I didn’t know quite what to expect from yesterday’s Secret Sauce Conference, organised by Vincent Dignan of Magnific and hosted by Google Campus. ACHUKA is not exactly a startup and not by any stretch of the imagination can I be described as a young entrepreneur. But I AM looking to revamp/relaunch and I have long suspected that, active though I am on Twitter, Instagram etc., I am not sufficiently businesslike about the time I spend on such networks.
I have used the ‘achuka’ soubriquet for all my online activities ever since founding the ACHUKA website in 1997. This means it makes no difference whether the reason you are following me is primarily books, photography or web matters – you get everything I post. There are good things and bad things about this setup. Yesterday has prompted me to consider separating out these different interest streams, but I am not yet decided either way.
The short talks (20 mins with questions afterwards) were all of an excellent standard – brief, pacy and thought-provoking. Vincent Dignam himself delivered four of them – 3 during the main conference, and one at the after-party, held at WeWork Soho. These four talks were packed with practical suggestions for maximising time spent on social networks. He offered to email participants the slides, an offer I am dearly hoping he will honour, since I was able to note down less than a tenth of his suggestions, such was the momentum with which he delivered each talk.
Equally impressive were the presentations by Adnam Ebrahim of Car Throttle and Steven Bartlett of The Social Chain (especially helpful in terms of creating and then targeting an online community). There was much to take away from the day with regard to publicising and promoting children’s books and authors and I am guessing in the months to come there will be developments and changes in ACHUKA that can be traced back to this Secret Sauce conference. The same can be said for increasing exposure of my photography portfolio.
Thinking of all the dull, anodyne educational conferences and inset days I have attended in my previous life, I have to ask myself why there should be such a contrast.
The three presenters I have mentioned are each still very young (early 20s) and now heading up organisations of a significant size.
The adroitly placed after-lunch session was an amusing presentation by Hermione Way, talking about how she went about promoting Vibease, a vibrator capable of responding to remote input, either provided by an absent partner (the device was first conceived for couples living a long distance apart) or the ebb and flow of erotic stories in an accompanying app. Writers so-inclined take note – you are able to submit stories to this app, set the price for the story then earn 50% of sales.
Occasionally during the day I did question the apparent obsession with online exposure and connections for their own sake, and a cavalier willingness to plaster the web with silly stories just to prove a point (control of the medium). But I had to keep reminding myself that these were white-bearded thoughts, out of keeping with the sprightly go-get-it young crowd I had been fortunate enough to be welcomed amongst.