Again... Too Many Dudes. I totally need to work on this.
What was it like? It turns out that both Bethany and I showed up early to do some email, so tap tap tap. Then Mark joined (Mark has just made an organically opening lamp shade at the Science Museum) so we shut our laptops and started chatting. Pierre I didn't know, so I'm really pleased he showed up, and Matt was told about the coffee morning by Mark so I'm also pleased he came.
Matt is from Bare Conductive which makes conductive ink and electronics that integrates with it. He told us this morning that
in our studio, the light switches are painted on. You touch the wall and the light turns on.
Also their electronics board tells you how it works. Like, with a voice. The first time you turn it on, you plug in some headphones, touch a button, and it speaks to you -- instructions, setup, etc. This anecdote came up while we were discussing creativity and R&D in a product company: What's the right balance between exploring new ideas, and refining the product?
David from Winnow gave another example... their internet-connected scales help commercial kitchens avoid food waste. The beta version of their software uses realtime weather forecasts to tell chefs if it's going to be raining at lunchtime (if they know it's going to be raining, they'll prepare less food). Wonderful feature, totally in line with the mission. How do you make time to discover these new ideas, when you're also working on scaling the product?
Also discussed was the news that it looks like the flagship Maker Faire in London, planned for 2015, is no longer happening. Sad news if they can't find a new venue and the right support.
I liked today, and I think what I like is that there can be many conversations all at once; a coffee morning is resolutely informal.
There's also, for me, a hint that these coffee mornings could be a place where paths cross - not a "community" or group - gossip rather than knowledge, a street rather than a salon. That feels like the kind of thing I'd like to foster right now.
So I'll keep doing it I think.
Pencil in Thursday December 18th, 9.30 till whenever, at the Book Club again. I'll confirm nearer the time, but that's 90% certain as of today. Hopefully see you there.