Ahead of the Secret Sauce Conference at Campus London on September 23rd, we heard from the organiser, Vincent Dignan, on the story behind the event
A lot can change in two and a half years.
On the morning of March 4th, 2013, I got on the tube and went to my temporary office job.
My job was a simple customer services role: and on this day, I was dealing with customers who were furious that Justin Bieber arrived onstage two hours late the night before. People were ANGRY.
I left the office early that day to catch the tube to Campus London, where I met our new investors and my team to sign the investment contract so that my company could receive £150,000 in funding. I had so little money back then I couldn’t afford not to do those few extra hours in the temp job.
I remember a few weeks before that, going to my temp job with a ten-pound note in my pocket. It was all the money I had in the world at that time. Prior to that I was on welfare and benefits. I still ride my bike past the job centre on Hoxton Street and think: “Damn, not so long ago I was in there.” The investment changed everything. Since then I’ve launched two websites (planetivy.com and screenrobot.com) which scaled to over one million page views a month, got chosen ahead of 1500 other teams to get into the prestigious accelerator Techstars, set up a successful social media agency (Magnific), and have started giving talks around the world revealing the social media and marketing methods I use to help grow companies.
I’ve been touring the talk a lot this year, from Estonia to Leicester to Los Angeles, in preparation for a session that was eventually voted best talk of SXSW V2V in Las Vegas. I’ve received hundreds of tweets which made me realise there was a huge need for people to get the skills needed to grow audiences. I decided I wanted to share my knowledge about this and about building businesses in a bigger way. So I took the plunge and booked two floors of Campus London, for an event which will provide entrepreneurs with answers for how to do everything they need to know about when they are starting a company: how to raise money, get into an accelerator, develop PR for their company, make sales, and everything in between. I’ve been to so many conferences where a millionaire talks about their past successes or vague strategy tips, and thought: “None of this actually helps me.”
There are so many avoidable mistakes entrepreneurs can make, and so many that could be prevented. The idea of the conference is for people to execute using the skills they’ll learn right away, and make profound changes to the businesses they’re running. We’re using an open registration process so people who are attending can pre-screen other attendees and plan to network with people who can really help them.
I believe the internet is the ladder we can use to climb out of poverty. The UK is going through a time where more and more people are starting their own companies, and the Wild West that is the internet means a teenager can sell their company for millions before they’ve left school. Anyone with a great idea and the right people around them can make amazing things happen. I feel like in the (near?) future being entrepreneurial will become more of a necessity rather than a choice, and if I can do anything to help people hustle their way to success, I’ll feel like I have succeeded with Secret Sauce Conference. It’s free to apply for a ticket, and all of our speakers come from the world of startups, small businesses and Tech City. So if you’re starting your entrepreneurial journey or looking to scale your business, and want some practical help, I hope to see you there!
Vincent Dignan is the founder of Magnific.