East Midlands Only Star Code Club & Regional Champion

Anybody that knows me will know I am involved in many areas of technology and education, be it on various boards or as ambassador and advisor to companies and charity’s in these areas.

Back in 2014 after getting to meet and talk to various people about Code Club – I decided it was time to bring a louder voice to the East Midlands with Code Club. As one of the few clubs that would be run by a business owner I knew I could give my Code Club a different direction than most. After numerous discussions with various venues – Derby City Council had the Central Library on offer to host Derby Code Club.

Roll on some two years or so later and after being a very vocal advocate of Code Club, training others, growing the club locally and ensuring that as many youngsters got into coding as I could – my club was awarded the Star Code Club status, the only club in the East Midlands at this time to have the star club status. Not only that but I was named the East Midlands Code Club Champion.

Working alongside Derby council and the Derby central library to teach children aged 9 – 11 to write code, produce games, animations and projects using the MIT project Scratch is nothing short of fun, inspiring and entertaining for all involved. Following on from a very successful 2014 & 2015, the Derby CodeClub run every Saturday morning in Derby central library has been a great opportunity for young children with a passion for computers and learning how they work to come along and spend the morning creating games, using their imagination and figuring out how to piece blocks of code together to create truly unique pieces of work.

In an article last year for the Derby Telegraph Alison Martin, the city council’s cabinet member for leisure and culture, said: “It is very important that our children acquire good computer skills as early as possible. Our code clubs will engage children in fun digital activity outside of school, and so contribute towards their overall learning.”

The official Code Club web site offers up the best description of their mission:

“Code Club is a nationwide network of free volunteer-led after-school coding clubs for children aged 9-11.

We create projects for our volunteers to teach at after school coding clubs or at non-school venues such as libraries. The projects we make teach children how to program by showing them how to make computer games, animations and websites. Our volunteers go to their local club for an hour a week and teach one project a week.

Each term the students will progress and learn more whilst at the same time using their imaginations and making creative projects. Terms 1 & 2 use Scratch to teach the basics of programming. Term 3 teaches the basics of web development using HTML and CSS. Term 4 teaches Python and so on.”

With an ever growing waiting list of children wanting to attend Derbys local CodeClub, its important that more people get involved with the local community to help develop the skill sets and interests of young children with a passion for IT being the Derby truly is the city of innovation.

You can find more information and request updates on Code Club Derby by following this link to the official Code Club web site. Also worth reading the 2014 year in review blog post to see how the organisation is growing across the country herbal weight loss supplements.

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Selling your time for pennies

On the internet, they like you should spit it
I’m like you should buy it, n**a that’s good business
 – Jay Z

Hourly, salary or shareholder getting paid dividends in a business – it matters not how you get paid but the fact that you do. You are no matter how you look at it – selling your time for pennies (some more than others).

That doesn’t bother me so much, rather its when we swing the pendulum too far the other way that we need to adjust our focus. When folk won’t go past 5:01pm to do their job, or perhaps worse still take take take and don’t give back – namely to those who would most benefit from that time.

time-is-money

Ditching agency life earlier this year where I committed a good 70-90hrs a week of my life for ten years – means that now I do have more time to give back.

That said anyone that knows me will know that even at the busy agency times I was still able to give back with being active on Derby Councils Enterprise 4 Education board, mentoring a number of fantastic secondary school pupils through STEM, mentoring & supporting students at Derby University (such as DrivenMedia), developing training academies and the list of boards and charities goes on.

I rarely promote the majority of entities I am involved with but after a thrilling conversation today which lead me to feel more comfortable with being as active as I am in so many fantastic ventures – I feel like I may just shout a little more from time to time about the companies and individuals I work with.

For we all sell time for money in one way or another – wouldn’t it just be great if perhaps a few more of us left money on the table to give a little more back. I’m not perfect by any means – but putting an hour to one side now and then to sit down and help others is the bare minimum I can accept from myself.

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Pokemon Go and how marketers will ruin it

Marketers ruin everything and we know this without a shadow of a doubt. So it only makes sense that given the fact that Pokemon Go has become more viral than flappy birds and angry birds (remember those games?) did means that with the augmented reality (AR) element that marketers will undoubtably take hold of the AR sphere here and start making some dollars out of it.

pokemon-reddit

Some clever folk already have created fantastic side apps to Pokemon including chats, mapping and social networks that work side by side – but the big step is local marketing opportunities. Not only are US ride sharing companies jumping on this by offering discounted trips to those trying to find pokemon around the city, but tourist attractions in the states are offering money off tickets to popular attractions and local restaurants adding Pokemon lure modules are reporting an increase in business…

pokemon-go-imgur

This is all very obvious when you think bout it but because you don’t own a restaurant doesn’t mean your own business can’t benefit from this new fad. I say fad because like many others before it – there will be the typical curve bell of interest and attention before the next big thing comes along but unlike oculus rift – Pokemon Go has made some form of AR available to the every day human being out there trying to catch em all!

