Besides some cool “event attractions” (like the Back To The Future Delorean, seeing how data is not completely deleted even if you deep freeze a hard drive, the Bloodhound record-breaking car, or seeing the inside of a Rolls Royce plane turbine), the key for me was to be able to demonstrate my company’s software running on an amazing 84” Microsoft Surface Hub, and attending the invitation-only Microsoft Executive Party at the Sunborn Yacht Hotel.
After spending a few days with my family and my Spanish team, and participating in an art installation by the SuperFlex collective on the 25th, I returned to London.
The last few days have been quite hectic. So much so that I’m going to “bundle” them into one or two very heterogeneous posts.
By the end of September I had to attend a few events, like being invited to a member of Microsoft’s Partner Advisory Council (we held the first meeting at the InterContinental London Park Lane Hotel), or an E2E networking dinner at Charlotte Street Hotel:
Tuesday October 4 I travelled to Paris to meet a South American Vice-minister of Health in IBM France:
I attended the Cloud/Open Source/DedvOps/CyberSecurity Europe Expo October 5:
October 6 I met Microsoft’s CEO @satyanadella at #transform16 in East Wintergarden:
Upon my return from San Diego (see specific posts about that below) I met the UK’s Secretary of Health, Jeremy Hunt, at the Oxford and Cambridge Club on Thursday October 13:
Then I was invited, by the Executive Director and the UHNWI Director, to have lunch at UBS’ new building at 5 Broadgate on Monday October 17:
And I was invited to present at the NHS Blood & Transplant Workshop held at the Coin Street Centre Tuesday October 18:
But there is always room for some culture, so after having a meeting at University College Hospital, Wednesday October 19, I visited the Wellcome Collection:
On Tuesday August 9th, I was invited to talk about Personalised Medicine at Microsoft’s event “Empowering Health in a mobile first and cloud first world”, at Microsoft’s UK headquarters in Reading (UK).
There were very interesting sessions on Intelligent Cloud, Microsoft Research (with whom we are collaborating) work on radiology and genomics, Introduction to productivity in health, Revolutionising infection control, National Technology Officer’s Cloud Update, Transdermal Sensors in Paediatric Care, Introduction to personalised computing in health, Virtual care clinics in Sweden, Digital wellbeing, The venture programme for health, NHS…
As usual, the most interesting part was to network (in their awesome Minecraft experience centre, with videogames galore) with high level executives from many companies.
Silly and fun, full of cosplay and otakus. Kawaii!
I can post this collection of photos showing how crazy the town gets for two weeks now that the Wimbledon Tennis Championships 2016 are over, and I can tell because I could hear the players moan, the umpire call the score… let alone the crowd roaring.
From our living room window, we have been enjoying tennis pros play. The practice courts are right in our front yard, so every time they missed (which does not happen often) a tennis ball would land on our door or parking space. We have a collection of 6 at home, decorating the fireplace mantel, plus 3 more that my parents took with them when they came to visit.
The two things that have amazed me the most is the squad of lawn caretakers, with their military precision and methodology, and the wheelchair players. Of course, what has annoyed me the most is the masses of fans completely taking over the sidewalks on their way in and out of The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club to and from Southfields subway station.
I am glad we are back to peace and quiet.
After the trip to Boston I came down with the flu, of course on a weekend as usual. So Monday I had zero energy, but a week ahead with an usual large number of meetings around London, so I had to do “magic calendar tricks” to be able to make all of them and to also attend several events. The main “trick” is to concentrate meetings geographically, adding into the calendar the time it takes to go from point A to point B.
The meetings ranged from the Economic and Commercial Office of the Spanish Embassy in London to entrepreneurs seeking advice to potential investors and advisors.
On top of the meetings, I had a ton of conference calls and events. The only event I was invited to, I missed, and I really wanted to attend was the premiere of the documentary Design Disruptors.
The upside of hectic weeks like this is that I get to meet very interesting people (this week alone: an Oxford professor, a Baroness former Secretary of State for Health, two PhD entrepreneurs, a world-leading strategic investor advisor, the owner of a Chelsea art gallery, the head of a top law firm, CTOs of some of the largest technology companies in the world, etc), I get a lot of exercise done, and I get to enjoy the city.
On Thursday , on my way from an event to a meeting, I made two stops. The first one in Forbidden Planet.
Forbidden Planet is a comic store that I enjoyed tremendously while living in New York. While not exactly Tokyo’s Mandarake, Forbidden Planet had enough variety to make it interesting. What I did not know is that they had such a large store in London! It is a fun place full of comic (and non-comic) books, manga, merchandise, figures, posters…
The second stop was at my “oasis” Japan Society, where I go to get delicious Japanese groceries (fresh organic tofu, excellent seafood, mochi, dorayaki, ramen, udon, seaweed, poki, sushi, calpis, etc) and freshly prepared takoyaki and buns.
On Wednesday and Thursday, I was invited to attend the Amazon Web Services Summit in London’s Excel center.
Besides an exhibition area with many vendors (some of them already suppliers to my company) like NewRelic, DataDog, GitHub, Chef, Alscient, Teradici, DataPipe, Ruxit, CloudCheckr, Amazon Activate, Elastic, Redis, etc, all with their great swag (mostly t-shirts and stickers, but lots of giveaways, from drones to iWatches), the highlight was the conference sessions.
I was interested in (and attended most of): DevOps, Game development, Security, Migration, Containers, Lumberyard, Encryption, Diversity, Microservices, BigData, and Enterprise systems.
They ranged from very boring to very interesting, from highly technical to highly comical. But the only one that was extremely sad is… you guessed it: the talk on Diversity. The one with less attendance and less engagement (see if you can spot which of the photos in the gallery belong to that session). How can that be, when lack of diversity is such an enormous problem in the tech world?
By the people attending and the talk itself it is very clear that the tech world is absolutely clueless about what the real problem is and how to address it.
My fear is that, beyond being quite a complex issue, there is no REAL interest in addressing it. After all, throughout history, high-value profit-generating activities have been the exclusive domain of the ruling elite. Which today mostly means White AngloSaxon Middle-Aged Men.
Never mind the shiny millennial poster boys in the cover of Entrepreneur magazines: they usually do not run the show or call the shots, they just speak the techno-lingo, but the money behind them, and the power center in “their” companies resides in… mostly White AngloSaxon Middle-Aged Men. Luckily there is a lot of activity coming from other countries and other ethnic groups. But the “gender gap” (or “glass-ceiling”) is still a seriously unresolved issue.
Thursday June 23 I was given the opportunity to create a non-comissioned art piece at the Tate Gallery new extension Switch House.
Within Meschac Gaba (1961, Benin) “Architecture Room” installation part of the “Museum of Contemporary African Art” exhibit, the artist invitation was to build my own imaginary museum… and what better place to do that than in the recently inaugurated Switch House extension of the Tate Gallery by Herzog & de Meuron?
The piece (titled “Diangle”) plays with angles. After all, given a limited set of geometric rigid interlocking woodblock figures, the most obvious and balanced way to continue the playfulness that the installation requires is to examine the angles. Unexpected, closed, and aggressive, while at the same time inviting, and dynamic.
Those angles are not only constructive in the architectural sense. They also represent a cultural and even psychological “construct”: the “unorthodox” approach to a pre-conceived set of requirements that is so often present in my works.
It is the essence of rebellion. In Lego-like blocks.