Category Archives: MeetTheSpeaker

Meet the speaker – Tariq Rashid

Unfortunately, due to recent events with COVID, this meetup has been cancelled and will be rescheduled at a later date.

Tariq Rashid was originally trained as a physicist, and later gained a masters in machine learning and data mining. He’s worked in technology for 20 years, including almost a decade in central government, leading on the modernisation of technology and security. Tariq is passionate about open source, developing communities, and inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers. He led the London Python meetup, and now runs a children’s CoderDojo Cornwall and the Data Science Cornwall community, as well as the London based Algorithmic Art group which has grown to over 4,500 members. He also writes books on machine learning and creative computing, one of which has been translated into 6 languages. He is currently developing Digital Dynamics, a new business specialising in independent risk assessment of client’s use of machine learning and data, with a focus on safe and ethical use of AI. 

Name: Tariq Rashid
Job role: Founder of Digital Dynamics
LinkedIn: Tariq Rashid
Twitter: Tariq Rashid and Digital Dynamics

What motivates you to do what you do?

I believe that so many exciting and beautiful ideas in computing, mathematics and science could be enjoyed by so many more people, especially children, if only the subjects were made more accessible. I also feel we’re at cross-roads, where technology can enable a greener, more just and sustainable future, or it can be the tool for deepening inequality, surveillance and oppression. That’s why we need more people to understand technology and their rights in a technology future. 

How do you start your mornings?

Home-ground coffee. Or natural earl grey tea. Always black.

What is your talk about?

Tariq will introduce what AI and machine learning are, and explain why we need to think about them more carefully than traditional computer systems. He’ll provide an overview of the emerging assessment frameworks, and explore selected examples of AI use which pose ethical questions. 

You’ll come away from this talk with an intuitive understanding of why AI and machine learning are different, an overview of the risk areas, and a good idea of the things we need to get right to ensure our use of AI is safe, ethical and can gain the trust of our users, customers and regulators.

What is the best resource for people who want to dive in deeper?

Join a community formed around the subject you’re interested in. In a community you can be inspired by others, receive valuable advice, get help on specific problems, share the load of learning, find friends and business partners, and showcase your own achievements. 

What is the biggest challenge in the field at the moment?

Growing inequality and undemocratic power in the hands of a few powerful tech businesses. The challenge is getting the public to understand technology so they can understand the risks and demand reform before it is too late. Too many people aren’t aware of pervasive surveillance and the drugs-like trade in their personal data, and the power this gives to those who have it.

Thanks Tariq for your answers! If you want to find out more, come along to our meetup:


Meet the speaker – John Cowen

John Cowen is the Head of Design at Funeral Guide where he spends his time doing design and creative thinking. He holds a fascination for all aspects of design, from theoretical design down to the nuts and bolts of production-ready HTML & CSS. He is invested in research, workshops, presentations and conferences that have all blossomed from the simple pursuit of applying creativity to interaction design.

Name: John Cowen
Job role: Head of Design at Funeral Guide
LinkedIn: John Cowen
Twitter: John Cowen

What motivates you to do what you do?

I love to solve problems, make things simpler and more beautiful. Design gives me the opportunity to do this. And I still love the creative freedom that comes from working online and the ability to quickly publish new designs and the constant iteration that follows.

How do you start your mornings?

Overnight oats and the Guardian crossword.

What does a ‘typical’ work day look like?

My days are typically split between meetings with stakeholders and other departments to both review work in progress and gather requirements for new feature development work.
It’s then going back to the team and making sure everyone has got the right information and direction they need to be able to deliver the different projects they’re working on. So for me this varies a lot between running design workshops, individual and team critiques, art direction, brand development, writing HTML and CSS or helping steer and develop our design libraries for different products.

Continue reading Meet the speaker – John Cowen

Meet the speaker – Frazer Anderson

Frazer Anderson grew up in Exmouth and went to ISCA college where he found his love of science and technology. He studied at Bournemouth University and worked at an IT company in London where he first got introduced to 3D printing. After completing a masters degree in Aberystwyth and travelling the world (20 countries so far) he came back to Exmouth to start his own company.

Name: Frazer Anderson
Job role: Founder of Exclusiv3D
Social Media: LinkedIn; Twitter; Facebook; Instagram

What motivates you to do what you do?

I’ve always loved being at the forefront of technology and being able to bring that to customers on a daily basis is a great feeling.

How do you start your mornings?

3 times a week I hit the gym at 4am with a friend, otherwise I’ll wake up around 6/7am. Then breakfast and catch up on the news, podcasts, and stock markets.

What does a ‘typical’ work day look like?

I track each day with a whiteboard and will prioritise every morning what I need to do. I will split my time between designing, printing, and post processing prints (sanding/gluing), as well as prepping social media posts and networking with current or potential clients.

