Life status check-in?

I noticed Sarah, founder of the Girl Geekdinners added a post on her facebook. She asked for others to do it because it was an interesting to understand our friends.

So I did a quick copy and filled it in on my facebook.

I decided to add it here and add some comments.

πŸ’ Marriages: 1
πŸ’” Divorces: 1
🍼Children: 0 (Thankfully)
πŸ‘©πŸΌβ€βš•οΈ Surgeries: 3 (Arm burn, Nose and Brain)
βœ’Tattoos: 0 (No chance I count my burn as one massive one)
πŸ‘‚πŸΌPiercings:0 (No bloody way!)
βœ‹πŸΌQuit a job: Yes
🚘What car you drive : None (But I do have my lovely Silverwing 600cc Scooter)
✈️Flown in a plane: Yes (geez luckily dooplr doesn’t exist anymore because I must have been on about 15+ just this year)
🍹Favourite Drink: Espresso Martini or Cosmopolitan (I’m torn between the two, depending on mood)
❀Fallen in love: Yes
πŸš‘Rode in ambulance: Yes (a few times with friends and myself)
🎀Sang karaoke: Yes (and hated it, each time)
❄Ice skating: Yes (still not great but can do it)
πŸ„Been surfing: No (tempted in the past)
🚒Been on a Cruise: No (plus I get seasick easily so it sounds like a nightmare to me)
🏍Rode on a motorcycle: Yes (everyday, not a big deal for me)
🏍Owned a motorcycle: Yes (about 5 in total)
🐴Rode on a horse: Yes (Believe it or not, and not ever again please)
😲Almost died: Yes (#mybrushwithdeath)
πŸ₯Stayed in a hospital: Yes
πŸ‘Favorite fruit: Granny smiths apples
πŸ“²Last phone call: Restaurant in Manchester (I was checking the availability of a table)
πŸ“±Last text: To my partner
🍡️Coffee or Tea: Tea (I love coffee but I can’t drink it like I use to, Tea on the other hand I can drink all day no problem)
πŸ₯§Favourite pie: None! (Hate them, I’m all about the Cornish Pasties)
πŸ•Pizza: Pizza Express’s Padana, which is Goats Cheese, Caremlised red onions, Spinach and Olive oil
🐈 Cat or Dogs: Cats (although I’m allergic to them, they don’t like to bite & chase me like dogs do)
β˜ƒοΈ Favorite Season: Summer (Sometimes its too hot but I prefer it to the cold and wet rain of Spring and Autumn. Also love walking around with just a short sleeve shirt)
β™₯️: Favorite holiday: Tokyo Japan (although crazy and always under threat of eating something which is going to kill me, I did enjoy it a lot)
πŸŠβ€β™‚οΈ: Skinny dipped: Yes

Does Manchester need a tech night?

Geek Graffiti

My friend Chris has something which has been bugging him. He told me while we had a late breakfast in VividLounge.

There’s something that’s bugged me about events in Manchester’s tech scene for a while. There are a lot of great specialist events, and a lot of networking events, but there appears to be little in between, ones that cross knowledge sharing with networking, other than the now-defunctΒ Social Media Cafe, theΒ Northern Digitals BLAB Talks, and ThoughtWorks’Manchester Geek Nights. However, BLAB Talks are geared more towards the creative side of the industry, rather than the technical side and Manchester Geek Nights speakers appear to be limited to ThoughtWorks.

The specialist events are great, but there’s just so many of them, that it’s impossible to attend even just the ones that are interesting to you, and the networking events tend to be heavily geared around alcohol and drinking, which in itself isΒ problematic and can be exclusionary.

When I lived in Oxford there was a great event I attended frequently,Β Oxford Geek Nights, which basically has a format that fills a gap that I think Manchester now has, so I’d like to start running a monthly series of nights in this format, and hopefully some other people think this is a good idea too.

