Steven Drost, Matt Farrugia
How technology is changing the world around us
38: Live at Turing Fest
Matt and Steven recorded live at Turing Fest 2022. The big topic of conversation was the announcement of the Scottish Government’s Tech Scaler contract to Codebase (disclosure: Steven works for Codebase). Hear questions from Matt and the audience about this and get the inside skinny from Steven on what it is, and what it might mean for the Scottish tech eco-system.
Aug 21, 2022
37: Web3
gm To a select community of Twitter dwellers who have cartoon animal profile pictures, Web3 is going to be the next huge evolutionary step in how we use the internet. And to be honest, they’re probably not wrong. Web3 is at the stage where it asks more questions than it answers - how do we define the value of digital goods? How do we share that value among the people who created them, rather than hoarding the value on a handful of large platforms? What does it mean to be part of a digital community? When did “right clicker” become an insult? Warning: Hegelian concepts of ownership discussed at length. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Nov 16, 2021
36: Electronic skin and the future of robotics with Zaki Hussein
“Would you dare to hug a robot?” is a question we might all need to be asking ourselves soon, and in this episode Matt and Steven are joined by Zaki Hussein from Touchlab to talk about this exact topic. Zaki works on producing electronic skin - something that lets our robot friends feel and sense as we do. As we all know, being wrapped in very sensitive sensors is useful in a whole bunch of scenarios. The discussion goes from e-skin to robotics more broadly and down some very philosophical rabbit holes (as is Steven’s wont) - but also the more pragmatic side of building a deep tech company, like getting funding and hiring. About Zaki: Since I was 14 years old and living in Finland, I dreamt of working in nanotechnology and robotics.I was fascinated by the idea of tiny robots that could go inside our body and cure diseases. People said I was crazy, but I eventually managed to secure a place at the University York to study Electronics Engineering with Nanotechnology. During my undergraduate I got a taste of the start-up scene, interning and becoming a full-time lead software developer for a VR stroke rehabilitation spinout.Soon after I moved to Scotland to acquire my PhD in ‘Intelligent Sensing and Measurement’ at the University of Edinburgh and Glasgow, specialising in micro- and nanofabrication. By the time I finished my PhD, Touchlab was my second start-up. Acting previously as CTO, I gave Touchlab a solid foundation with an initial FTSE 100 customer.I’m a CEO and founder but also leading our ANA Avatar XPrize competition team. This time I am surrounded by other experts in fields such as product design, machine learning, robotics, and a board of commercial advisors and mentors.
Sep 7, 2021
35: Creating a new product category with Darina Garland from Ooni Pizza Ovens
Darina Garland is Co-founder and Co-CEO of global outdoor pizza oven brand Ooni. Darina is passionate about developing people, community, growing world-class teams and authentic partnerships. Known for extreme positivity, Darina champions culture and the experience of the team and their network. Ooni’s purpose is Everyone deserves great pizza. Lucky for Darina and the team- great Ooni pizza experiences are an everyday occurrence in the office.
Aug 10, 2021
34: Vertical farms with David Farquhar
AgriTech is one of the oldest of the X-Techs - 13,000 years old in fact. There has been a heck of a lot of innovation along the way. The earth’s growing population needs fed, and new, clever ways to create food and reduce waste will become ever more important. This episode Matt and Steven are delight to be joined by David Farquhar from Intelligent Growth Solutions - a vertical farm specialist. They discuss farming-as-a-service, how AI is getting better at plant care, and how global innovation can support locally grown food.
Jun 14, 2021
33: William Nuttall and the hydrogen economy
Matt and Steven have talked about a few different X-Techs before, and this week they’re tackling EnergyTech. More specifically, they’re stepping out of their area of expertise to hear from William (Bill) Nuttall, Professor of Energy at the Open University, about what the future of low carbon synthetic fuels looks like. They discuss how hydrogen can power the world, how big energy companies need to reposition themselves, what the UK’s legacy will be, and how VC thinking maps to energy. William (Bill) Nuttall is Professor of Energy in the School of Engineering and Innovation at The Open University. Much of his work has focussed on technology and policy issues of energy. He has long-standing experience of matters relating to civil nuclear energy and more recently with hydrogen energy systems. He is co-author, with A.T. Bakenne, of Fossil Fuel Hydrogen published by Springer in 2020.
