Earlier this month, the Spanish social network for web and app developers, Betabeers , met for the first time in London. I was privileged enough to be able to attend, and I came away with some new conclusions about this kind of networking meeting.
Firstly, I’ll describe in brief the presentations that were given. First up was Pau Gay (@paugay) who spoke about his project Doonish, which he’s developing in free time with other colleagues (you can find their presentation slides here ). It’s a social online trivia game loosely based on the board game Trivial Pursuits. Pau went over what was going well in development, and also what was causing difficulties (mainly in marketing and monetization ideas). He helped to keep the audience engaged by asking logic questions at set intervals (with cookie prizes!) and gave updates on how the team coped with technical challenges. This was a lively presentation that covered the technical elements whilst still being entertaining.
The other person to make a presentation was Bruce Lawson (@brucel) who spoke on responsive web design. Another engaging speaker with a strong following in the audience, Bruce taught us about creating responsive websites for various mobile devices, and went over some of the issues and difficulties involved. His overview of media queries on CSS 3 was lapped up by web designers and programmers alike, yet he made sure to keep the talk entertaining and engrossing. He also covered videos and adaptive image techniques on the web, and made the important point that the people setting the web standards (at w3.org) need feedback and guidance as well as us lesser mortals. A great presentation from Bruce, and anyone interested in responsive web design could do worse than to study his presentation notes ).
All in all, this was a great event with two fascinating presentations, and many thanks are due to @Tizonsoft for organising the event. So, what did I learn from this meet-up (apart from the technical information stuff, fascinating in itself)? Firstly, although I already knew that the audience (made up of other developers) learns a lot from these types of presentation, it’s also the case that the presenters can learn a lot. They get exposure to their project, and also possibly get feedback on issues from their audience. Secondly, that developers and standards bodies, actually need feedback from the rest of us, more than we perhaps realise. Thirdly, the slides and YouTube videos that are made of these presentations, mean that a useful learning resource is being built up for the community at BetaBeers. No wonder that BetaBeers are now giving links to learning networks on their site. Lastly, it strikes me, that prospective employers and investors on the look-out for talent and ideas in the developer and start-up world, would strike gold if they attended this type of event. Maybe though, we should keep that little secret to ourselves?