With over 200 people taking part, 29 pitches, 15 mentors, 12 brand-new business ideas, 5 judges and just 54 hours – Sync The City is unlike anything else in Norwich!
I’ve been able to cover this event since it started two years ago (fancy a quick peek at 2014 or the 2015 events?) and was delighted to be invited back by the SyncNorwich & UEA team to cover the 2016 iteration of this fantastic event.
Most of my time at the moment tends to be focused on Norfolk wedding and family photography, which normally lends itself to days full of lovely locations and beautifully-dressed venues with lots of in-love, excited, happy & often partying people. Photographing a 54-hour long technical startup “hackathon” which takes place indoors in a conference centre away from natural light is a somewhat different beast; and from my point of view, presents a very different set of challenges. That said, they’re good challenges!
SyncTheCity is always a little unusual when compared to “normal” events photography. Unlike a regular conference, those 54 hours contain everything from initial 1-minute elevator pitches; teams getting their heads-down and creating new products (with all the associated product design/build/test processes crammed into the available time); individual presentations; keynotes; tech demos; product photography; and of course, plenty of candid photography to document the hours as they pass in a whirlwind.
I normally approach commercial and events photography from a similar perspective as my documentary-style wedding photography; looking to capture the event as it unfolds, creating visually interesting and engaging images with the minimum of disruption along the way. As such, rather than blogging about the event or the technical challenges involved, for this post it seemed more sensible to try and describe the experience visually.
With that in mind, grab a drink, sit back and enjoy the ride.. Keep on scrolling… there’s an end there somewhere!
Day 1 (Thursday Evening)
Getting underway once again with welcome drinks & food, the Thursday evening kickstarts the event. With keynote presentations from inspirational & fast-growing local businesses, plenty of 1-minute pitches, rounds of voting and slightly frenzied team-building the event finds its feet. By the end of the first few hours, those 29 initial pitches have been whittled down to 12 focused teams and work gets underway in earnest; kicking thoughts around late into the night and starting the process of turning concept into some form of tangible business or product.
Day 2 (Friday)
The first full day of the event tends to be where a vast amount of progress happens in a hive of activity – with code being written, websites & branding being designed and the all-important presentations being cafted to help explain and sell the teams’ awesome ideas to the judges during Saturday’s showcase presentations. This is when the magic happens – bringing together a diverse range of people from budding entrepreneurs, developers, business managers, marketing experts & graphic designers along with experienced business mentors and technical experts; all housed under one roof and working together for 54 hours!
For more detail on the teams, go check out this post with an update from the SyncTheCity media team!
Day 3 (Saturday)
It’s nearly all over!
With the deadlines for tech demos & final business pitches rapidly approaching, it’s safe to say the day swiftly disappears with teams head-down, working flat-out to finish building prototypes, working up projected business costs & projected revenues, and ensuring someone’s ready to try and explain their awesome idea to the audience (and judges!) to try and win their share of the £4,000 prize fund! Everywhere you look there’s someone running through a presentation; practising their pitch to virtually anyone who’ll listen from startup-incubator-hardened mentors through to other members of the team.
Photographically, the last day is often one of the most varied – including anything from capturing a quick product / pack shot for a team, borrowing a coffee table & sofa in a well-lit corner through to plenty of photos of frantic building / pitch-polishing or demo-testing and of course capturing more traditional team photos along with the final presentations & winners. This year we had a little something extra too… keep scrolling!
There’s a brilliant recap posted during the day by the SyncTheCity Media team – check this out for more details!
Pitches complete, next stop.. Keynotes, Judging & VOTING 🙂
AND THE WINNERS ARE…..!
Wow! Congratulations you’ve reached the end!
Roll on SyncTheCity 2017!