QCon is a practitioner-driven conference designed for technical team leads, architects, and project managers who influence software innovation in their teams.

Ian Brookes, Director of Cake Solutions

Ian Brookes

Biography: Ian Brookes

Ian started his career with Price Waterhouse, subsequent to which he founded his own management consulting firm specialising in corporate finance for SMEs.

The firm was acquired by an IT Services company, and he then spent 17 years with the business. He left the firm in 2007 to become involved with a number of technology and business services start-up ventures and Business School incubators, focusing on technology spin-outs in the ecommerce, digital media, internet and software development sectors.

Today he is a director of Cake Solutions, an enterprise software developer with offices in Manchester and Oxford, with a focus on building Cake Invest, an investment vehicle supporting start-up high-tech businesses.

A member of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, and a Freeman of the City of London, he hasn't yet taken up the opportunity this affords to drive a herd of sheep across London Bridge.

Presentation: Sprints, Scala, Scale & Serendipity: Blue sky thinking and washing the pots on the road to success at a Technology startup

Track: Real Startups / Time: Wednesday 10:20 - 11:10 / Location: Elizabeth Windsor

The talk recounts the journey and relationship of a Tech start-up and its software development partner, with the milestones and millstones (but no tombstones) along the way:

  • The Technology Trigger and the helter-skelter ride up the slope of enlightenment, and down into the trough of sorrow;
  • Frequent releases of improvement, minimum feature sets and MVP (ideas to code to data);
  • Wiggles and pivots into continuous deployment and business model testing;
  • Customer acquisition and validated learning (build-measure-learn);
  • The dark-arts of innovation accounting and risk-based pay-as-you-go investment models.

Framing the technology bet, the business and financial risk together and how to avoid the arms race to out-innovate and out-spend everyone, the talk outlines the challenges faced, the learning and the success of the journey, and a take-away based on the premise that you can't do innovation sat behind a desk.

Presentation: How to turn startup ideas into reality by taking money from strangers

Track: Real Startups / Time: Wednesday 11:30 - 12:20 / Location: Elizabeth Windsor

Let's sit both sides of the table.

Tech start-up products are now built with small, tight teams. Cloud computing, open source software and powerful social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter now mean that a business can launch with 20% of the traditional level of initial investment.

The investor's dilemma. We need to spend our digital dollars with some of these Radiohead look-a-like folk. They've got people and ideas, we've got the funds. The gig is turning ideas into products that customers will pay for. They say they've got "disruptive potential". Will it work?

Sitting both sides of the table, how do you get ideas dancing in your head, and addiction to outrageous optimism into something that looks like a speed-dating pitch to get the attention of strangers? From a stranger's perspective, how do I get from disruptive innovation to monetised products, and don't end up on another bad date?

The track takes a like-hearted look at the start-up-funders dislocated dance as a speed dating process, from first date to romance, and the relationship basics to create a win-win.