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Turing Festival 2016 – Putting Edinburgh Firmly on the Digital Conference Map

30th August 2016 by Geoff Kennedy | News & Events

This month saw the return of the Turing Festival in Edinburgh, with 23 speakers presenting over 2 days.


Day 1 focused on discussing digital products, businesses, and the leaders within them. We saw a varied range of excellent speakers from both the UK and the USA, but if I had to pick, my personal favourites were Edinburgh-based Hilary Roberts (SkyScanner) and John Peebles (Administrate).

Day 2 concentrated on ‘full stack marketing’ and whilst it’s always difficult to get a balance between different disciplines, and strategic vs actionable, I felt that there was a good mix of complementary speakers at a level that everyone could learn something from.

The 2015 event set the bar high, but the team managed to raise it yet again this year, not only providing an amazing line-up of speakers but a great all-round conference. It would be easy to say that the event is the best of its kind in Scotland, but the quality of speakers would also give any international conference a run for its money (although we may lack a little on the weather front).

We asked headline speaker Rand Fishkin what he thought of the event:

“Turing Festival was a terrific event. It was great to see so many folks from such diverse backgrounds attending and sticking through both full days. I loved the venue, the people, the speakers, and, of course, Edinburgh itself.”

During his visit from the US, Rand also managed to spend some time with attendees and local businesses, so we asked about his impressions of the digital and technology scene here in Scotland:

“I had only the briefest of glances, but my impression is that it’s a place where tech is still struggling to gain a larger, more diverse foothold. I’m hopeful that as more momentum builds and as more entrepreneurship takes place, it earns a greater following and more investment/interest from around the UK, Europe, and the world. The passion and dedication of Scottish entrepreneurs certainly seems like a great match for what the market needs.”

Speaking to the event organiser Brian Corcoran, we asked what role the Turing Fest might play in this growth:

“I truly believe that Turing Fest can play a small role in helping the Scottish tech economy become more than the sum of its parts. In the aftermath of this year’s event, it feels like many people who were there are starting to feel that too.”

But I missed it – Now what?

Well obviously you shouldn’t have missed it. However, I’ve gathered up twitter handles and slide decks for each of the speakers and their talks below (if you spot any missing links just let me know).

You may also want to console yourself by trying out one of the key takeaways from Rand’s talk. The perfect steak is now firmly on my to-do list.

Looking forward – Turing Festival 2017

If you haven’t already, I suggest you sign up now to the mailing list at TuringFestival.com, and follow @TuringFest to keep up to date with developments for 2017.

In the meantime, we quizzed Brian on what 2017 has in store for the Festival:

“We had 800 people attend over two days, and some of the best speakers in the world were there at the top of their game. The challenge now is to make it bigger and better in 2017. It won’t be easy – we’ve set a high bar this year – but I’m confident that we can do it. There is such goodwill from speakers, sponsors and delegates alike that I feel we have a lot of supporters”

It’s safe to say that the 2016 event was a success and there’s already lots of talk on what’s yet to come. Congratulations to Brian and the rest of the team on a job well done.

Were you at the event? What were your key takeaways? What would you like to see at Turing Festival 2017?

Leave a comment or tweet me at @GeoffKennedy

– Geoff Kennedy, Account Director, Yard


Day 1 Speakers & Slides – Product/People (2016 event)

Lucie McLean – Head of Product — Children’s, BBC
Come Together: Building Product Culture in Non-Digital Organisations

Pete Herlihy – Lead Product Manager, Government Digital Service
Why No-One Should Ever See Your Best Work

Graham Paterson – Product Manager, Deliveroo
Building a Truly Global Product

Emily Webber – Agile coach & consultant, Tacit
Embracing Change or Bracing for Change: Fostering a Culture of Continuous Improvement in Product Teams

Rand Fishkin – Founder, Moz
What I’d Change, Keep the Same, and Don’t Yet Know

Dermot Turing
Alan Turing: Machinery and Thought (Lunchtime session)

Courtney Seiter – Inclusivity & Culture, Buffer
No Office Required: Building a Strong Culture as a Remote Team

Janna Bastow – Co-founder & CEO, ProdPad
The Power of Product Focus: Lessons From A Year of Faffing About

John Peebles – CEO, Administrate
More than Meets the Eye: A Holistic Approach to SaaS Products

Hilary RobertsSenior Product Manager, Skyscanner
Science and Sensibility: Thoughts on Experimentation and Growth

Patrick Campbell – Co-founder & CEO, Price Intelligently
A Call to Arms: How to Build Actual Customer-Driven Products

Day 2 Speakers & Slides – Full Stack Marketing (2016 event)

Mike McGrail – Marketing Director, Administrate
Got the Marketing Skills to Pay the Bills?

Samantha Noble – Client Strategy Director, Koozai
Paid Media: It’s Not All About the Endgame

Andy Young – Entrepreneur-in-residence, 500 Startups
Data-driven Growth: Analytics & Attribution for Marketers in 2016

Nathalie Nahai – Web psychologist
How to Use the Big 5 Personality Traits to Write Persuasive Copy

Oli Gardner – Co-founder, Unbounce
The Conversion Equation

Wil Reynolds – Founder & Director of Strategy, Seer Interactive
The Human Ranking Algorithm: The People Behind the Queries

Hannah Smith – Head of Creative, Verve Search
Right in the Feels (or, How to Create Content that Gets Shared)

Depesh Mandalia – CMO, toucanBox
The Acquisition Marketing Puzzle Most Fail to Complete

Lexi Mills – Managing Director, Manyminds
The PR Formula for Content Marketing

Rand Fishkin – Founder, Moz
The Worst Advice Marketing Ever Gave Content

Thanks to @ClareDoogan for the photo, mine all turned out a bit rubbish!

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