#truLondon 2011

Talk to me not at at me #trulondon

I was involved in a bit of a twitter exchange today about presentations and Powerpoint. The reality is I just don’t like the format and I think paying big $’s to be talked at is not the best use of my time.
No disrespect to the many people who put on excellent conferences that I either speak at or attend, but as a speaker or part of the audience I always wish we could just sit down and have a chat. that I could ask questions when I want to and tell the speaker directly the things I am interested in knowing. Conferences and presentations bore me. It’s not talking to me, it’s talking at me.
I accept that some visuals to show graphics can help explain a concept, but I’d rather you gave them to me on paper before the event or gave me a link to look for myself, and the opportunity to review at my own pace, prepare questions and spend my time with the author talking. Why do you need to see case studies on a 6 ft screen? Sorry, but it doesn’t really work for me and rarely adds much to the content. The odd video can be effective, but why not just play the video or show me the site? I can usually work out whats good about it without 20 slides to explain it.
I was recently following a conference via twitter. delegates had paid over £400 to attend. two of the biggest words in the twitter cloud by about 4.00PM were “Numb Bum” and “Product Pitch.”
Why do you need a top $ venue for a conference with the quality of the lunch and the coffee as a speaking point? I’d rather go somewhere that has the space to move around to avoid the numb bum, grab my own sandwich when I want it and go to a place with plenty of space. I’m more concerned with wi-fi than decor. I want space to move rather than rigid auditorium. Make the tickets cheaper and choose space that is functional rather than auditorium, and make sure there is plenty of power sockets.
All these comments kind of merge together in my thinking behind #tru. It’s a 3 day event, and the most expensive ticket is £170.00. You can reach these price points when you worry more about the content and less about the venue and the trimmings. You can create real conversation when people sit in circles, you have multiple track-leaders and Powerpoint is banned. This is real conversation talking with experts and novices alike and asking your own questions.

The venue for #trulondon

The #trulondon masterclass on Wednesday 16′th Feb is different again. The speakers will be talking case-studies and sharing data before the event. The talk consists of 10 minutes overview and 50 minutes for questions, with a panel quizzing the speaker made up of 3 attendees with questions or points to raise. The normal model is 50 minutes talk/watch and a max of 10 minutes for rushed questions. I want to turn that on its head because I think the ratio is the wrong way around. The questions are always the interesting bits.
Last week I was being chased for slides for a conference I’m speaking at. I caused a bit of panic when I sent back 2. One that said “this is me” and one that said “What questions do you have?”. Answering questions for 50 minutes and asking the audience for their answers saw me ranked as the top speaker and best session. I will be using this model whenever I’m asked to speak. It’s different, but it works. Talking with you not at you.

What do you think? Does the conference model still work for you? Let me know your thoughts.


#trulondon Venue:


Brave New Talent Secures Funding For Growth

#trulondon sponsor and social recruiting evangelists Brave New Talent have secured significant funding for growth from venture capitalists Northzone Ventures and angel investors Pierce Casey and Mike Bourne.
Along with the cash, co-founder and partner of Northzone, Bjorn Stray will be joining the board, bringing with him extensive experience of the online recruitment sector.

Bjorn Stray said of the investment in Brave New Talent: ““The evolution of

Bjorn Stray

online recruitment from the job board model to a social recruiting model is something I have expected for some time. I have considered many opportunities both from Stepstone’s perspective and Northzone’s perspective, but BraveNewTalent is the first one I felt had real potential to change the industry. It is our aim to fully deliver value to employers and job seekers, and in doing so develop BraveNewTalent into a billion dollar market leader.”



Pierce Casey (on the right)

Angel investor Pierce Casey, current Chairman of Norman Broadbent also commented : “From my experience in the recruitment sector it is clear that Global HR Directors are seeking a social media tool that is now being offered by BraveNewTalent.”


Thats a lot of confidence (backed up by hard cash) in Brave New Talent and its founder, Lucian Tarnowski.

Since the launch of the Brave New Talent Facebook app last year, they have been growing steadily and winning business with global brands such as IBM, Tesco, L’Oreal and McAfee.


Lucian Tarnowski

The original concept behind the business, which the effervescent  Lucian Tarnowski launched whilst still a student at Edinburgh University, was to bring the traditional milk round from off-line to on-line, allowing Students to follow and engage with companies via Facebook.


