Getting Filmstro in front of the tech giants
It was a busy few days up in The Big Smoke for the Filmstro team, at Unbound London 2017. What an event! We had the opportunity to showcase Filmstro alongside a plethora of innovative tech startups for two days at the The Old Truman Brewery, nestled in the heart of the very hip and now area of Brick Lane.
Unbound is essentially a really warm tech festival, and community, filled to the brim with startups, investors and entrepreneurs alike, that all gather to share knowledge, network, forge important relationships and demo some awesome products, like Filmstro. It was a pretty sweet turnout with over 5000 attendees. The atmosphere was palpably electric and the scent of freshly baked (free!) cookies and coffee floated through the air. Sounds pretty good, right?
There was an impressive amount of talent there, and I don't mean that in an objectifying way, but as far as the pool of sexy startups goes, there was certainly a lot going on. From innovative VR tech, to retail and ecommerce, to AI, to adtech and marketing, there was something for everyone. It was truly, an innovation destination.
For what might seem to be a fairly intimidating event to attend as a startup, it actually felt very relaxed and less corporate than initially envisioned, which made the whole process of pitching and shaking all the hands, a very fun and validating experience.
Day 1 was a fairly invigorating first day. We were situated right opposite the free cookies, coffee and popcorn, so we felt like winners before the day had even begun. Plus, we were number 51, so naturally we made several shit 'Area 51' jokes throughout the day, when directing people to the stand. Seb, our rad CEO, had a pitching session in the Workshop room in the morning, which really got the Filmstro ball rolling. Despite being on crutches and having to hobble about, he killed it, because that's what we do at Filmstro...metaphorically speaking.
We pitched and demonstrated Filmstro to many an intrigued soul and the reaction to the product was strong enough to melt even the coldest of hearts. One delegate likened his experience with the product to feeling like Mozart, without all the hassle of actually being Mozart, which is probably one of the best descriptions we heard over the course of the 2 days.
It was great to be able to engage with people in person, and get the product into their hands; to let them have a go at adjusting the momentum, depth and power sliders. Everyone who visited the Filmstro stand had their own unique way of testing out and moving the sliders. It was really interesting to watch and to be able to see their faces light up when they began to understand how Filmstro works and why this makes us so damn cool. It was important for us to see the product speak for itself within that context.
Day 2 was another positive day for the Filmstro team, spent pitching and swapping business cards and giving away some fun Filmstro freebies. We brought some fidget spinners along and they went like hot cakes. There was some initial debate on the necessity of these slightly hypnotical spinners, but we all agreed they were actually pretty cool and the fact that we returned to Brighton without any, proved the point.
There were a lot of compelling talks and pitches going on for the duration of the event. This included a panel discussion on socially conscious innovation that strongly resonated with the crowd, and me. It was great to feel a part of group of people who seemed equally excited by socially responsible, sustainable innovation in tech. In the past, this might have seemed like an idealistic millennial pipedream, but in actuality this is the new way of driving revenue and connecting with the emerging market. We're stepping out of the shadows of traditional leadership, and into the light of empathetic innovation.
One of the biggest takeaways of Unbound 2017 came at the very end, with Boiler Room's CEO, Blaise Belville, discussing 'the Value of the Experience Economy'. Boiler Room is a progressive online global underground music platform that broadcasts underground music via the web. It has a huge following in almost every pocket of the world, taking a unique experience that only a select few have access to, and televising it. Your location doesn't matter. Everyone can view it. Blaise called it "the music video of the DJ" that rethinks music tv for a digital, internet age. It focuses on the authenticity of underground music and brings it above the ground without tainting its identity; taking the concept of being "too niche for tv", removing it from its pigeon hole, and turning it into a unique selling point that's instrumental to the brand it's become.
Boiler Room has achieved a strong audience of 20 million followers, "without ever featuring a pop star", which proves that you can still support and promote the smaller acts whilst growing your business and brand. You don't have to change your ethos if you can "create metrics that are better thought out, better delivered and far more meaningful" for your brand.
There's a lot to be said about the power of ideas, especially when implemented in a socially conscious way. That seems like the future to me, but I'm a millennial, so of course it does.