Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tech Talks at Shoes of Prey Sydney

When I worked at Google they used to organise what are called 'Tech Talks'. A Tech Talk could be given by someone either inside or outside Google on any topic that might be of interest to people working at Google. It might be someone inside the company talking about something interesting that they're working on, or someone outside the company coming in to share their experience on a topic of interest. Most Tech Talks are related to the work Google does, like this one on how open source projects survive, but some veer to other topics like this one on human rights issues in North Korea. Google have recorded some of these Tech Talks and they're available to watch on Google's Tech Talk YouTube channel here.

We ran this concept past the Shoes of Prey team based in Sydney and everyone loved the idea, so we're going to try it out ourselves. And given the challenges we've had finding time for non core business meetings, we thought we'd open some of them up to anyone who'd like to come along.

The plan is to run them fortnightly on Friday nights at our office in Surry Hills. We'll kick off at 5:30pm sharp so it's not too late for our team who want to stay around, but that should also allow time for others to arrive from work. The idea will be to have a 20-30min presentation on an interesting topic, then we'll have some drinks and chat about the ideas in the presentation or the entrepreneurial / online retail world more generally.

We're going to kick things off this Friday with a talk by entrepreneur Jeremy Levitt of Service Seeking. Service Seeking was founded in October 2007 by Jeremy (an ex-lawyer) and Oliver Pennington (an ex-sales analyst). The site allows customers to post a job for any type of service, businesses then bid for those jobs. The site has listed more than $300m projections since it's launch, has had over 200,000 listings and more than 40,000 businesses quote for work. Service Seeking has raised more than $4m in venture capital and employs 9 staff in Sydney.

I've been catching up semi-regularly with Jeremy since before we launched Shoes of Prey and he and Service Seeking's success have been an inspiration to what we've achieved with Shoes of Prey. Jeremy will be sharing the Service Seeking journey with us particularly focusing on some of the innovative things they've done around:

  • Promoting their business through PR
  • Managing a high volume of customer service at scale
  • Combining customer service with a strong sales culture
  • Leveraging internal data for business development and press opportunities
  • Growing the business through key parternships and deals

You're welcome to join us from 5:15pm. Jeremy will take us through Service Seeking from 5:30pm-5:50/6pm and we'll aim to finish up around 7pm. Our address is 12/285A Crown St. Surry Hills. For those who can't make it or who aren't in Sydney I'll aim to summarise Jeremy's presentation for a future blog post.

You can RSVP either in the comments below or by email to Thanks!


  1. what's the date for the first event?

    you should consider using an event management tool to help manage RSVPs.

    e.g. eventbrite or meetup

    Trust me its much easier to do that, or failing that just setup a facebook event! cause you can quickly message people about the next event as well.

    Also have you thought about doing "fashion talks?"



  2. Hi Matt, first event = this Friday 29 April!

    Good idea re: an event management tool. Not sure how many people are going to come along so might explore that in the future depending on numbers.

    I'd say we'll likely have some 'Tech Talks' from fashion people for sure. Might be worth doing some specific Fashion Talks targeted towards customers too, good idea.

  3. Friday nights are hard for me to make, as i have something on a weekly basis.

    Otherwise, I also go to Silicon Beach meetup at Grace Hotel on Fridays.

    Will do my best to come along once I know the other dates!

  4. Your generosity in opening this up to the public is to be respected! Sounds like awesome fun! :)


  5. Hi Michael - I would love to come to this. Have read about Service Seeking and would love the opportunity to chat to Jeremy. Unfortunately I can't make Friday as I will be working, but look forward to the post following!

    Great idea, by the way.


  6. Ummm.... their site has been compromised. I typed in Service seeking in google and it returned "This site may be compromised"

  7. Thanks everyone. Desiree, I just texted Jeremy and they're onto it. I'm sure he'll tell us all about it in 30mins!