A RedMonk Conversation: Why You Should Come to Fastly Xcelerate London 2024

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Join James Governor and Simon Wistow, Co-Founder at Fastly, in a short discussion on why you should come to the Fastly Xcelerate event in London on June 18. London has evolved into a thriving tech hub, attracting investment and fostering innovation in deep tech and finance, as exemplified by companies like DeepMind. The Fastly Xcelerate event in Shoreditch highlights this dynamic environment by focusing on enhancing the developer experience and democratizing access to powerful technological tools, aiming to spur diverse creativity and innovation.

This was a RedMonk production, sponsored by Fastly.

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Simon Wistow: Hi, James. So we’ve known each other for a long time, but you’ve been around on the London tech scene since the very early days.

James Governor: Since before it was a thing! I mean, we were there as bucolic, you know, there were farmsteads, people with their animals in pasture. Yeah, absolutely. That was Tech city.

Simon: Yeah, it wasn’t quite the city and more the rolling landscapes of technology. But, Fastly has long roots in London and we’ve had an office there for over ten years. What is the significance of us running Xcelerate in London and particularly in Shoreditch?

James: Yeah, I think that London continues just to be a really interesting and thriving community for tech and in a way that it really wasn’t 15 years ago. And there are two, I’d say probably two key things. But we’ve always had an amazing education system here. We’ve always had good community based stuff and we’ve had great technologists, technology. But it always felt that you needed to go away in order to have that success. Funding was one of the big problems. There just weren’t enough venture capital firms. It wasn’t well understood. The VC’s were too traditional, they were not taking risk. That is no longer the case. Companies are being funded. And tie that together with the fact that along with that comes the fact that you can do deep tech here. There isn’t a need to do — all the deep tech is not happening in Silicon Valley. There is really interesting core infrastructure work being done in the UK. There is a reason why DeepMind was acquired. It was because of the amazing technology and amazing people building that. AI is something that we’re definitely seeing a lot of work in the UK, but also it’s just that smashing together of industries, media, finance, so much finance innovation in the UK right now.

So, yeah, I mean, it’s a very natural place to be investing in right now. I think one of the other things, to your point, South by Southwest (SXSW), is finally coming to London in Shoreditch next year. So you’re just bang on trend.

Simon: As always. Taking a step back, not just in London or the UK or the whole of Europe. What are some of the things that are really exciting you about tech at the moment?

James: Well, there’s a few things. I mean, for me, one, developer experience. RedMonk is all about understanding developers, their preferences, why and how engineering teams make the decisions they do. And developer experience now, we’re in like a second or third generation of massive improvements in terms of real consideration for the sorts of experiences that are going to make developers more productive. And if we tie that into, at the moment, we left the zero interest rate era of just thinking about the developers and it’s very much how does that developer experience work in the context of a team and a platform? There’s a ton of interesting innovation there. I’m a big believer in solving solved problems. That’s one of the areas I always get excited by. If we think about observability, for years we had APM, we had the players, we thought we knew what that market looked like. Honeycomb comes in from left field and is like, actually you’re thinking about it wrong. Let’s look at observability. Let’s really take an approach which is about the traces. I think that was, it’s just the remaking, the constant remaking of the industry. That’s the stuff that’s exciting and I think cloud is really set for that.

We’ve had a long run of really thinking we understand what the primitives are that underpin the cloud, but pretty clearly in a global industry, in a global… global businesses, if we think about, yeah, UK may not be in the EU, but we’re certainly still part of Europe, companies are needing to take advantage of distributed technology in a way that they weren’t. I think that thinking about distributed compute, the cloud, tying that into developer experience, that’s one of the areas that I find really fascinating and there’s a lot of innovation going on there. So yeah, that would be one of the things I find interesting, I guess from my perspective, so, Xcelerate, what have you got to say at Xcelerate? Why should people become to the event and what’s exciting you, Mr. Wistow?

Simon: Well, I think that’s something we’ve been talking about. The developer experience I think is going to be key. One of the things we’re really excited about is the fact that by broadening the developer experience, by making it much easier for people, for more people to go and build things, we’re going to see this burst of creativity. Historically in the past, whenever there’s been a financial tightening, whether that was in the early nineties, which gave us Web 1.0, the.com crash, which gave us Web 2.0, 2008, which gave us the birth of the cloud, and everything that happened after that, the sort of SaaS revolution, the mobile revolution. Every time there has been these financial crunches, we’ve seen a burst of creativity and I think we’re seeing that now. And there’s a whole bunch of different technologies ranging from AI to the Fediverse. And what I’m really excited about and what I think Fastly is really excited by and what Xcelerate is about is providing those tools to the most number of people. If you have to have seven degrees in computer science just to get a simple web site off the ground, then that’s going to limit the number of people who can create web experiences.

If we can give people an incredibly powerful platform that is safe, fast, protected and engaging, then that means that the more people are going to be able to create experiences. We’re going to see a much more diverse set of creativity, which is going to be much more exciting.

James: Perfect. London’s a diverse city. Bring it on. See you at Xcelerate.

Simon: See you soon.

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