It’s no secret that the global tech sector is advancing at an astonishingly rapid pace – not least in relation to the now integral role of digital transformation in spearheading growth and success. But no matter the size or scope or your organisation – or how sophisticated your innovation strategy is – the only way to drive significant change is to leverage the power of people.

So, to champion some of the industry’ finest talent, and gain some insight into the minds of individuals from across the tech space, we’re inviting friends and partners of the business to take part in our quickfire Q&A.

Up next, it’s Mike Dimelow, chief commercial officer at Bloc Ventures…

Tell us about your role at Bloc Ventures and the part you play in the tech sector

My role as chief commercial officer is centred on growth. And that’s two-fold — in one sense, it means accelerating the companies we’ve invested in, and in another, it’s about attracting investors for Bloc Ventures in order to back our own activity.

What innovation was the turning point for your organisation, to get it to where you are now?

Recognising that investment in startups really is a full-contact sport. Most investors think they can provide funds and take a backseat, but that’s not the case for every venture.

Companies, partners, and investors engaged in commercialising a product must be prepared to actively contribute — from validating and selling products, to exploring new markets and partnerships to facilitate progress.

And where’s next for your business?

To sell more products and ABC. Any startup founder or tech CEO has two jobs — to sell shares in their own company and raise funds for further growth, and sell products to customers. Across both of these areas, we’ll be working on our roadmap to ensure our future strategy evolves in line with the demands of stakeholders and customers alike.

The biggest misconception faced by the tech sector is…

That success happens overnight. Really, it’s a 10-year thing.

What do you think will be the biggest tech trend over the next 12 months?

We’ve been talking about AI and computer science for decades. Now, all the stars are aligning — we can compute more things, software is more sophisticated, and AI is becoming a real possibility. It touches every aspect of our lives, and has a profound impact.

But humans need to get savvier in tandem. Only around 20% of companies, I’d estimate, are developing truly meaningful, value-add technology. Much of the rest is misleading claims masked as ‘innovation’. So, I think there’s also an ‘AI winter’ to come, where the industry will need to reconcile — following which, that 20% will make even bigger waves.

What top tip would you give to an individual trying to excel in their tech career?

JFDI. There’s a misconception — one that extends beyond the tech space — that you can’t upskill yourself, or that you don’t need to, because the tech is all out there already. Yes, it’s advancing, but you need to develop an understanding to use and enhance it.

The next purchase on my personal tech wish list is…?

CDs — I’ve just (re)purchased a CD player. Vinyl is a brilliant format that has changed characteristically over time, but we never really got the same resurgence with CDs. I wanted to hear them again, and enjoy the process of putting something physical on a machine — that seems to be something emerging generations are interested in, too. It’s not about replacing new technology with the old stuff, but there’s nothing like unwrapping something physical.

I recently went back through my old CDs and found a Kasabian album, with a poster enclosed in the case. It was weird to see, because it’s all Spotify and screensavers these days. How times have changed!

And what is your earliest memory of tech in your life?

Building a radio using a radiator (yes, one of those!) as the antenna and a potato for a battery. 

What is one longstanding piece if tech you are shocked is still used today?

2G — over 2.4 million devices still rely on 2G or 3G, according to Ofcom. It’s set to retire completely over the next decade, but I can’t believe we’re still seeing such high figures of usage in 2024.

If you are without the internet for an hour, what would be the first activity you resort to, to pass the time?

Sleeping in my hammock. Or, if I wasn't getting shut-eye, I’d have a book in my hand.