3 questions with Deanna Oppenheimer, Founder of Cameoworks and Chair at Hargreaves Lansdown

Kye Parkin
Communications Executive | Business West
28th October 2019

UWE, in partnership with Business West, runs an annual lecture series that brings top business leaders to Bristol. We caught up with Deanna Oppenheimer, Founder of Cameoworks and Chair at Hargreaves Lansdown, before she gave her talk ‘A Tale of Tech in Two Cities’.

1. What is it that makes Seattle and Bristol a tech hub?

It’s really interesting because a tech hub is a combination of really tangible things, like access to great industry, access to good talent and access to good universities.

But then there is the all-important intangible aspects.

What makes a great tech-hub is a place people want to come and where they want to live. The culture of the city and what’s attractive about it counts a lot. Seattle has a lot of those characteristics, and so does Bristol.

This is exciting because in the beginning tech hubs were in London, Silicon Valley and New York, but now there’s a proliferation of these secondary cities that I believe are going to be the tech hubs of the future.

2. What is most exciting about the 4th industrial revolution?

We’re kind of in the middle of it right now, that’s why things feel up in the air a lot! When you go through revolutionary change, things feel very out of sync a lot of the time, but that’s because everything is changing.

What excites me about what we’re seeing at the moment are tip of the iceberg technologies, such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality. These have the potential to be really amazing.

These technologies are going to enable us to take things and make them come to life in a way that we never ever imagined.

You might use a robotic arm to move an object, but you can imagine if it starts to get inputs from WiFi, this boosts its capabilities immeasurably.

When we bring together everything in the virtual space to that in the real space, there are unimaginable possibilities for health and financial services for example, and it is going to be a very exciting time.

3. What advice would you give to students looking to forge a career in technology?

I have to say I wish I was a student today, because they are going to make their mark on the world in a way that is not even imaginable now.

But it’s going to take a different thing than when I was a student, because students of today will need to come out of university and be developed on using both the right side of their brain and the left side of their brain.

What do I mean by that? We had the luxury when I was considering my career path as a student that you had ‘right-brain’ marketing or creative careers on the one hand and more ‘left-brain’ careers, such as accounting and engineering, on the other hand.

The exciting thing about the jobs of the future is that all of that is going to come together. Being able to develop yourself with breadth becomes really, really important. When you go out there seeking your first job, you want to get as much experience across the baseline as you can, because that’s what’s going to prepare you for the opportunities of the future.

Build a strong base of breadth, never ever say “it’s not my job”. Never ever say “I don’t think I can do it”, because you can.

The opportunities to make a huge difference in this world are going to be unlimited for you.

This series of free public lectures brings top level business leaders to Bristol. You can discuss these events on Twitter using the hashtag #BristolLectures and view further content from Deanna Oppenheimer’s lecture here. For more information please contact events@uwe.ac.uk.

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