In the two days since GeeknRolla ended I’ve had some great feedback from you all about how it went. And I’m afraid to say that I’ve been hard pressed to find much criticism of the event. The feedback, in real life and on Twitter (see #gknr) has been roughly 99% positive (no, really!) even if I do say so myself. So, given that you can comment anonymously on this blog post, feel free to re-balance the views, if you really do have any feedback on how we can improve next year. And I’m still collating all the Tweets and blog posts for a more comprehensive wrap-up. (Picture: (CC) Benjamin Ellis – benjaminellis.org).
But, in the main I think everybody got something out of the day. Although I was concerned to make sure things would go well, I was, however, not too surprised, since I really didn’t have much to do with it. I simply did what I think all conferences should do: research the industry, take soundings from key people, invite clever people to speak and then select the most appropriate presentations. I was merely the ringmaster. Our speakers and panelists did all the heavy lifting, and for that I am hugely grateful. OK, I might have had something to do with the event in that I am a fairly rigid time-keeper, I like to keep things moving and, frankly, I like everyone to have fun. After-all, why shouldn’t conferences be fun? They are full of smart, witty people. But I also had a little fun myself- adding a musical flavour to the event – and generally getting people to network furiously, creating a mini-Silicon Valley style event in the heart of London.
Did it help that we priced it extremely competitively (£75 for ‘early bird’, £95 full price)? I think it did. Suddenly my friends from a startup in Krakow could afford to come and network with their London compatriots. I loved that.
The original idea behind Geek ‘n Rolla was for (deep breath) tech startups to talk to other startups about the experience of being a startup. What had they learned? What would they do differently? How did they survive? How did they hire people? All of these issues are too often assumed, and for some reason startups are all expected to learn these things themselves or by some mystical osmosis. I wanted to puncture that assumption and by finding speakers who were the bluntest, frankest people I know – some of whom, like William Reeve, I had to coax out of a five year conference avoidance, or like Jof Arnold who has never presented his findings about being a mobile startup before. And, well, it looked like it worked.
So for now, I want to thank all our speakers and panelists, sponsors (the very supportive Viadeo, Bootlaw, UKTI, NESTA, School for Startups, Park Lane Champagne), TechFluffTV for their video, Rassami, Petra and Bash (my awesome team) and you the delegates for making the day and the night a real Geek ‘n Rolla experience.
I leave you with me making a fool of myself at the After-party. But I just love rocking out…