The business has moved on considerably over the last 12 months, growing in size and stature. The real benefit to users is that they can sign up via Facebook and control what is open and accessible on their profile. Unlike rival networking tool Branch Out, there’s no spamming on their wall, it is a closed environment.

Brave New Talent are looking beyond recruiting with further plans to encompass education, (another area Lucian is very passionate about.) Given the story so far, and the increased investment and stewardship, i wouldn’t be surprised to see this happen quickly.

The company is hiring sales staff and increasing product capability. If your working in that space, they are well worth looking up. I will be following the launch of new features to the app over the coming month. I know the focus is on really opening up the engagement channels between job seekers and hiring companies. The plan is to expand globally starting with the US., social-media removing the barrier of geography.

Good luck to all the team, your dream is one step closer to reality.


Brave New Talent

Guest Post: @Arie_Ball: Nothing but the best – talent, best practices and cats on keyboards #trulondon

I was speaking recently with Arie Ball recently about her tracks at #trulondon and what might be interesting to attendees about the Sodexo story. I know the story quite well, it is a fantastic case story of implementing social recruiting on a vast scale. The part of the story that is very different however is that the Talent Acquisition team that Arie heads all work virtually across the States.

When you talk about virtual teams and working from home, you get very mixed reactions, largely around a fear of how you can get a team to work together when they are so far apart, as well as questions over whether people really give 100% when they are sat at home.

This is Arie’s thoughts on virtual team working:

Nothing but the best, and cats on keyboards.

Last week, as I shared my #TruManchester experience, I mentioned I would also share how my team has been so successful in a virtual environment. I am often asked what it is like to lead a virtual team of nearly 100 who are recruiting for over 4000 managers and professionals each year, across the US. I am a huge fan of a virtual work environment, not just because I don’t have to deal with sitting in traffic, hunting down a close parking spot, or bad hair days. And while many companies tout Casual Friday’s, when we are not traveling, every day is a Casual Friday for our team—we call it Recruiter Casual. The real reason I love the virtual workplace is that I can hire the best people, regardless of where they live, and still focus on a building a performance culture and producing business results.

When we formed the department, we believed that staffing with home-based employees would offer a number of benefits beyond recruiter casual. It allowed us to provide better and more flexible support with the natural ebb and flow of our multiple businesses. And of course, we were able to reduce expenses—an undeniable advantage.

To have a successful virtual organization, we need the highest levels of engagement and a team that gives 120%. Our mission, vision and values are clear:

We value our customers, team work and innovation, and celebrate best practices while measuring and rewarding results.

We also need to be deliberate and intentional about building engagement and facilitating communications and team relationships to prevent some of the feelings of isolation and being disconnected that can occur when working remotely. Our culture of recognition is best illustrated by the huge number of appreciation cards and other forms of recognition team members give to one another.

Enter the water cooler. When you work in a brick and mortar environment, you have water cooler time to catch up with colleagues. Working virtually, we have water cooler time too. As part of our weekly meeting, we connect virtually and share news and pictures of life events and personal stories of interest—the birth of a new baby, or training for a half-marathon, or even running into President Obama on a vacation to Washington DC. Have you tried a virtual baby and wedding shower, or a virtual holiday party or even recognition celebrations? Our team likes to party. A themed “Party-in-a-Box” delivered to each doorstep whose contents is always a surprise adds to the fun and games we enjoy together via an interactive team webinar experience. As we are laughing together through the games, yummy snacks, raffles, and prizes—for a moment it is easy to forget that our team is located in 38 different states across the country. And best is that the dress is Recruiter Casual, fuzzy slippers, optional.

While it’s natural to connect to one another in a live workplace, you have to be very intentional in a virtual environment. It takes more effort, but it is certainly possible to have the same, if not a greater, level of engagement.

Oh, one other thing. Most offices don’t allow pets in the workplace, but in your home office, roaming animals are a force to be contended with. I have not yet come to grips with Max, my cat, who loves hanging out on my keyboard. If you do have tips on how I can take back keyboard ownership I look forward to hearing them when I come to #truLondon.

I’m really looking forward to joining Arie’s track on virtual working. There is a lot to learn from this story, and I’m really keen to explore how you can make it work. Hope you can join us on the 16′th – 18′th Feb.


Arie Ball

Buy the last tickets for #trulondon