London’s Silicon Valley may just be a roundabout, but it is our roundabout!
Last Monday morning I came into Jargon PR’s London office to find all of the desks and chairs removed, and a man with a very large camera with BBC written across it perched where I normally sit.
I immediately checked I had picked up coffee and not tea from Starbucks, resulting in me walking into the wrong office, before realising that this was of course in honour of London Technology Week. A week of workshops and events highlighting London’s tech credentials. We even hosted a workshop on ‘How can PR grow my Tech Business?’.
Mayors Johnson and Bloomberg provided the launch gravitas and kicked off what was set to be a very exciting week for London’s burgeoning Tech City.
The general message from the organisers is that London is THE tech world’s capital city, rivaling the dominance of California’s Silicon Valley, in the form of silicon roundabout. The media seems to have taken two lines on this story. The Evening Standard took a fantastic London centric angle, citing statistics which demonstrate London’s tech centre is outstripping California’s Silicon Valley, employing more people in the financial tech sector than New York or San Francisco.
The BBC’s tech editor, Rory Cellan-Jones chose to take a bit more of a considered approach, highlighting that the total invested in the UK technology sector in 2012 was an impressive £681m, but in comparison, the controversial silicon valley startup, Uber has just secured £700m in funding.
Within London’s collective Tech City community we all realise that we are not up there with Silicon Valley yet, however, there is something uniquely British about the innovation taking place in London. We all politely queue to get in and out of Old Street station and visit the eclectic mix of coffee shops and eateries for food and drink during the day. Tech City is arguably the most creative part of London.
The population surrounding Old Street makes bold claims about the size and number of startups present in the area, but this hype is necessary. Britain loves a good bit of competition, as Boris demonstrated last Monday when he lost to Michael Bloomberg’s computer building team in a race. Our ongoing competition with Silicon Valley, no matter how juvenile or pointless acts as a fantastic claim to fame for London, and at Jargon PR we are delighted to be able to play a part.