This morning as I went to add the new SuperMonday Into video (from Your Film) to the davidcoxon.com/blog, I thought that as 2009 draw to an end it might be an ideal time to do a little 2009 in brief post. It was only when i started to run through the years events that i realized that it was going to pretty tough to do it in brief, there was so much happening.
The Supermondays events have turned into a bit of a “must go” event for me this year, not only because i’m now on the advisory committee, but because they have cover a massive range of subjects from databases, to video and sharing to version control, with a regularly changing format and venue, i’d defy anyone in IT / web to say that there hasn’t been an event for them.
Not only have Alex, Ross and the Sailor Girl team managed to fit in a monthly event, they’ve have also managed to put on some great one off events throughout the year: Cloudcamp , Superstartup, Supertelly and SuperChristmas to round the year off.
Supermondays were the latest organisation to get the Your Film treatment with a preview at SuperChristmas, and I think I even Managed to put in an appearance in this one.
There have been some cracking Thursday Fizz events organised by Stuart and Matt this year, including everything from a curry night with codeworks , to a wine tasting at the mining institute and a party in the park. Thursday Fizz has a strong emphasis on networking and having fun and is geared towards the creative side of the industry, can’t wait to see what they come up with next year.
With all the other stuff that they get up to , you sometimes have to remind yourself that the codeworks team, but on a monthly Think and a Drink event and they certainly know how to party with the Pud and the summer Net together…
I’m still not entirely sure what VBUG standards for, but i did manage to get along to a couple of Jonathon and Andrew’s events in 2009, and saw some stuff on Windows 7 and 2008, and I may be in a minority here but i actually quite like what Microsoft have been doing recently . While where talking quick hat tip to Jonathon Noble, who received a coverted Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award this year…well won mate.
North East IT Community
One of the groups that I have learned most from this year has been the IT Community group headed up by David McPherson, this is very much aimed at IT managers and has demonstrated some great tech ranging from security stuff to virtualization with a fair bit in between.
Tuttle North East
Justin Souter started a Tuttle North East group up in 2009 and we had a couple of interesting meetings in the pitcher and piano before deciding to moth ball it with the increasing number of events going on there just didn’t seem to be time for another.
The business School at Newcastle University introduced a quarterly early morning lecture and networking session, I only managed to get along to one of the sessions, but i learnt a lot, with great talks on email marketing from Iain from Mobious and search optimization and Adwords from DFDS seaways’s Tom Fotheringham.
Sunderland Software city have put on a series or series towards the end of the year, i haven’t had the chanse to get over there yet, but they certainly look interesting.
I only discovered North East Telly, after their Super Telly collaboration with Supermondays, but managed to get to get along to their year end talk from Mike Dicks as well. They are based at Northumbria Uni and I found both events really enjoyable, not only did they have a great venue, and fantastic speakers, but they do a fantastic buffet as well…definitely be trying to get along to a few more of their events in 2010.
Ian Simmons from the life centre, has set up a North East Dorkbot group for the serious hardware hackers amongst you, however i’m trying not to get along to this group as i really don’t have the time to get into playing with hardware as well as evrything else…but it does look like fun.
What a fantastic idea combining lunch with a monthly meet up and tech talk, unfortunately i havn’t got to as many of these as i would have liked, but the culture lab team had a pretty busy year with putting in appearances at the maker faire, the wunderbar festival and a host of other events as well as running a number of events of thier own, including one on curating digital that i really enjoyed. And not forgetting their Render exhibition.
On top of the regular groups, that have kept us all busy this year their have been some pretty outstanding events.
This year the Tyneside cinema played host to an event called Clicks or Mortar, which was a kind of symposium on how to make venues and content worked together to engage audiences. The keynote speaker for this event was Peter Greenaway who more than lived up to everyone’s expectations with a fantastic show..and some phenomenal artwork.
After a fantastic performance in 2008, the pressure was on herb and the Codeworks team to pull off another great event in march, and i think they managed to exceed everyone’s expectations with a great mix of content, entertainment and networking. Its quite hard to sum up and i’m a little biased as TDC is right on my door step and i’ve had a hand in some bits of it over the past 2 years at least, so here’s what some of our friends had to say about it.
