Sunday 1 November 2009

Natasha, "you're fired!"

A couple of weeks ago I attended a conference in London called Innovate09 for my day job. It was organised by the government to showcase innovation by UK businesses and universities. Mandy made a speech and all of the great and good (and me!) of the innovation world were there.

The day was hosted by Natasha Kaplinsky and included a Q&A session with Sralan. This was very funny for a number of reasons. Firstly Sralan and Amstrad have hardly been the best at innovation - after all his em@iler was a product without a market, his computers always seemed to be "me2" products rather than leaders in the market (and had reliability problems) and his satellite boxes had a reputation for not working properly. The second reason is that Gordon Brown has chosen him as an enterprise champion - he isn't really suited to that role (surely James Dyson would have been a much better choice as he *has* produced a series of innovative products). And the third reason was that despite all these faults he is entertaining. The first question from the audience was along the lines of "Do you think that programmes such as The Apprentice and Dragons Den belittle the value of innovation, science and engineering". Sralan's response? He shouted the questioner down, told him to shut up and asked that the microphone be taken away from such a "loser"! This would be funny at a Sunday market but not now he is a representative for the UK government!

Anyway, I managed to get a seat near the front of the audience but didn't have my main camera with me. So I took a photo of Sralan and Natasha with my iPhone. And you can see that above.

Once the show, sorry I mean Sralan's Q&A session was over I decided not to stay for the evening drinks reception and headed off to the cloak room to pick up my bags. Just as I was given my camera bag Sralan walked straight past me. I did think about asking him if he minded if I included him in my stranger portrait project but he looked in a foul mood as he was berating his assistant so I decided it would be safer all round if I didn't bother.

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