Sunday, 28 February 2010
The Inevitable GeekFest Wrapup Post
We didn't know the stupid pies were going to be that size. They were enormous things, the size of a man's outstretched hand and almost impossible to eat decorously, but by golly they were tasty! Apologies to Mr. Goat whose doctor has been nagging him about cholesterol and who was sore tempted by the cornucopia of pieness that presented itself to him as he pitched up for his evening's geekery.
The talks were once again a marvel to behold. The idea of splitting them so that the theatre at The Shelter could empty and give everyone a chance to attend a talk was brilliant (Thanks, @ammouni!) and, IMHO, worked well so we'll be doing that again. Talked to a number of people about the solution to the theatre being too small and the consensus was that it was the very intimacy of the space that contributed (along with the excellence and diversity of the speakers) to the amazing atmosphere and 'vibe' at the GeekTalks. Rabea Ataya, CEO of the highly successful Middle East recruitment website bayt.com, kicked off the evening's talks, followed by 'the Islamic Pampers guy', Mohammed F. Al-Awadhi who had the audience enraptured and marvelling with his talk which, of course, covered everything but Islamic Pampers! Mohammed Ali J, @MaliZOMG and compadre Ritesh not only delivered a great talk, but look like they're going to deliver a smart online student radio station come March 15th too! That's definitely a story to follow.
Last, but no means least, came Susan 'Amazing' Macaulay who shared the background to Amazing Women Rock, talked about some of the more popular stories the site has hosted and neatly crowdsourced a load of help from the assembled geeks!
Along with a number of notable bloggers in attendance, including such luminaries as Jordanian Hussein (Who-Sane), who sadly no longer seems to be blogging, Hellwafashion, The Amazing Susan, Kinan Jarjous and Monsignor Rupert Bumfrey, we also paid host to.. *gasp*... gamers. This worked out rather smartly, thanks in no small part to the shiny little boxes that Buffalo Technology brought along as part of its TechnoCase - gamers don't like wireless because it can be slow and erratic when put under multi-user Quake3 frag that mofo loads. Buffalo wasn't buffaloed, it's fair to say. We'll do GameFest again for sure, as long as @hishamwyne or one of the other gaming types is willing to get it together!
The Microsoft chaps had a good evening, too, I think - and raffled off some stuff at the end. While I'm delighted that a company that huge came along and joined in, I also have some enormous reservations about things like raffles - there's something 'gatekeeper' about them that makes me uncomfortable in the context of an egalitarian free-for-all event like GeekFest. We have been resolute in keeping TechnoCase participation low-key, no-logo, no branding and so on. Is this the way to go? So far the companies that have played along have had solid, good value engagements out of the whole thing and have built some impressive endorsers for themselves. I'd welcome anyone's opinions on this whole area of things.
We didn't really make enough of the ArtStuf side of things this time around and definitely will do more next time - that's at least in part down to participation from digital artists, which we're open to if you happen to know any! However, Faisal Khatib shared a slideshow of his work which was really cool.
What next? GeekFest 4.0 will be on the 22nd April and we'll plan a couple of surprises - nothing too organised, of course! People keep being nice and saying thank you for organising it, but honestly we're not kidding with this 'UNorganised' stuff - we do very little really, just keep saying 'sure' when people come up with smart ideas or ways to participate - by the way, please do feel free to do more of that, folks!
All that apart, I just wanted to say that I'm constantly blown away that something this organic and random keeps generating interest and turns into such wonderful, thought-provoking and entertaining evenings. So thank YOU! :)
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