Still not convinced, well here’s a few of the high lights to remind those of your that made it this year and to show the rest of you what your missing…
NB. Herb tells me there are only 50 tickets left for 2010 with over 3 months to go.
Following hot on the heals on the TDC success, codeworks introduced a 1 day next generation event for graduates this year following a similar format. Its a while since my graduation, but i was lucky enough to be invited along to the speakers dinner the night before a meet a few of the keynote speakers.
2009 was a pretty tough year for many industries not least for the Games industry, so Game Horizon, was more important than ever this year and i was lucky enough to get along and catch Microsoft’s very own Steve Clayton doing his session.
Alistair Mcdonald once again organised another great event by all accounts at the centurion in town this year, but once again family commitments got in the way and i only managed to catch a couple of sessions, although i did help create the logo which was fun.
This year the life centre played host to the first Maker Faire in the north east which judging by the numbers was a great success, with people coming from all over the country to join in, including some friends from the BBC backstages team (Rainycat and Cubicgarden).
This year should have seen both a Tyne and Tees twestival organised by Aoife and the gang, but they ended up combining to 1 large event at Haults Yard, with all sorts of fun activities from virtual grafitti competitions to pop star games.
I managed to get a really last minute place on one of Laura Madison’s ‘Brand Orienteering’ workshops..which has to win a prize for best value for money at just £25. The course was really hands on and made great use of the 2-3 hour session, focusing on what it is makes a brand a sticky brand and how to really make people really connect with you and your brand.
The original inspiration behind the Thinking Digital Conference, was the TED event in the states, so it was no wonder that when TED decided to syndicate some of their content to local independently organised TEDx events Herb Kim was the man to take on TEDxNorth, including the event at the Tyneside Cinema. With talks from the likes of Andy Budd and Chris Stainthorpe
This was the second of these conference organised by business link and the CIM / CIPR. It was a conference i wanted to go to as a refresher course for the chartered institute of marketing diploma i did a long long time ago, so i didn’t know much about the speakers before i got there, there were some great sessions from the guy behind the cadburies gorilla Ad and the guy behind the success of the Eden project, but i thing i learnt most form the talk on the difference between the way that men and women shop…very insightful, and now i know exactly why a trip to the Metrocentre with Lucinda takes so long.
Possibly one of the craziest IT related event i attended this year was Byte Night North East, organised by Derek and Jerri from bond Solutions, Andy ‘the boy’ Walton now at Aspire and Linda from Action for Children, we managed to get around 50 business men and women sleeping out on the street outside of BALTIC to raise money for Action for Children a very worth while charity.
Now in its second year, the event was staged at the stadium of light again, bringing together local councils, charities and community organisations and tech communities to foster good working practices and digital inclusion.
And finally who could forget the “grim up north” incident, I don’t think there was a single person in the North East that didn’t express and opinion one way or the other after ‘that arcticle’ appeared. But having had a bit of a go at the region, Milo did manage to make it ‘Up North’ to see the state of the North East for himself and went on to make a pretty fair video for Tech Crunch.
Ultimately though I think the thing that will 2009 special for me won’t be any individual talk, event or conference that i managed to get to, it will be the new friends and contacts that i have made. I has been a fantastic year for me getting to know people like Ross Cooney, Alex Kavanagh, David Lavery, Rob Colling, Mikey Parker, Stuart Howard, Dan Howarth, Emma Newman, Heather Baxter, Mandy Charlton, The King Brothers, Andrew Waite, Janet Davies, John Catn and Justin Souter to name but a few.
For me personally there were some interesting developments, I was Shortlisted for the Computer Weekly blogger of the year award, and went from writing an occasional column for the journal to getting a regular monthly slot (which i thoroughly enjoy) I was asked to become a member of the Supermonday advisory group and helped organise Bytenight as well as getting a couple of Photographs into the Sunday Times…role on 2010.