Continue reading Meet the speaker – Frazer Anderson

Meet the speaker – Milly Brown

Milly Brown is a visual artist and educator. Often working with paper, collage and publishing formats, her practice explores ideas of objectivity, value and editing.

Name: Milly Brown
Job role: Senior Lecturer and Subject Leader on Plymouth College of Art’s  BA (Hons) Fashion Media and Marketing
LinkedIn: Milly Brown

What motivates you to do what you do?

It is important we ALL engage with big data as it increasingly shapes more areas of our lives. If print and publishing can be employed to do that I want to be involved!

How do you start your mornings?

Dog walking

What does a ‘typical’ work day look like?

I work as a senior lecturer at PCA, so most days I am in lectures talking about fashion marketing and publishing, so when I have a day to work on the Continuous Stationery project it’s very different dealing with artists and scientist-a brilliant contrast!

Continue reading Meet the speaker – Milly Brown

Meet the speaker – Sophie Glaser

Sophie is helping us out with investigating grant funding opportunities, so we took a few minutes to get to know her a bit better!

Name: Sophie Glaser 
Job role: Consultant, Granted Consultancy Ltd
LinkedIn: Sophie Glaser

What motivates you to do what you do?

Curiosity, consulting means knowing the processes and priorities of funders, while catering to the clients needs too. Each new project changes sector and focus, so I have to rapidly learn a new sector and product for each client.

I’m curious and it really helps to get stuck in when you want to know more, whether its about a new blockchain solution, autonomous vehicles, ed tech or bread-making innovations.

How do you start your mornings?

At 6.30, walking the dog come rain or shine.

What does a ‘typical’ work day look like?

A typical work day is divided between sector research, client management, project management and writing. 

Continue reading Meet the speaker – Sophie Glaser

Meet the speaker – Al Mclintock

Al reached out to us to let us know about Exeter College’s plans for the new T (technical) Level qualifications – find out more at her upcoming talk on wednesday!

Name: Al Mclintock
Job role: Industry Placement Liaison Officer, Exeter College
LinkedIn: Al Mclintock

What’s your biggest passion?

I used to be a cook and a baker so it is really nice to get to do it as a way of relaxing rather than as a job!

What motivates you to do what you do?

I believe that young people are growing up in a challenging and unknown world and need support to flourish – just like we all did when we were young.

How do you start your mornings?

I usually have a really tasty breakfast as it is my favourite meal of the day, drink tea and coffee and then go outside.

What does a ‘typical’ work day look like?

Typically I work with students, employers and tutors on a daily basis, supporting and engaging them with  IT/Digital/ Business Industry Placements in the hope that students and employers will have a positive and mutually beneficial experience.

Continue reading Meet the speaker – Al Mclintock

Meet the Speaker – Ben Travers

Our sponsors are always keen to learn more about tech – we asked Ben from Stephens Scown a few questions prior to his upcoming talk debating the use of Open Source licenses in software

Name: Ben Travers
Job role: Head of IP & IT Law, Stephens Scown LLP
Twitter: @stephensscown

What’s your biggest passion?

My biggest passion is learning new things!

What motivates you to do what you do?

Building a team which breaks the mould, enabling us to offer advice in innovative ways which make a real difference to the businesses we work with.  That, and the privilege of being invited in by businesses to learn what makes them tick so that we can really help them to meet their goals – no two are alike.

How do you start your mornings?

If there is time (which there usually isn’t!) a run along the river – often with “Zombies, Run” – the gamification of exercise!

What does a ‘typical’ work day look like?

We might be assisting a client with the legals around a new marketing campaign, seizing counterfeit goods or helping with a new product launch.  The sheer breadth of areas we work in means there is never a dull moment.

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Meet the Speaker – Tristan Edwards

Our sponsers aren’t just anyone – they’re people who we enjoy wotking with and provide lots of value to our community. We asked Tristan from Grey Matter a few questions prior to his upcoming talk on modern app deployment techniques on Azure.

Name: Tristan Edwards
Job role: Group Head of Services , Grey Matter
Twitter: @tristankedwards

What’s your biggest passion?

My biggest passion and what motivates me are almost one and the same. I enjoy a challenge and get great satisfaction from solving technical problems.

How do you start your mornings?

Would it be cliché if I said drinking coffee?

What does a ‘typical’ work day look like?

Is there one? I don’t think there is a ‘typical’ day at work. No one day is the same. I can spend a whole day in meetings with different members of the team and customers, other days I’m attending and presenting at technical events, or implementing and deploying projects for businesses. I guess the one thing that they all have in common is that the end goal is helping customers adopt the cloud.

Continue reading Meet the Speaker – Tristan Edwards