do-company-nook-at-web-summit-2016Just two months ago, Bristol-based Do Company put together its first Nook production units for tech hub the Engine Shed.

Since then, not only has the startup gone on to sell Nooks across the South West and beyond, but these creative and highly mobile ‘agile-working’ enclosures have caught the imagination of one of Europe’s biggest tech conferences, Web Summit.

“It’s been very cool for me to have the CEO of Renault Nissan Alliance being interviewed by French TV in the Nook”

 

Nook’s founder, David O’Coimin, originally contacted Web Summit to enquire about exhibiting as a startup. More than impressed with the idea of Nook, however, the organisers instead arranged for Do Company to set up a whole ‘village’ of Nooks at the conference in Lisbon last week, in both the press lounge and exhibition area.

Attendees (of which there were over 50,000 from over 160 countries) were then able to book private sessions in the Nooks for work, meetings and press interviews, attracting the likes of worldwide media and the biggest names in tech.

Come the end of Web Summit and David has sold almost of all of the Nooks he brought over to Web Summit, has about 10 times that in leads from impressed Nook users and a stream of proposals put forward for Nook to be present at events in Europe, Taiwan and the US.

Nook fame

Keen to get in on the action, we stole a few minutes out of David’s busy Web Summit schedule to talk start-up advice and the whirlwind of exhibiting at such a huge-scale tech conference.

A cosy retreat: David in a ‘village’ Nook at Web Summit

Kicking off with some of the most exciting people he’s had experience Nook at Web Summit, David tells us: “It’s been very cool for me to have the CEO of Renault-Nissan Alliance being interviewed by French TV in the Nook. That was pretty fantastic.

“I’ve also had a meeting in a Nook with Simon Berger of Millennial 20/20 who runs events in London, New York and Singapore. He was just a really dynamic individual, a really interesting chap – really into facilitating startups and getting people off the ground. His events are a little bit like Web Summit but on a smaller scale, so he was just quite an inspiring gentleman.”

Advice to startups

Yet, getting to Web Summit for any startup is no easy feat and Dave offers some great advice for anyone thinking of following in his footsteps: “Be prepared. Absolutely be prepared, it’s the most important thing.

“It’s not good enough to just turn up and ‘see how it goes’ on the day because your meetings won’t happen in a structured way and you won’t make the best use of your time.

 “Always have your context ready so you can relate to the people who are attending and why your product is relevant to them”

 

“You also need to have your story ready, you need to know why it is that you’re here and be ready to explain that over and over again, and not be afraid to repeat yourself. You’re going to have to repeat yourself a lot at these things.

“It also helps if you understand what the tech angle is on your product, or contextualise it. Let’s say you’re not at a tech conference, always have your context ready so you can relate to the people who are attending and why your product is relevant to them.”

Next for Nooks

As well as having famous faces pop in and out of the Nooks, David has had incredibly positive feedback from attendees and passers-by who couldn’t stop without taking photos of the Nook village.

“I believe strongly in the South West, its innovative spirit and its capability as a hub for global product development of all types”

 

Along with this came a lot of interest from others about how to get hold of the Nooks for their own events. Of course, we too were interested to know if we would see them crop up at any South West tech events in the near future.

nook-by-do-company-at-media-village-web-summit-2016

Positive about the potential for this, David says: “No matter what size the event, I think there’s a great opportunity to bring Nook along. Sometimes the smaller the event the better because it can be there that the more intimate kinds of meetings and conversations take place.

“And the South West is where I’m based, it’s where I love living. I believe strongly in the South West, its innovative spirit and its capability as a hub for global product development of all types – hardware and software.

“It’s a fantastic springboard and platform for a product like Nook, for tech products and manufacturing as well. So, it’s really important that I get behind the South West and that the South West gets behind Do Company and the Nook, as together we can do great things.”

Many thanks to David for chatting to us about his experience at Web Summit. You can find out more about Nook on the Do Company and Nook websites. You can also follow Nook on Twitter: @nook_pod.

Alice Whale