Newcastle Photographer and Content Creator, Mandy Charlton, Always on a quest for adventure, often seen on buses, trains and planes. On a quest to be happier and healthier. Lives in Newcastle with her 3 cats, Iris, Maggie and Arthur. Loves good vibes, musicals and cakes. Full time professional wedding photographer in the north east of england alongside content creator on Tiktok, Instagram and Facebook

Monday, June 08, 2015

What Thinking Digital Conference Means To Me

LJ Rich blowing us away with her musical, digital tribute to Science

It's been a few weeks since Thinking Digital Conference2015 at Sage Gateshead and I've had some time to reflect and see what I actually managed to retain, everywhere I go I seem to talk about it, it completely blew me away and totally exceeded my expectations. I was delighted to be there as part of the Sage One Street Team and spent my time tweeting to the max with I'm sure steam coming from my fingers tips in over excitement at some points!

Now let me tell you a story of how I came to know of Thinking Digital in the first place.  The year was 2008 and I joined this little microblogging site called Twitter (who knew that 8 years later I would be named as the 167th most influential tweeter in the North East (higher than Cheryl Cole by quite a few places) out of a mere 2 million NE tweeters,  anyway back to 8 years ago, well what happened next was that I somehow ended up being part of the most amazing creative and digital community in Newcastle and after a few years of livestream and one year in the livecast lounge I finally made it to the conference for the whole 2 days in the main hall plus the conference dinner and closing party, sadly I couldn't make the opening party as I was with my gorgeous daughter Looby at the RTS youth media awards but next year I am clearing my diary for the whole shebang, oh and maybe Thinking Digital Manchester in November if I can wangle some time off to be be there.

It's hard to know where to start with highlights, there were literally so many - 

I was blown away by Tara Shears a particle physicist, her enthusiasm for her specialist subject gave me a greater understanding about the Higgs Boson and what it means for us, I'm very excited that the LHC is currently being switched on again and I'm pretty certain that we won't all be swallowed up by a huge black hole... or will we?

Tim Lebrecht spoke to my soul about being in love with your business, being a business romantic, how can we make business more magical, as you know I believe love is at the core of our very beings and the more love we have the more possibilities there are of amazing and magical things happening around us and not just in a romantic way but also in a life way, a business way, every word he spoke resonated with the things I believe and I was delighted to be able to spend some much needed "Thick Time" with some great digital friends, Laura from Sharpe Recruitment, George from Epic Times, and Graham from Canny Insights.  You see the thing for me is that Thinking Digital is about more than just the conference, it's about the community and one of my highlights was finally meeting Herb Kim, we've been friends on Facebook for several years and finally at the closing party we actually met in real life!

Thinking Digital isn't just about innovation, it's also about inspiration and I couldn't have been more creatively inspired, it's made me think about my own business and what can I do better, one of the speakers talked about not doing new stuff, there is no new stuff, we must just learn to do what we do but better and I think that's what I'm attempting to do in my business, I am the worst for going out on a whim when I need to just buckle down, work harder, work better, work smarter!

I'm sure over the next year I'll use lots of what I learned at Thinking Digital, I have notes, I have photographs, I have videos, if you have never heard music live coded then I would urge you to go and check out Sam Aaron, the man is quite honestly a genius although he did say that 10 year olds are brilliant at this stuff, well I'm neither 10 nor fluent in Raspberry Pi so I'll have to just enjoy the work of Sam.

One person I would definitely want to see again is Steve Mould and in fact I've urged my son that we need to go to the festival of the spoken nerd when it comes to Newcastle later this year, Steve was one of the most engaging speakers I think I've ever seen, to talk about data collection and correctly predicting the birth time of your daughter whilst your wife is in labour is quite literally the most brilliant and hilarious presentation I've seen for a long time although I did think "his poor wife" at one point!!

I could go on for pages and pages but I hope I've done enough to whet your appetite to come along to the conference next year or Thinking Digital Manchester which is in the autumn, the tickets for both that and Thinking Digital 2016 are on sale for the bargain price of only £99 and you'll have to believe me when I say that even 1 of those speakers would be worth the admission price alone!


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