How Raspberry Pi taught British tech to be world-class

That's not to say that Britain isn't contributing its fair share of names to the tech space - just look at ARM and Imagination Technologies - but if we want to be truly world-beating, it's up to the new generation to learn the necessary skills to do so. And it's up to Raspberry Pi to help get them there.

"I don't think we necessarily need to think we need to be slamming a Microsoft out the door every ten years," says Upton. "If you look at Israel, it doesn't grow a lot of large hi-tech firms, but it's very, very good at growing small hi-tech firms and selling them to large American high tech firms."

Still, Microsofts or no Microsofts, there remains an unshakable cynicism in the British attitude that runs through the veins of the industry. "There's almost a sense sometimes in the funding markets in the US where people are keen to fund because they don't want to risk being the one who missed out," says Upton.

Eben Upton

Upton's inspiration? The BBC Micro, of course

"People will invest because they don't want to be the one who's turning down the next Instagram. Where in the UK, maybe people don't do this because they don't want to be the guy who put money into the dog. It's always that difference in outlook between Britain and the US."

This is just the beginning

As for Pi, what do Upton and his team have planned for the horizon? "More focus on the user experience," he tells us. So far Pi has excelled in targeting the more tech savvy children as well as those with more computer-literate parents. But The Raspberry Pi crew want to tap into the wider audience.

"If all we do is get all the kids who are kind of tech savvy anyway and that way inclined, yeah it will help a little bit, but the worry is that if you do that all you're doing is robbing physics and maths, you're just moving the partitions around in this pool of usual suspects," says Upton.

By making a more polished product at both the hardware and software level, Upton is convinced that Pi can bag those who are still slipping through the net.

But can the true success of Raspberry Pi ever be measured? "It's fun to measure it by volume," says Upton, "but in the educational mission we're only going to know in five or ten years time when we see whether we've manage to get a significant number of kids interested."

As Raspberry Pi and the new curriculum stand hand in hand, ushering in tomorrow's tech pioneers, we can only be optimistic that this is just the start of something much bigger for British technology.

Hugh Langley

Hugh Langley is the ex-News Editor of TechRadar. He had written for many magazines and websites including Business Insider, The Telegraph, IGN, Gizmodo, Entrepreneur Magazine, WIRED (UK), TrustedReviews, Business Insider Australia, Business Insider India, Business Insider Singapore, Wareable, The Ambient and more.

Hugh is now a correspondent at Business Insider covering Google and Alphabet, and has the unfortunate distinction of accidentally linking the TechRadar homepage to a rival publication.