Once a fully baked advertising platform becomes available within Pokemon Go – marketers world wide will be able to jump on this and execute like never before. Your going to see further AR with museums and cafes opting to have rare pokemon in their halls or exclusive extras found at your local eatery. Never mind the fact that incubating your pokemon at the local pizza restaurant for 2 hours will most likely give you some extra kudos and prizes.

It won’t be long before marketers figure out the next couple of steps in AR and how this Pokemon craze some ~15 years later has become a hot topic all over again will inevitably lead to marketing channels like never before. I for one see an enormous opportunity for snapchat and pokemon go to team up to deliver some unique AR opportunities.

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3 Things I have learnt from mentoring entrepreneurial students

Over the years I have mentored numerous students who have the dream of running their own businesses or becoming entrepreneurs in their own right good weight loss supplements. It would come as no surprise that there are things to be learnt from both sides of the table. As I have helped with marketing, technology and general business advice – I too have picked up on a few things from the students I have mentored and wanted to share with you here 3 things I think to be of interest I have learnt.

Variety of drive

What one person desires and is willing to put into achieving their goals isn’t nearly as much as the next might be willing to do. This can cause some controversy over the word entrepreneur which is being thrown around to anyone who has a web site and an idea to play on, but the real fact is where one person maybe entrepreneurial in the sense of willing to give it all up for greatness – there is (rightly so) those who are only willing to go so deep in the rabbit whole and who still may be entrepreneurial.

A variety of both how far one person is willing to commit vs others – neither is bad – but in a world where people boast of their 20hr days and 4hrs of sleep a night – it is hard not to follow the convention. Those putting in a solid 10hr day may just well outwork their tired caffeine infused counterparts.

Understanding your passion, your drive, your ‘why’ – is crucial. Are you happy to be putting in 8-10hrs a day? Can you commit 14hrs+ a day? What are you willing to put in? There is no right or wrong answer.

Its the latest craze

For a lot of students I speak to often ‘entrepreneur’ has become that ‘cool’ job title or term to use. What was once a label for ‘unemployed’ or ‘still trying to figure it out’ has become a buzz word for many. Since Zucks put on a hoodie and made a few billion and the likes of Dragons Den put ‘entrepreneurship’ in the spot light it has become the one word bio for many.

Not everyone with a web site is an entrepreneur in the same way that not everyone that buys the Ralph Lauren shirt is a model. Its a term that many people are applying to themselves and others incorrectly and is detracting from what the real purpose is.

Far too often I’ve asked the question ‘what do you want to do in business’ and the answer comes in the shape of ‘an entrepreneur’… there is something inherently wrong with that answer in my opinion.

That age/race/background still matters

Its a sad thing to say particularly as we have so many young talented entrepreneurs doing so well, that people will still undoubtably ‘judge’ someone based on their looks, race, ethnicity and even age.

The human race has a tendency to judge people far too quickly – we are all guilty of this to some degree. Having mentored a number of students of different ages, backgrounds and seen first hand how they are dismissed or not taken seriously because of these facts.

I recall being 21 years old and meeting a potential client at an event who would later become not only an influential figure in my development over the years but a great client to work with for several years. Being young, smart and good at explaining who I was and what benefit I could bring to their business, I thought I had it in the bag – only to be largely ignored because of my age. Once my name kept floating around this person decided to bring me in to consult on some projects and after a very short time I was told the reason for the quick dismissal in our initial meeting.

“When I look at 21 yr olds – they have all the talk and none of the action – you proved me wrong” the client said. The fact that we can look at someone and immediately make a snap decision we don’t want to work with that person because of age or cultural background is astonishing.

This particular client grew to be someone I considered a mentor myself and a great businessman – perseverance keeps you going. If you are 18 to 25 (or even older) and regularly get knock backs, or if you are finding it difficult to get those meetings or be taken seriously – KEEP PUSHING.

Patience is GREATLY underrated. You need to be patient.

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