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UK tech stars aiming to change the world: Alex Klein and George Burgess

Sam Shead | April 23, 2014
An enthusiastic army of teenagers and young 20-somethings are largely to thank for the tech movement that has swept across the UK over the last few years.

Who are your top 3 role models in tech and why?

Alan Turing: the first computer scientist, and the first to show that, beyond mere "calculation," a computer could be a mind and meaning machine. He also beat the Nazis by cracking their codes. Brits sent him to jail though (for being gay).

Neal Stephenson: programmer and science fiction author, plumbing the intersection of storytelling and calculation, and one of the greatest futurists around. Extrapolate forward, and even if you get it wrong, you'll know yourself and your product far better through the exercise.

My cousin Saul: he started the company that became Lovefilm, Firefly, etc. A co-founder of Kano who helped us think big. A humanist (also used to be in journalism, like me) and storyteller who puts real human experiences and emotion at the centre of tech.

What initiatives would you like to see introduced in the UK to support young tech entrepreneurs?

I'd like to see an emphasis on computer arts as well as sciences in school. I also want the broadband fixed because fibre internet is becoming the lifeblood of thought, invention and entrepreneurship. Then I would like to see support given to teachers in delivering the new UK computing curriculum by endorsing open, accessible tools and focusing on creation, instead of just vocation.

4. George Burgess (21), Founder and CEO of Gojimo

How would you describe what your business does?

Gojimo is a mobile revision platform — we bring study guides and quizzes from the world's top educational publishers to a student's mobile phone and tablet. Students can also interact with one another and their teachers.

What do you consider your greatest achievements to date?

When I was on my gap year I did our first publisher deal with — the world's largest publisher of books. They're also a FTSE 100 company. Having a company like that on board was pretty reassuring. This year we also closed a $1 million+ seed round, which was led by Index Ventures and included the Innocent Drinks founders — that certainly made dropping out of university worthwhile!

What are your targets for the next five years?

We want to become the number one provider of digital educational resources worldwide, so the next few years are all about international expansion. We're also looking into personalised, adaptive learning — essentially tailoring our experience to individual users to make it an even more effective learning experience.

Who are your top three role models in tech and why?

Steve Jobs: reading about Jobs reminds me that it's OK to be a perfectionist and that CEOs really should be product-focused as great products sell.

 

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