the power to help companies make the right decisions – and help society to make the right ones too. His vision of dystopian AI future was certainly thought-provoking.

Afterwards, guests relaxed and networked as the boat sailed past some of London’s most iconic landmarks. 
If you’re a senior level technology leader, why not join us for our next meet-up? It’s a chance to connect with fellow technology leaders from both new and established innovative businesses. You can share best practice, discuss up-and-coming advances and generally connect with like-minded individuals. Find out more on our website: /en/communities/meet-ups/
 

Magento Summer Boat Meet-up: a debrief

Despite the dismal weather, our recent Magento Summer Boat meet-up was a big success! Nearly 100 people came to hear fantastic guest speakers discuss the nuts and bolts of this popular open source e-commerce platform as we chugged slowly up the Thames. 
First up, was Joseph McDemott, a senior solutions architect at Klevu (https://www.klevu.com). He talked us through the Modern Search Requirements of an e-commerce website and why a good search function is vital (hint: you have just eight seconds to interest the average site visitor!) Joseph covered personalisation, non-product search and natural language processing, explaining what they mean in practice, why they’re important in search and how a Magento developer can implement them.

Next, we heard from Jonathan Chikly, a Director and Full Stack Developer at YYT development studios (https://yyt.dev/). His subject was building Progressive Web Applications (PWA) with Magento 2. Jonathan began by defining a PWA as a website that’s fast, reliable and engaging – one that feels like a natural app on the device. He went on to present the main PWA frameworks open to developers and a relevant case study, which brought to life the challenges of building a static PWA with Magento 2.
Our third speaker was Arron Moss of Zero 1 (https://www.zero1.co.uk/). His topic? The Industry-Ops Revolution. Drawing on his work with partner company, Steamhaus (https://www.steamhaus.co.uk/), Arron discussed how the businesses had grown along with Magento and how the opportunities had evolved with the transition from Magento 1 to Magento 2.

There was plenty of time for pizza and beer before the fourth speaker of the evening: Boyan Grigorov of The Sofa & Chair Company (https://www.thesofaandchair.co.uk/). Having recently built a new e-commerce website for his company, Boyan provided a unique insight into the challenges of digital transformation for a furniture retail business. As the guests took in brilliant views of London on their trip, Boyan discussed the journey his company had taken to choose a platform and how he’d convinced managers that Magento was the right choice.
The final speaker was Max Pronko, founder of Pronko Consulting (https://www.pronkoconsulting.com/). With 15 years of experience, he was well qualified to talk about Applying Service Oriented Architecture for Magento 2 Development. Max began by explaining how the Magento 2 platform has been moving into a decoupled state where each module is responsible for an individual operation. This allows higher performance, looser coupling and improved code quality. Max then dived into Service Oriented Architecture, showing how it could be applied using an effective example.
As the boat drew into the splendid Victoria Embankment, the Magento community on board had plenty of food for thought. Look out for more exclusive meet-ups on our website: /en/communities/meet-ups/.