Paul Smith for Head of Tech North Please:)
Last week I read that Claire Braithwaite had stepped down as Head of Tech North. I has only met Claire a few times and she had been excellent every time I’d met her, plus numerous people I knew who worked with her said she was good, so I was surprised when she stepped down. All the best Claire.
But as they say the Queen is Dead long live the King.
I immediately thought that role should be Paul Smith’s ( ex of Ignite ), I have known Paul for years as a friend and someone who I have huge respect for in tech and in so many ways, as do so many people. I mentioned to Steve O’Hear ( journalist at Techcrunch ) that Paul would be awesome at it and Steve said yes probably, but Paul would not like to play the politics of the Head of Tech North. But that is one of the reasons I think Paul would be so good at it. He is not a politician in the normal name of the game, but he has done more for the early stage tech scene in the North than almost anyone. The guy simply gets shit done and has helped hundreds and hundreds of people and startups directly, as well as influencing so many more. Beneath that blunt exterior is a guy who simply cares massively for people, many times to the detriment of himself. All you have to do is ask many of the people he has helped and they will all tell you the same story, he is blunt but he pushed people to do things greater than they thought was possible.
Let me explain the first real discussion I had with Paul, from that day on I became a great fan of things he did.
We were in Mal Malmasion bar in Newcastle one evening at about midnight. At this time Paul had a small group of people in startups in a room above a pub on Westgate Road in Newcastle and I had been looking at the numbers, the accounts and what they were trying to do. What they were doing seemed so pure and real. So I asked Paul why he was doing it as he personally would make nothing from the venture that he was putting his heart, soul and personal money into. His reply I never forgot it was simple:
Someone should, it is the right thing to do
In a world where many people have many agenda’s that was so refreshing to hear. From then on I said I would help anyway I could and I still do, and hopefully I have done my little bit to progress Paul’s vision of “doing the right thing”.
Many people know Paul’s background, but incase you don’t here is a quick synopsis:
Founder of Ignite100 accelerator helping almost 100 companies
Founder of Campus North – 15000 sq feet coworking space
Advisor to Hassle.com – and Alex the CEO ( who just was recognised as one of the most influential people in tech in the UK )
Publically talks about his depression
Publically rants that more women should be in tech.
This is the article written by Steve O’Hear on Techcrunch mentioning that Paul had stepped down as CEO of Ignite. This a very fair article:
If you wish to know more here are Paul’s personal accounts.
Paul on Linkedin – read some of the references:)
Coincedences happen for a reason, Claire resigned creating the role and Paul resigned from Ignite100 looking to find the next challenge. Timing seems to be perfect:) I know Paul did not know Claire was going to step down. There may be other people who could do the role of Head of Tech North, but there are few qualified enough, with as good a track record, a huge passion for Northern Tech and not doing anything at the minute…..
Hence please let Paul grow Tech North into what it could be………..
Ps. For clarity Paul has not paid me to write this:) But I did tell him I was going to push for him to take the role…so please let us convince him.