04-Nov-2011 12:11:29
by Will

Silicon Milkroundabout Impressions


silicon milkroundabout impressions

The Masabi team were out in full force on Sunday to attend the hugely popular Silicon Milkroundabout recruitment event and talk to all manner of developers, testers and other startup job hunters about the great opportunities we have on offer. From a company’s perspective, the event was hugely successful. Finding technically skilled people is an incredible challenge in a job market that is dominated by often overly aggressive recruitment companies, who seem to be the sole gatekeepers to a large development community.

Many startups can scarcely afford outrageous recruiter fees, so it was positively rejuvenating to go down to SMR on Sunday and meet face-to-face with developers who want to work at a startup on their own initiative, and do something amazing as a job. Here are some of our overall impressions of the event and why we’re pushing to have another one as soon as possible.

the venue

The Truman Brewery on Brick Lane was excellent location to hold the event, boasting both great transport links and a sizeable exhibition hall. The first SMR event - held in a bar - was awesome, but slightly suffered from its own popularity as there was barely enough room to move. This time the organisers got it spot on, booking a large space to maximise the amount of people and startups attending, while making sure the event was bustling and thriving without being jam-packed.

the organisation

Top marks to Anais Conijn and the rest of Songkick for their excellent organisation of the whole event. The regular email updates, use of Google Docs to collectively organise time schedules, and the pitch selection process were all fantastically managed and ensured that everyone felt that they were not only in good hands, but also being treated fairly. Bonus points were also scored for making sure recruiters were strictly kept out to prevent candidates being poached - one of the main drivers for the event in the first place.

From the attendees side, it was refreshing to see a conference that was obviously well-run and had good facilities but was not at all formal or stuffy. Everyone there was very friendly and casual, and this quite appropriately meant that job hunters could have a good chin-wag with the companies on the stands without the fear that they were under scrutiny from sharp-suited ‘company representatives’.

the companies

Over 100 tech startups came from all over London to showcase what great places they are to work and to prove that there is an alternative to the daily hum-drum of your average office.

The key advantages of working at startups rather than large companies are their game-changing products and services, innovative business models and the fact that they are really, really cool places to work. These were mirrored in the whacky and wonderful pitches on display and brought to life by the enthusiasm and animation of the teams exhibiting on them.

It would have been an amazing event to get to know some of the other startups, only we were all too busy talking to new recruits! (Incidentally, this is why we've only got a handful of photos, taken just before the action kicked off.)

the hype

The event couldn’t have been such a huge success without the coverage it received from mainstream media outlets such as WIRED, the Evening Standard, the FT and others. Indeed, the community did sterling work in getting to word out to an army of journalists, bloggers and tweeters, which raised the profile of an already buzzing event and demonstrated that the startup community has a powerful collective voice that says – “We want you to work for us!”

The twittersphere in particular proved instrumental for generating hype in the community at large, providing a public platform for anyone to share related thoughts, opinions, articles and blogs. It was also great to talk to people who had read our blog post about startup job hunting and had taken our advice to heart.

random cool stuff

There was loads of really awesome stuff to keep people entertained and emulate the fun, informal working environment that many startups have to offer. Big thanks go to Graze.com for providing a ton of free snack boxes; Shazam for providing complimentary drinks at the bar; Twilio for sponsoring the chill-out area, where there were bean bags, arcade games etc.; StackOverflow for curating the stage and AV for the video pitches (and providing free job listings); and, finally, SkillsMatter for giving out free copies of Open Source Journal. Special mention also goes to whoever brought the friendly dog that was running around all day. I’m also told that one company brought a pet snake.

the people

Above all else, the success of this event depended on awesome people to attend it. It was unprecedented to see so many skilled developers gathered in one place, all eager to look for new opportunities and learn about startup life. For both the companies and the recruits, there was a real value in being able to meet each other face-to-face and test the water before (rather than after) going through the formal hiring process.

The Masabi stand was overwhelmed by talented prospects looking for their next big challenge, and we hope to follow up with as many of these people as possible in the next few days and make some offers! Lastly, we’d like to thank everyone who got stuck into the startup spirit and came down on the day to make the event such a great success.



It was the perfect event to bring the startup community together and create some awesome opportunities for motivated developers and companies alike.

Recruitment is one of the most resource-hungry but necessary activities that startups must engage in to build a strong team and make their visions a reality. Half of building a successful company is finding the right people to work there, and Silicon Milkroundabout will have done a great job if we manage to find even one bright spark (though we're confident we'll get many more). The Masabi team sincerely hopes that the event is made into a regular calendar fixture because there are loads of fast growing companies out there - including us - who are always in need of talented recruits!

Meet us at Silicon Milkroundabout and interested in following up?

  • Get in touch right away by sending a direct mail the Masabist you met - or mail us on jobs@masabi.com - with your CV and cover letter, explaining what you think you can contribute to the team.

We'd love to hear from you!

P.S. Word from the Silicon Milkroundabout site is that the next event should be dropping around May 2012 - so register with them to stay tuned for more info!

Written by Will

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