The Fear Rides Out Again
Well, GeekFest seems to have been judged pretty much a success by everyone, although by what benchmark it's hard to say as we didn't set out to achieve anything at all with the event!
That was quite refreshing - having NOT organised an event and therefore not having anything whatsoever to worry about was quite cool, given that I am often involved in organising events with objectives, benchmarks, big budgets and high expectations.
There seems to be a genuine desire for us to do it again. So why not?
Although we set out to have a totally un-organised event, something of a Montessori-style do what you want when you want to gig, there has been a general feeling of 'that was nice, but let's make it more worthwhile next time' from people. So we're adding a little bit more to GeekFest 2.0 - including a fashionably funky 2.0 tag which will excite everyone in the corporate world and make us seem 'edgy' and 'relevant'.
So what are we going to do? Well here are the main changes so far in Version 2.0. The upgrade from V 1.0 is free for registered users, BTW.
First and foremost, what will not change (now or ever if we do more) is that GeekFest is a space for people to meet and chat in a relaxed, no-hassle and resolutely un-organised and un-corporate environment. No PR, no pushing, no advertising or promotion. We have introduced technology showcases (see below) but if they result in anyone being hassled, that's it - they go. Let's see how things go this time around.
Secondly, GeekFest is a not for profit gig. If it raises revenue, then that revenue will be put back into the event or spent in some other silly way that benefits participants. We're not pocketing any cash or planning to. If the stakes get high, of course, you can expect to see this noble princple slowly slipping into 'we never said that' obscurity.
Due to popular demand, we're running later - and because it's Ramadan, GeekFest will run through from 8 till late so people can drop by, swing through or stay all night depending on what they want to get up to.
The Shelter has got a really funky private cinema, ideal for talks to small groups, sharing video and other coolness. So we've split the evening up into 15 minute slots for talks, vids, slideshows or whatever people want to grandstand, showcase, share or discuss. DM @GeekFestDubai or email me or Saadia at The Shelter - both our emails are on the GeekFestDubai Twitter page. Please note that at no stage will anyone be asked to, required to or badgered in any way to attend any of these sessions - you have to bring your own crowd if you want to fill the room.
We're rather hoping that people will want to share new technologies, services, sites, approaches, case studies and that sort of thing. And no, it's not meant to be a TEDalike, it's much smaller scale than that and probably better suited to stuff like 'how to do HDR photography' or 'How we're moving our business online'. Make sense?
We've opened up GeekFest to two technology leaders to showcase product and new stuff. We're talking to two respected players who have agreed to play it our way and not go promo bonkers but have a more passive, user-focused presence that lets GeekFest visitors have access to expertise and knowledge rather than being harried by corporate stuff. We're obviously wary about this element but can see the good of it if we can approach it well. We'd appreciate your feedback on this more than anything!
Thanks to the above, we're able to open up F&B at no cost to visitors, so snacks, drinks and so on throughout the evening will be free of charge. Neat, huh?
Any other ideas, approaches or feedback would be gratefully received. Given that this whole thing has spiralled out of control (I mean, media coverage? WTF?), we might as well see where it takes us - and all get something useful out of it in the process.