London Web Frameworks Night Nov 2005 - Done and Dusted!

The day seemed to get worse by the hour, first the pub phoned to cancel my booked room, they’d let me have it for free but then someone offered them a 1000 pound for the night so they dropped my reservation, and then we had a double booked room at the venue and had to kick out the occupants. After these hickups two of the speakers arrived and things actually started to fit together.

We had an amazing turnout, the final tally was just over 200 people in a packed lecture theatre. As the organiser I’d have been happy with the performance any of the three speakers gave tonight, but to have all three of them presenting on form was brilliant. I’ve seen both Matt Biddulph and Simon Willison present before and they’re both damn good.

To me MattB seems a very practised speaker, I have no idea how long he rehearses for but his delivery is great, his timing excellent, his slides very well suited to his presentation style and he really knows his field. Looking at Mr Willisons presentation, he’s got a real talent for pulling an audience in with a demo and keeping them going with his enthusiasm and passion. It’s very hard not to get drawn in when he’s speaking and his sessions seem to go quickly.

Matt Trout was my unknown for this event, I’d never met him before tonight, and we were very lucky that he was willing to travel all the way down to speak. Of the three languages I’m more of a perl person so I’m his ideal target market. I enjoyed his talk and he’s kicked off my interest in Catalyst; something a bad experience with Maypole had killed off in the past. I don’t know what more a speaker can really do in a limited time period.

Every meeting I organise teaches me something new. This time the good things were: the signs pointing to the rooms went up bloody quickly and once the talks started people were sent in through the back door in an attempt to not disturb too many people. I had some simple slides ready thanking people, outlining the evening and other small details. These made my life easier. I also used the microphone for once rather than shouting.

Things not to do? We had some Children in Need collection pots floating around the room (Paul Makepeace bought these along) and I handed them out in the last five minute break but they were still moving around when MattB started talking. This caused some unneeded background noise for the audience as coins were being dropped in. The other bad thing was me panicking and speaking at 90 words a second when I started things off (I was not a calm person). I’m not a public speaker and I need to work being calm and more coherient before I pick up the mic! I also lost my speaker introduction text so I ended up just saying “Here’s FOO!”

All in all things went very well, the talks and speakers rocked and thing exploded. I’d have been happy to attend this one as a member of the audience so I’m happy with it. In a day of two I should have enough people posting about the event to let me know if the audience were as well.