Alexandra Dechamps-Sonsino, Director of designswarm and founder of the Good Night Lamp has been running the London Internet of Things meet up since 2011. She came to ThingMonk to promote the value of community as a place where real relationships can be forged. Talking about the value of meet ups asserting that not all networking can be done digitally and reminding us that a lot of really great connections happen offline. Putting her money where her mouth is she secured iot.london with the princely sum of £300. This largely self funded social enterprise has grown from 40 members to nearly 9000 making it the second largest meet up in the world.
Alex made a strong case for making the meetups a regular part of your professional social networking, demonstrating by show of hands that people in the room had made friends and found jobs within the meet up community. Also using this opportunity to share a range of online resources which can be accessed @iot.london whether you attend the meetups or not. These include A monthly newsletter which is also cross posted on meetup.com/iotlondon, a reading list of 12 IoT specific books, a list of other meetups and an Open IOT Definition. If this wasn’t enough to prove her dedication to the cause Alex is also working on a yellow pages of UK companies and resources which she is planning to extend to be Europe wide.
Going beyond simply encouraging those already in the industry to attend meetups themselves, Alex extended the welcome to the wider community and especially to young people. Issuing a plea for help and charging the community with a list of To do’s. Alongside this call to arms Alex highlighted some key areas she would like to see addressed in the future. Wondering how to bring seed investors in to the equation on the Uk scene but also how to develop an ecology in which successful start ups can scale and grow here. How can the London scene resist the brain drain to Silicon Valley; encouraging and retaining talent.
She believes that by opening the conversation to a broader audience in general and looking for more diverse solutions to a wider range of problems through deeper partnerships the UK IoT industry can deliver the perfect antidote to the Brexit lull by embodying an aggressively collaborative and multi-disciplinary attitude.