The South West is lucky enough to be home to a ton of valuable tech meetup groups that offer an excellent way to collaborate and share skills that can be taken into the workplace, for personal projects or even startup development – particularly for developers and engineers.

But for those directing, managing or setting up businesses from scratch, it can be a lonely feedback-less existence from time to time.

“Threads is somewhere you can pool perspectives and gauge your thinking amongst an impartial peer group”


Threads is a brand new meetup that is tackling this by targeting senior engineers, technical managers, founders and directors to provide the perfect collaborative atmosphere to share and solve operational problems for those at the forefront of growing or leading technology businesses in the South West.


Collaborative problem solving: Threads’ co-founders
Rory Suggett, Andrew Gifford and Peter Cain


Already with over 70 members since its launch in October 2016 and several successful meetups under its belt, we caught up with Rory Suggett – Threads’ co-organiser and Partner at Ashfords – to find out more.

Shared solutions

“Andrew Gifford of Bristol-based recruitment agency techfolk originated the idea,” Rory tells us. “Having identified common problems and concerns amongst the technology managers he supports regionally, he wanted to create a resource where people could share their experiences rather than trying to understand things in isolation.

“Peter Cain was the natural choice for co-founder, bringing on board his considerable real world operational and engineering leadership experience. Peter facilitates most of the Threads discussions and contributes great anecdotes and wisdom.

“[The] roundtable discussions… explore practical and empirical guidance on a range of operational issues”


“As an Engineering Team Manager, Head of Department, or Director of a growing or early stage business which builds technology or creates software, Threads is somewhere you can pool perspectives and gauge your thinking amongst an impartial peer group, benefiting from the collective learning of others.

“The events are relaxed roundtable discussions, exploring practical and empirical guidance on a range of operational issues at the intersection of; technology, process and practice; business and law; and people, staffing and skills.”

Reviewing practice

Although only a few months in, feedback has been positive for Threads. Rory explains: “The discussions give pause for thought and are sufficiently in-depth, with useful takeaway points to implement.

“We’re looking forward to hearing real-world outcomes”


“For some, it’s been helpful to cement their understanding and to take fresh inspiration. For others, it’s highlighted aspects and practices within their operation to review.

“We’re looking forward to hearing real-world outcomes and picking up on some of the earlier topics for subsequent discussion.”

It helps that the group has formed within a strong existing tech community, as Rory tells us: “People are proud of the region and their part in its ongoing growth and seem to relish the region’s high quality of life, coupled with the ability to forge careers at world class established technology providers and in early-stage companies.

“There’s also an impressive ecosystem of meetups, hackathons and conferences at which you can hear from some of the brightest minds on the subject.”

The next Threads meetup, on ‘Growing your business: what to expect when you raise funds’, will be held on Wednesday 1 March at Ashfords. You can join and RSVP via the Threads South West meetup page

You can also stay up-to-date with all tech and digital events in the South West on the TechSPARK calendar.