Hosting Tim O’Reilly’s Geek Dinner

So first rule of hosting anything, dont turn up late. I broke that rule by about 15mins, but I have a good reason or a good way to shift the blame. Tim O'Reilly had talked in White City only a few hours before the Geek Dinner and spent sometime talking to people afterwards. So by the time I had left White City it was already 18:40 and I still had to ride into Central London with the crazy one way systems and find somewhere to park the scooter. Luckly Hanover square is full of parking and it was after 6 so finding a space wasnt so bad.

When I finally arrived at the Hogs Head (venue for the geekdinner) I was kinda of suprised by how people had already turned up. I would say at 20 people were already sitting around drinking and chatting. After a little talk with the bar man and some pre-printed signs up here and there, we were off. I actually believe Tim and Josette walked in and sat down around about this time, which was perfect timing. Before you knew it a few people had hovered around Tim and pinned him into a corner. I dont believe Tim really got a chance to walk around till the Questions and Answers point later.

I was doing my best to keep the room cool (air con was a little tempermental) and collect the one pound for the buffet later. Honestly going around the room was a joy and although my voice was starting to go, I kept going because everyone I met was interesting and a joy to talk to. Everyone was happy and remarked on how great it was that I was doing this geek dinner. I did many times say that I was helping Lee out while he was away, but people kept asking me if I was running the Scoble one too. More on that later.

The venue was quite warm if a little too hot sometimes due to the packed up Air con and at first it seemed a little small for 60 people but people were quite tightly grouped and there was more room by the toilets and staircase. The bar man, was a young guy and was actually really interested in what geek dinner was and why it existed. He did comment that although there were a high percentage of males in room, they didnt seem very geeky, just normal guys out drinking. I wasnt sure what to say to that, but it came across as a compliment not a insult. I had asked everyone to tell me what they felt about the venue and on a whole most people were quite happy with it, remarking it was so central and easy to get to from the tube. But the noise from upstairs was a little too much and made things a little difficult when Tim did the Questions and Answers session. I guess it didnt help having another party just up on the landing and the quite busy pub above us. The Buffet was actually not bad at all. It did all disappear by the end of the evening but honestly there was more than enough to go around plus there was something for everyone. I feel it was well worth the 1 pound per head cover charge, and I didnt find anyone who disagreed.

Tim's Question and Answer session came a little late in the evening and was difficult to hear with the noise I mentioned earlier. I dont believe anyone got it recorded correctly, the recording Nokia which I was holding for Improbulus didnt record anything and a guy with the video camera was not close enough to get the audio clearly. (Kosso where were you?) Which I'm sure Tim will be happy with because he revealled a new service from O'Reilly which there still working on. The question which sparked the disclosure was "what web 2.0 services does O'reilly have?"
Tim did talk about the good stuff they were doing with O'reilly Safari but then talked about this other project, which I cant remember right now.

47 (not including me) people attended this geek dinner. This is a exact figure because I collected the money from everyone.

I'm not the biggest fan of name dropping, but I have to say thanks and hi to everyone and here's some of the people I remember who were there and I talked to quite a bit or not enough. Suw Charman and Kevin Anderson (geez you guys are cute together, good one Kevin), Alan Wood, Improbulus, Dave from NTK, Richard Sanbrook, Euan, Lianite, Ryan Carson, Jeremy from HP and of course some work mates Sherwin, Henrik and Dharmesh.

Big thanks to everyone who helped and turned up…

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.