I gave a presentation at work yesterday summing up the two conferences I went to recently. There's nothing secret in the presentation so I posted it to slideshare for sharing. Hopfully it will be useful to others.
I have removed almost all of the Future of webapps footage I shot last week. I was nicely asked to consider what kind of impact this could have on future conferences. I thought about it and agreed to take down the footage which was also fitting with the terms and conditions for the conference. If you have copied the footage off Blip.tv, I hope you will also do the right thing and delete the footage too.
I have however, chosen to keep the video of Mike Arrington up under the interest of public debate and fair use. But all the rest are now gone. I hope you can all understand and will enjoy the next Future of Webapps, as much as I enjoyed the last one. Oh and can you believe the Future of Webdesign is already sold out… Crazy!
I was reading the London Girl GeekDinner 10 roundup by Sarah Blow and thought how simlar our nights sounded.
Wednesday night was a mad night. I was late again, because I had to scoot from Kensington to Clerkenwell in rush hour traffic. I forgot my camera batteries and charger, so had to scoot back from Victoria. I also completely forgot about the stickers and pens earlier in the day. So when I finally got to the bear bar, I had to go to Sarahs work place in Holborn and get a load of stickers. I was honestly very suprised how quickly people got from High street Kensington to Farringdon. By the time I got back, it was filling up nicely.
Tara and Chris had arrived and were enjoying chatting to people. After making an announcement on the PA system and sorting out stickers (big thanks to Sarah Forrester and Sheila for going around and collecting money instead of me by myself). Before you know it the food came out and like Sarah Blow we need to make it clear that a dinner isn't really a dinner. More a finger buffet. Quoting from Sarah Blow,
As you have probably gathered to do a proper sit down meal for 80 people at £15.00 per head which is about the minimum you could do it for in London would come to around £1500 plus wine… there aren't all that many companies that would be willing to do that which is why we try to keep the cost down to something sensible to make it accessible to companies and people. That way everyone benefits from it. Apologies to those people who thought that they were going to get a complete full blown meal for nothing! We really can't afford to do that! I'll remember to put up the proviso on the details about the event regarding food etc.
The reason beind the name London Girl Geek Dinners was all because it started off as sit down meals and people paid their own way for dinner, but as the events have got larger it's virtually impossible to do that without mammoth organisation!
I think the problem we had this time around was that we had lots of new people from the Future of webapps. So a lot of people expected a full meal or something for 5 pounds! Like Sarah said, not in London you don't. On the other hand some people commented to Sarah (my wife) that if they knew it was like this aka pub meetup with social geeks. They would have come ages ago. So yes, some about information about geekdinners is certainly needed, along with some eventwax intergreation?
Once we got to actual talk which agreed was later that expected due to myself trying to sort out the food. Tara was great, I did record it (part 1 and 2) using my Sanyo (Kosso recorded it with his own special equipment) but its so dark and I really should find a open/free video editor to clean it up a little. Although, we did have a full Dj rig complete with Microphone, the levels were messed up and it came out a little distorted. What didn't help was the chatter in the background from people who didnt realise they should be quiet while Tara and Chris talked. Sarah once again was very good at telling people to be quiet but in the end as the questions started, we were really fighting to hear Tara. Its a shame because Taras talk was very interesting specially in the light of the whole Mike Arrington outburst earlier in the day. I also wanted to ask Chris and Tara if they would ever move to Europe? But it wasn't to be.
The rest of the night flew by and I was actually very impressed with the new venue. I'm sure Geekdinners will be back there again. Yes the toilets could be better and we could do with some more chairs or sofas but with a capacity of 120+ its not bad at all. They serve all types of beer and even let us stay quite late without pushing us out the door. Its not wheelchair accessible I'm sorry to say Sarah Blow, otherwise I would have recommended it. Once your upstairs its all flat, so with some help you could carry someone upstairs first.
Huge thanks to Chris Messina and Tara Hunt for talking and making the night ever-so enjoyable. I'm also very pleased to have met you guys and I look forward to spending some more time with you guys in San Francisco in early April.
During the Future of Webapps, quite a few people said to me how weird it was being at a conference where you had to sit and listen. They prefered the idea of BarCamp, where you could move around and directly effect a presentation with a question or idea. So in short they were comparing conferences with unconferences. One of the people, Raj Anand who came up to me promised to blog it and suggested they send me a link. Well Raj did – BarCampLondon2 V/S FowaLondon07?
I want to point out some of the things which were missed in the verses comparison.
- The likes of Kevin Rose, Michael Arrington, etc. Are not going to fly half the way around the world for a BarCamp. This is good or bad depending on what your after.
- BarCamp's are run by the community, if things don't quite work out. The community is much more forgiving. While a conference where people are paying, the audience are much less forgiving.
Putting on a conference is very expensive and requires a lot of time and effort. Setting up a BarCamp requires a lot of time but its possible for a gorup or small community to club together to make it happen.
- Networking at BarCamp is easier because of the overnight plus the people who tend to go are very motovated. The same is not true of conferences because you have so many people and the barrier for entry is down to money.
- A lot of people can not afford (timewise) to take a weekend off for BarCamp. While conferences can be justified during the working week. Also very few companies will send there employees to a BarCamp.
- The comparison on links is a little unfair because BarCamps are all over the world, however the Flickr and slideshare comparisons are interesting.
- I know BarCampLondon2 made it into the Technorati Top 10 tags, Flickr's top tags and a few other places. But I'm sure FOWAlondon2007 did too.
- Do not under estimate the amount of work required on your behalf, to go to BarCamp. Participtation is needed at a lot of levels, while at a conference you can pretty much turn and just listen all day.
- BarCamps are not great about following up, so theres no official recordings or all the presentations in one place. This can be arranged but not certain like a conference.
- Believe it or not, the two can co-exist. FOWA and BarCampLondon2 were very close together and with events like Geekdinner. Its possible to make a great week for a city like London. I mean, where else would you have rather have been last week?
Taken from the Backstage Blog,
Yesterday (21st Feb) at the future of webapps there was a Panel Debate about what Europe could learn from American in regards to the startup culture. We captured the whole debate on a small camcorder. Including the part where one of the most prolific voices of the valley, Michael Arrington from TechCrunch.com. Showed his true feelings for the BBC's efforts online. He added…
The BBC should be dissolved
And then started to make a joke about the office, which showed his lack of knowledge of what the BBC really is about. He then wax lyrical about CBBC World and how we were distorting the industry. Daniel Morris a developer at BBC Manchester finally debunks most of Mike Arrington's rant about the BBC by pointing out that everything the BBC does has to pass the Public Value Test.