May 6, 2021
32: NFTs
This week Matt and Steven, like every podcast host, are talking about NFTs. For those of you who have successfully managed to avoid the NFT discourse of the last few weeks, Non Fungible Tokens are a way to assign value to digital creations. The most famous example from the last few weeks was Beeple’s work Everydays - The First 5000 Days which sold for an eye watering sum of $69 million bucks. The strange thing is, we can just go on to the web, screenshot Beeple’s work, and paste it into MSPaint for our own free masterpiece. So why is the original worth so much money? And while we’re at it, why is the original Mona Lisa worth so much money? Turns out there are some very clever people in the art world who are more than capable of telling a story and making a bit of cash while they’re at it. It’s just a shame that the environmental impact of crypto art is so egregious. References: - Everest Pipkin’s piece on the environmental impact of crypto art - calculate the carbon cost of a piece of crypto artwork
Mar 18, 2021
31: The future of social with Michael MacLeod
For this episode Matt and Steven are joined by Michael Macleod, who has had an amazing career taking him from the Wee County News in Alloa to Instagram, Conde Naste, and finally his startup life in Beams. He shares his experience of what it’s like having the keys to the Instagram account on Instagram (with 380 million followers), how worried the world of publishing is in these times of digital disruption, and what new communities look like. As people are questioning their loyalties to the big social networks, many are finding new tribes elsewhere. Clubhouse is the Zeitgeist example - although not an overnight success, it certainly felt like one as this year everyone rushed to grab their OG username in the last couple of months. But it feels like there’s even more opportunity for new ways of finding your community online - via voice, images, video, text chat. Is the medium the message? And how do you curate these things? Would Michael have Trump on Beams? All this is discussed and more. Michael was a journalist for the first ten years of his career, then went into TV production. Having realised writing the news was mostly doom and gloom, he quit to learn more about tech on CodeClan’s second cohort in 2015. Then he joined Instagram in 2016 to help with the launch of a new product which became Stories. Three years with Conde Nast, specifically Vogue followed. And now he’s five months into start-up life with Beams, a new social platform.
Feb 18, 2021
30: Zara Zaman
For our 30th episode and first of 2021, Matt and Steven are chatting with Zara Zaman, who founded edventure, the UK's first student-led venture builder and accelerator. She paints a picture of what entrepreneurship looks like for Gen Z - how purpose leads much of what student entrepreneurs want to do, and how attitudes around topics like failure and mental health are changing the way we work. University really is the ideal time for people to found a startup - the mix of people, access to resources, and energy creates the perfect melting pot. So what can we do to inspire and encourage more student startup activity? Have a listen to find out. Zara is in her final year at the University of Edinburgh, studying Arabic and French. She co-founded edvneture, who take the best applicants from universities across Europe and assemble teams with a range of complementary skill sets to build the start-ups of tomorrow. Having founded her own start-up in her first year of university and having worked with a variety of start-ups through consulting projects, she is inspired by the potential of entrepreneurship as a tool to solve the world’s most pressing issues. She strongly believes that universities are a melting pot of everything that makes a great start-up: fresh ideas, diversity, tenacity, and an understanding of what is going on in the world – with just enough optimism to believe change is possible.
Jan 20, 2021
29: Breaking free from VC with Daisy Ford-Downes
For the last episode of 2020, Matt and Steven are joined by Daisy Ford-Downes to explore alternative finance in a world dominated by venture capital. Daisy’s experience running the Scottish chapter of Zebra’s Unite is leant on to discuss how an ecosystem can support businesses that don’t fit into a traditional investment paradigm, and what the future of investment looks like. They touch on how banks will adapt to a new world of investment, how you can maintain positivity in a movement, and expanding an ecosystem’s local maxima. Daisy works at the intersection of tech, investment and social good. With previous experience at the Scottish Investment Bank and Deloitte, she is currently on the investment team at Resilient Scotland, a social investor funding community enterprises in areas of multiple deprivation. She also leads the Scottish chapter of Zebras Unite, a global movement supporting founders building startups outside of the unicorn/ VC paradigm, with a focus on how investment innovation can get more good ideas funded.
Dec 20, 2020
Load more