Driving #CyberFest


Several factors have been driving this year’s #CyberFest. 

Firstly and obviously the key driver is to meet its aims. These are to raise awareness of the North East as a place to address cyber resilience; to get people engaged in the Dynamo work stream and; to educate and inform of the threats and opportunities from cyber. We want to put the region on the national and global cyber map.

Secondly and a less obvious driver, is that we are trying to do this on a shoestring. We have next to no money and this has made it an even more interesting challenge than it might have been. The challenge has been to work out how to spread the word and get people interested in the events with a minimal promotional budget.

Well, it takes some ingenuity and perseverance.

When I look at some of the successful events that are held in the region there is always someone behind them driving them forward. It is Herb Kim with Thinking Digital or Paul Lancaster with Newcastle Startup Week or Charlie Hoult with Dynamites. There are others but these are the people that I have looked to for advice when thinking about #CyberFest.

All of them gave me the same wise words. If you want to make something to happen it’s down to you. It is a truism that anything worthwhile is hard and I guess that I knew this already. The success of #CyberFest will be down to me, working with my contacts, encouraging and persuading them to get behind it and build the movement. If it is a failure however, then that will be down to me alone.

At this stage I am very upbeat about the whole thing. Numbers of tickets’ sold’ are well ahead of last year, the whole series of events is better curated and we have learned the lessons from the inaugural event. We also have a wide array of interesting themes related to cyber security.

Indeed my thoughts are already turning to next year, with a few events in mind that I couldn’t fit in this time. The big challenge will be to put #CyberFest on a stable financial footing to allow it, just like those other great events, to occupy a regular slot in the calendar of the North East, bang in between The Hoppings and Christmas.

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