About this episode

He’s the leader with his finger on the pulse of the global tech community, and now Russ Shaw’s attention is on guiding it through the current crisis. In this Change Makers interview, Russ shares the work Tech London Advocates is doing to combat the economic impact of coronavirus on the sector, as well as stories of bounced cheques at his first job in Phoenix, Arizona, how being late for a lecture led him to meet his future wife, and how he turned an idea for a network of London tech leaders into a powerful global movement.

Russ Shaw

Born in the USA, today Russ Shaw is the man on a mission to turn London into the world-beating home of tech. Launching Tech London Advocates seven years ago to give the tech sector an independent voice, it has since been described by the Evening Standard as “London’s most influential business network”. Now an established titan of tech himself, Russ has taken the Advocates model around the world to help more cities build their tech ecosystems.

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Highlights

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Russ meets HM The Queen at Buckingham Palace

GTA Festival 6

Global Tech Advocates in China, October 2019

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Russ is presented with the London Hero Award by Mayor Sadiq Khan

Lockdown inspiration

WHAT IS A BOOK THAT HAS CHANGED YOUR LIFE?

‘I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings’ by Maya Angelou – an amazing autobiography 

WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING IN LOCKDOWN?

A brilliant Norwegian drama called ’State of Happiness’ or ‘Lykkeland’ in Norwegian. It showcases the discovery of North Sea oil off the Norwegian coast and the impact it had on the town of Stavanger in the late 1960s.

WHAT IS YOUR LOCKDOWN SOUNDTRACK?

I’ve gone retro with some tracks from over the years!

‘You’re So Vain’ by Carly Simon – One of the first songs I recall everyone lip syncing to – and still sounds great nearly 50 years later.

‘Dreams’ by Fleetwood Mac – My favourite song of many gems on Rumours – frankly anything by Stevie Nicks has been on heavy rotation in lockdown.

Boys of Summer’ by Don Henley – I loved his songs with the Eagles but this single for me captures living in Los Angeles in the 1980s.

‘Control’ by Janet Jackson – The album had great tracks like ‘What Have You Done for Me Lately’ and ’Nasty’ but this is a fave.

‘Firework’ by Katy Perry – Whenever I hear this song, it makes me smile – so positive and confident.

Also a couple of bonuses for inspiration while running: ‘Got to Give It Up’ by Marvin Gaye and ‘Genius of Love’ by Tom Tom Club. 

Have a listen to the Change Makers Lockdown Playlist here

IN ONE SENTENCE, DESCRIBE YOUR NEW NORMAL.

Zoom calls, outdoor running, home-cooked meals, social media, evening walks, and hearing planes land at Heathrow in the distance thinking it may be quite a while before I get on one.

WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION AND WHY?

There is not one individual who has inspired me. People who have overcome great adversity or disadvantage in life from all backgrounds are an inspiration – when I think about how hard something might be, I remind myself that others have had more significant challenges to overcome.  

WHAT IS YOUR BEST TIP FOR LIFE ?

Offer to help someone who might need it – you never know when you may want that person to return the favour one day.

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