As I’m sure many of you are aware, London’s Calling finally came around last Friday.
Leading up to the day, I really had no idea what to expect. The organisers had never (as far as I’m aware) organised an event like this before. Brave? Yes. Crazy? Possibly…
The organisers never let on how many tickets had been sold. As someone who spent many hours preparing a talk for the event, this put me slightly on edge. If only twenty people turned up, I would be fighting three other talks for my share of those twenty people.
So, a new event for London, organised by a bunch of newbies, with an unknown number of attendees. What could go wrong?
Lots could, potentially, but nothing did as far as I could tell. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been to an event that ran so smoothly. Don’t get me wrong, the organisers could be seen running around making sure everyone was where they needed to be, occasionally with pain or panic in their eyes, but the crowds were corralled successfully throughout the day.
Speaking of the crowd, the turnout was fantastic. I don’t know the exact numbers but I hear there were between 250 and 300 people attending, and that every single ticket was sold. The crowd was fairly diverse too – I met developers, admins, end users, customers, and people from other technologies such as .Net and Java who were just attending to see what all the fuss was about.
Having received several invitations from recruiters to connect at the event, I was well prepared for some unwanted attention and talk of “fantastic opportunities with top tier clients paying competitive market rates”. I’m not sure if it was my lucky purple trousers or just good fortune, but I didn’t run into a recruiter all day. I did see one hanging out by the water cooler introducing himself to everyone who wanted a drink at one point, but that’s a fairly classic move I guess!
The keynote talks were great, the demo jam ran smoothly and showcased some cool products, and the subject matter talks throughout the day were thoughtfully picked out. Every talk I attended throughout the day was delivered really well.
The only negative thing I have to say about the day is that I couldn’t attend all of the talks I wanted to because they clashed with other talks that I wanted to see. I’m not really sure that “there were too many good talks” is really a valid criticism though, and I suspect it’s more of a testament to the quality of the material on offer. Damn you London’s Calling, and your high quality content!
As the day came to a close and some refreshing alcoholic beverages started loosening peoples’ tongues, it became clear the the day had exceeded everyone’s expectations. Usually at an event like this the organisers are kind of forgotten about, but there was a lot of praise going around about the hard work that the organisers put in, and the quality of the event in general.
So, in summary, you did a fantastic job Simon Goodyear, Francis Pindar, Jodi Wagner, and Kerry Townsend. It sounds like you have your work cut out with talk of helping organise events in various other cities throughout Europe. I suggest you guys have a rest first though, because you all looked pretty shattered by the end of the day!
See you next year!