School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science

Laura James, Makespace Cambridge Limited

6 March 2013

Time: 3:00 - 4:00pm
Venue: BR 3.02 Bancroft Road Teaching Rooms Peter Landin Building London E1 4NS

Avoiding careering: tales from startupland

“Career” can be an challenging concept. It’s often supposed to be a desirable thing, carefully planned and executed, but it can be elusive for many of us, and of course “careering” means out of control. Laura James has worked in a wide variety of fields, organisations and roles, and until very recently had never had a job which she gained through applying in response to a job ad in the usual way. She will describe some of her experiences in businesses large and small, the ways in which one can build a story of one’s professional life without necessarily planning it from the start, and some of the things she’s learnt along the way, which no career advice ever touched upon. Laura’s talk will include thoughts on luck, the importance of coffee, the challenges and advantages of being a jack of all trades, and whether you can be a risk averse entrepreneur.

Biography: Dr Laura James is Co-Director of the Open Knowledge Foundation, and Co-Founder and Director of Makespace, a non-profit community workshop in Cambridge. Previously Laura has worked in high tech R&D in Cambridge and Silicon Valley at AT&T Labs, and in the very different working environment of innovation in research and teaching technologies at the University of Cambridge. Laura was the first employee and VP Engineering at, a startup building consumer electronics for home monitoring and control (taking the technical side of the business from a back of the envelope concept to an operational service with a production line in China), and more recently was Head of Knowledge at True Knowledge, the makers of

Laura has a PhD and an MEng in Engineering from the University of Cambridge. She is an alumnus of the Royal Academy of Engineering Leadership Award scheme and was a NESTA Crucible fellow in 2007. She has been a Chartered Engineer since 2006.

This seminar is hosted by Caroline Wardle