When I was in London during the first dot com era, I was also going to many specialist events. Most were around startups and money. When that all fell apart the events dried up or became even more specialised. So London geekdinners was started following some loose events in America by the same name. I’ve already mentioned how much of success the girl geekdinners have and are. Funny enough (I believe) the Oxford geek nights were setup following Nat and Simon (founders of Lanyrd) after they enjoyed going to the London Geekdinner and wanted to bring a slice to Oxford. Similarly Geekup and London Tuttle club (forerunner for Social Media Cafe Manchester)

The main reason why I bring up the past again is because there seems to be a cycle. The cycle seems to be flick between general and specific events. Theres certainly a need for both, but sometimes there feels like theres many more of one that the other. Both type of events are tricky to keep going and seem to

Its great Chris feels the need to setup another event, I think it will go down well. I can help with advice on the venue side, but I honestly think a venue won’t be too much of a problem and I certainly would love to talk at one of the events soon.

Make it so, Chris!

I on the other hand won’t be setting up any other events. Between BarCampEdu, 300 Seconds, Quantified Self and a possible next season of Relationships 2.0 (previously called geeks talk sexy). I have little spare time, plus its great when someone else stands up and does something rather than waiting for others.

Although I’ve been thinking about geekdinners 3.0 (maybe to replace relationships 2.0). The tag would be the geeky side of everything… Maybe next year. Rather than people you expect, we would have people from different areas who talk about the geeky side. For example a chef to explain all those different knives, a street artist to explain the world of street art. I tried to do this with geekdinners before but didn’t push beyond the industry much. Maybe now’s the time…?

Make it do, Ian! Maybe I will…

Woman speakers at conferences

I had the pleasure of attending the one day barcamp nicknamed bracamp… It was a interesting take on a barcamp and although I signed up originally because Laura was a sponsor, decided to go ahead whenΒ  Hwayoung said she’ll invite me (you know the rules of girl geekdinners, woman can only invite a guy)

Anyhow I ran a session talking about a number of things including what is a geek… Somewhere in the running order I attended something which got me speaking up about woman speakers.

I know this has been all over the news about what happened in a conferences in the states but I wanted to echo Samantha’s thoughts

Diversity in tech is good. And not just for the sake of it, but because we need. more. techies.

I won’t disagree, but its not just techies we need… We need people who think differently…

There are two reasons why a diverse audience and speakers should be at least somewhere halfway down the agenda of any conference or panel discussion: First, diverse speakers represent a diverse audience, making minorities feel more welcome, thus potentially helping with increasing participation. Second, speakers from a different background might (might!) bring a different point of view to the conference, which helps making talks and panels a lot more interesting.

Yes it was a great idea having the girl geeks in residence at BarCampMediaCity and really worked for that event. I won’t lie, its good to see more people like yourself around and at Tech events its usually very bad.

In my opinion, at least “being aware of the issue” and making some effort is okay. If it turns out that no woman submitted a proposal and all the female speakers you’ve asked decline the offer, well, that’s bad luck.
digging for diversity can also be frustrating. It’s incredibly hard to convince non-white-males-aged between 25 and 35 to attend any β€˜mixed’ event.

Yes I have felt this first hand.

I ran a series of event and for one of the last ones before it ended. One of them was a ignite style event. As you can see all the speakers are male but I tried to balance the speakers with women. I sent emails out and spoke to many woman about taking one of the spots. I must have contacted about 20+ woman for a couple places in the line up. I have the emails if anyone wants to do a freedom of information request on me (go ahead).

I even lost my cool a tiny bit with one (sorry to say and I did apologise moments later) who I know very well and knew could easily do it with a bit of a push, so I gave her a bit of psychological big up and even that didn’t work. I was willing to spend time with the lady in question to make sure she felt comfortable and happy about everything (because it would be the right thing to do), I think I need to find another way to encourage woman to get involved in future.

Any thoughts? I’m all ears… as always!