Margot Huysman reviews The Up Group’s summer party.
We wined, we chatted, we exchanged fistfuls of business cards, we ate a lot of mini éclairs. Last Tuesday, The Kernel attended The Up Group‘s summer party hosted, somewhat self-evidently, by The Up Group, along with sponsors Rackspace and our good selves, serving as media partner. Mercifully, despite the summer theme, no bikinis or flip-flops were in evidence.
Instead, the second floor of the OXO Tower Wharf was elegantly illuminated with lime green spotlighting to mark the occasion. Attendees sipped Pimm’s delicately, swigged champagne somewhat more enthusiastically and scarfed the aforesaid mini éclairs without compunction. Gourmands that we are, we joined them enthusiastically, mingling with the fruits of a guest list that included executives from AOL, eBay and Yahoo!.
Since The Kernel’s report on the recruitment industry, we have tried to inculcate good relations with the firms our readers and networks tell us they trust. The Up Group is an example – in particular its founder, Clare Johnston, who comes personally recommended from many of our most trusted friends, advisors and sources.
Hence our attendance last Tuesday, which wasn’t just about the professional networking, even though that is, in a sense, what executive search firms do for a living and the unspoken premise of the gathering. Two brief panel discussions had been – somewhat bravely – organised, with our own Editor-in-Chief attempting to moderate over the din of merrymaking.
Conversations centred on the future of traditional media companies currently transforming themselves into digital corporations the and European and British tech start-ups currently spreading their wings internationally, both “core competencies”, as the suits say, of the firm throwing the shindig.
Present on the media panel were Rebecca Miskin from Hearst, Aksel Van der Wal of Time Out and the inevitable Guardian executive, Tanya Cordrey. The discussions focused on the how traditional print publications were facing the rise of digital and how they were coping with dramatic changes in the content industries.
Although the three same from somewhat different organisations, their approach to the problems sounded rather similar. Finding a balance will take time, but the future is online and there is a need to find a way to make both formats work together, in a complementary fashion, for as long as print could be sustained.
There was some hesitancy when the panel was asked whether there was genuine buy-in from the board and company executies for the necessary digital future of their organisations. One suspects our hosts weren’t devastated to hear it.
On the start-up panel, Lisa Rodwell, chief revenue officer at Moo, Divinia Knowles, Mind Candy’s chief operating officer, Joe Stepniewski, co-founder of Skimlinks, and Adrian Blair, chief operating officer at Just-Eat, discussed what it takes for European start-ups to get out of the European bubble and scale up globally; what it takes to make a business that little bit more competitive and actually make it into a bigger market.
The consensus seemed to be that hiring locally was the key.
Aside from the grown-up stuff, the party was a lively success, packed with a few familiar faces. The turn-out was impressive given how many people are laid up with that flu that’s been doing the rounds.
All in all, a hot ticket and a snazzy apotheosis of the summer party season. We only wish we’d smuggled a tray of éclairs home with us.