Hi everyone,

So if you’re reading this then you’ve no doubt heard the news. From today I will be joining the Tech City Investment Organisation as Deputy CEO. It has not been an easy decision, and I have no doubt that many of you will have questions which I will endeavor to answer for you in this post. If not, please feel free to get in contact with me via Twitter and I will be happy to answer directly.

Why did I join Tech City Investment Organisation?

I have spent my entire life working in the start-up scene – first Cambridge; then Boulder, Colorado; and finally back here in London. From Product Development to project management, to coding to design to community management and finally – as many of you know me now – events. The start-up ecosystem and culture is my life and my passion, I love it and I will challenge anyone who states otherwise. I have seen the very best, and the very worst, but not only am I still here, I am more certain than I have ever been that right now there is a real excitement here in London and a real opportunity to do something big for the ecosystem. For the past 12 months, Mike, Bryce and I have spent every single week running events to bring the start-up community together and foster collaboration, and in that time we have seen something remarkable occur. From business growth to collaboration, investment and the support of big tech companies like Google, Cisco and now Amazon, there is a reason that this is one of the few growth areas of the current economy. But more than that, we’ve seen more young people – those who have grown up with coding and development – coming down and realising that there is a new career option open to them that previously they did not know existed. And that is a truly valuable thing.


When TCIO approached me I had to ask myself one simple question – when faced with the opportunity to make real change happen for the ecosystem and community you love, do you take it or do you sit back, play it safe and watch someone else take the heat? Those of you who know me know I am far from a public servant, but I am a man of conviction and my role, as Deputy CEO, will be to make sure you, the community, are heard and that your needs are being met. If they are not being met, I will be responsible for talking to all of you and explaining why they have not been met. I will also be responsible for better communicating how TCIO can help.


The fact is, unlike ever before, the current Government is not only listening to the start-up community – they want to listen! As a result, there is a real opportunity to maximise this attention in a way that drives growth for all of us. If I learned anything from the past 12 months of running community events and working in start-ups, it’s that everyone has a place in driving the growth and continued success of the East London tech community.

What does this mean for my role in 3beards, Digital Sizzle, Don’t Pitch Me, Bro! and Silicon Drinkabout?

Over the next 12 months, my focus will be on first addressing a number of the current issues that many of you have raised with me in the past.


As such, I will be stepping away from my involvement in 3beards, Digital Sizzle, Don’t Pitch Me, Bro! and Silicon Drinkabout. I will still be present at as many of the events as I can, but as an attendee rather than an organiser. This has been the hardest part of my decision, as I am extremely proud of everything we have done in providing consistent community-focused events of the highest standard; however I don’t feel it is appropriate to continue doing so for the duration of my new role.


However, all is not lost for The 3beards! I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Joe Scarboro – who has been working with us for several months on Silicon Drinkabout, and has been an integral part of the growth of that event – on board as the new Third Beard in my absence. Many of you already know Joe from his work on Drinkabout, and I know he will be the perfect fit in helping Bryce and Mike continue to grow and run the same great events you all love in my absence.


I am also pleased to announce another new addition, Parker Crockford, who will be working closely with Bryce, Mike and Joe over the next few months on the commercial side to help them streamline the business side of 3beards and help them scale each event in line with the both humbling and amazing demand we’ve seen from all of you for bigger and better events in the future. The only goal of 3beards has always been to put on the best events possible for the creative and start-up communities and, with an amazing business development track record and as a regular Drinkabout attendee, we felt Parker has the perfect mix of skills and start-up experience to help us do that.


Well, that’s all from me for now, it’s an exciting new challenge and I only hope I can support all of you in the same way you have all supported me over the past 12 months.


Cheers, beers and brilliant ideas.

Benjamin Southworth

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