I love judging awards.
As a tech journalist and media entrepreneur who likes to have a strong understanding of what’s happening in the tech industry, being able to see ‘under the hood’ of companies’ products and campaigns, and get a feel for how they made them a success is fascinating.
And it’s incredibly rewarding to be able to give a real boost to a handful of great businesses every year. So, I’ve happily judged a small number of awards every year for the past decade.
The UK Business Tech Awards is particularly in my wheelhouse, as at PreSeed Now I profile early-stage B2B and deeptech startups. The rise of a new generation of A.I. this year shows clearly how the right technology at the right time can give a business the edge over its competition, and it’s that spirit that these awards celebrate.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if A.I. makes more than a few appearances in this year’s award entries. But we should always remember that hype about one particular technology overshadows all the work behind the scenes on a wide range of less ‘sexy’, but just as important, products.
The invention of the wheel changed the world, but not every product needs a wheel. And similarly, not every business tech product needs A.I.
When it comes to reading submissions, here’s some advice:
- I’m a big fan of entries that stick to the form provided and don’t try to go wild with their own design for the entry form. You might think it makes you stand out, but it just makes it harder for judges to compare you against the competition.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of answering every single question, including all the information you’re asked for. And if you can’t answer a question in full for some reason, explain why.
- Focus on what makes you stand out. Telling judges that you did your job to a good standard doesn’t win awards. Instead, tell us–without exaggeration–why what you’ve done is unique and up there with the best the UK has to offer
- But with that in mind, don’t fall for impostor syndrome and worry you’re not good enough – sell yourself with pride in your application!
Awards like these highlight the best of the UK tech industry and they can be a serious boost to the winners. It’s a privilege to be able to judge your entries, and I look forward to reading them.