Just as the state of the construction industry can be used as a proxy measure of a country’s prosperity, the state of technology can be judged by the number of stress balls in circulation.
I went to an exhibition in London recently and was overwhelmed by the number of stress balls that I was given. I couldn’t collect all tee shirts, bottle openers, pens, flash drives and mugs on offer. I couldn’t enter all the competitions to win drones that I was asked to enter. The technology suppliers obviously have some money available for marketing.
Another interesting feature of this and other exhibitions that I have been to is how relaxed the salespeople were. They were waiting for prospects to approach rather than aggressively grabbing every passerby. Does this shows a level of confidence in their offer? The established suppliers seem to be putting their more junior staff on the stands – I guess the senior staff are busy closing deals.
It was the small companies that had the most interesting technologies. They were creating products and making the latest technological trends into something that you can touch and create value from.
A slightly worrying comment from several of these small innovative companies was that they felt shut out of major organisations. Their procurement policies sometimes favour the larger established suppliers. Partnering with these large suppliers often made things worse by closing routes to market rather than opening them. However, the small companies were determined to “find a way to build the business”.
The follow up of the companies that I spoke to has been excellent – timely, informative but not pushy or intrusive. I had one highly professional 15 minute online product demo that generated a number of ideas that I will now pursue. I feel these guys will get a lot of business.
There seemed to be an abundance of small companies from outside the UK trying to break into the UK market and looking for partners. Brexit was worrying some of them slightly but most were not particularly concerned – “people find a way to trade no matter what the politicians do”.
I came away from the exhibition feeling positive about the UK technology market. Innovation and entrepreneurship were being displayed. There may be a lot of stress balls out there but high levels of stress were not evident. The little guys were determined to overcome any obstacles – “we will find a way”!