Google - Second London OpenSource Jam

I recently went to the second Google London OpenSource Jam over at Belgrave House. I’ve been aware of some of the London Google evenings but I’ve never made the effort to go, how ever there were a couple of people I’ve not seen for ages on the attendee list for this one so I decided to sign up.

I don’t know exactly what I was expecting but what I got was more than a little weird, part pre-2000 dotcom and part group hug; it wasn’t really my kind of event. The whole venue seemed to be baiting the bubble busters. A couple of people gave lightning talks about topics close to their hearts, free beer and pizza were made (copiously) available (my kool-aid detector was overwhelmed by the whole place so I stayed away from both) and lots of nattering in small groups followed.

I had a good time but I mostly spent the evening catching up with people I’ve not seen in a while; I don’t speak at these kind of events - people still complain about the first time. I think I’d have been in and out damn quickly if I hadn’t known any of the other attendees, it did feel like quite an established group (even though it was the first time for most of the people present, a lot of us cross paths at other tech nights). I met a couple of people I know from mailing lists but have never met in person, scared a Thoughtworker (I used to spend more time than I should researching potential speakers) and then left a bundle of Lonix and GLLUG people in the pub near closing time. A mostly fun night.

On a tangent, the fact that there were still five or so places available on the evening itself surprised me. I’ve always assumed a Google sponsored evening would fill out within minutes of being announced. Having seen Google booths at a number of conferences over the last couple of years they don’t really seem to get the whole wider community thing; I’m not saying they don’t do anything for us but they always seem like your great uncle trying to be cool with the kids. Giving out glowing badges and asking people if they want to enlist isn’t playing well with others.