"What they didn't teach me: building a technology company and taking it to market"
Suranga Chandratillake FREng, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of blinkx plc
Armed with a good degree and interested in relatively esoteric extremes of Computer Science, Suranga Chandratillake was all set for an academic career. A combination of events conspired to take him down the industry route instead and he found himself starting and running his own successful company.
In going through this process he realised just how little his (otherwise excellent) education had prepared him for the challenges of starting a company, building and marketing a product and growing an organisation. So given the economic and social impact that such endeavour can have, what could be done to better equip those starting down this path today?
He will cover the background to this 2000 decision and his experience of going into industry vs academia, beginning with Autonomy plc and later the founding and path to growth of his company, blinkx plc. He will cover the technology developed at both companies including efforts to reduce complexity, increase customer-centricity and the unique challenges of building for consumers.
He will also cover ‘the rest’: the important of marketing and PR in the technology industry, raising capital, running an IPO and managing the human element (hiring, firing and cultivating people and a culture).
Turning from personal experiences, he will reflect on why this route is important (including the significance of industry on technology progress and its impact on employment and national wealth), how he learnt about things he didn't know before and touch on comparisons between UK and US university degrees.
He will briefly refer to "Turing's World: the incredible, pervasive influence of computers on our lives" and conclude with thoughts on what more might be done to create successful technology companies.