OracleAppsBlog
A day in the life of an Oracle Applications Consultant

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Variety and Spice at the London Geek Dinner

Last week I attended the London Geek Dinner hosted by Robert Scoble and Hugh Macleod. I must be the last one to blog about this as I’m a bit stretched for time right now. Anyhow, it was an awesome evening. Personally, it was the best social event I’ve attended this year (am I sad or what?). I got to meet plenty of interesting people and the food wasn’t too bad either.

Some of the people I got to meet:

  • Jason Korman - Wine Entrepreneur, Orbital Wines Limited. Jason was the first person I shared a beer with and although he’s not a blogger it was still interesting to talk to him about his Wine business (especially since I come from Southern Africa and that’s where they import some of their wines from).
  • Hugh Macleod
  • Kevin Anderson - Reporter/Producer, BBC News - I had the pleasure of chatting with him over my meal. Kevin does some work with the Up all Night crew at the BBC
  • Neville Hobson - produces what is, in my opinion, the best podcast on this planet - the Hobson & Holtz Report (I’m yet to come across someone that can better what these guys are doing)
  • Stuart Bruce - Partner, Bruce Marshall Associates
  • Geoff Jones - Geoff had a really good way of getting noticed, he had a bright green T-shirt. I’ve seen him in many of the pics and can’t find myself in one (OK, there is one of me here). Next time I think I’m going to wear a luminous orange T-shirt.
  • David Topping - Consultant (Business Management, Software Marketing and Software Development)
  • Robert Claeson - Managing Director, Synapse Technologies
  • Neil McIntosh - Assistant Editor, Guardian Unlimited
  • Matt Richardson

You can check out a pic I took of all the business card’s I collected here. Personally I decided I woudn’t be taking any form of dead tree business card to the event. I wanted to see if it would be sufficient to beam my electronic business card to other attendees from my iPAQ 4150. Much to my surprise everyone I met (with the exception of one person) had some sort of device that I could beam my business card to, either a phone, PDA or combo phone/PDA - proof that this was truly a geek dinner. I’ve never seen so many different portable devices and wasn’t aware that there was so much variety in this market space. Obviously, I haven’t been reading engadget enough.

I’ve subsequently met a couple of other people through the flickr network, namely: -

Of course, the coolest guy in the room was the dude with the Tablet PC who merrily blogged away during Scoble’s speech - another good way to get noticed since he seems to have featured in a lot of the pics as well. You can check all the photos I took of the event at my flickr set - I’m topping the flickr group that was created for others to post their photos to as I took about 84 pics. The reason I ended up with so many pics was that not only did I take snaps at the dinner, I also took pics of my journey to and from the dinner using the London Underground and the train. The commute into London from Maidstone took me about an hour so I took the opportunity to listen to Todd Cochran of Geek News Central on my new iRiver H340. On the way home I slept!!

I didn’t get to meet the Scobleizer. However, I did get to ask Robert plenty of questions in a Q&A session after his speech. I asked the following questions and I’ve included references to the points in the audio where I asked them as well as Scobles paraphrased answer:

  • Q1: How many hours a day do you spend blogging and how does that relate to your traditional job? (12.25) - Answer: Blogging is really part of my traditional job as it helps me build relationships with people in a very scalable way which is really what my position as Technical Evangelist at Microsoft requires.
  • Q2: What about fear? Do you fear losing your job as a result of what you’re saying, do you find yourself pushing the boundaries? (28.46) - Answer: If I got fired today I would double my salary. I have to be responsible and do the right thing by basing my opinions on fact.
  • Q3: Do you have the protection of Microsoft in what you say in the instance where you say something and someone wants to bring a lawsuit against you? (30.25) - Answer: Yes and No. Microsoft has deep pockets. We expect that a blogger at Microsoft will at some time be sued.
  • Q4: Do you have to think before you blog, do you have to consult legal teams or PR? (31.56) - Answer: Not on my personal blog. Microsoft’s blogging policy is be smart. I do think a lot about what other people would think in a strategic way. I have a policy of correcting mistakes quickly so that I can maintain credibility.

The part of Robert’s speech I found most interesting was where he referred to Stretching the Corporate Membrane (point 22.26 to 23.40 in the audio) that he has written about in Naked Conversations. Hugh has a related diagram called the Porous Membrane that explains why corporate blogging works quite well.

You can see a variety of posts on the dinner by checking the tags outlined below as well as having a look at the London Geek Dinner Wiki. I’ve signed up for the next event, namely the London Marketing Soiree hosted by Hugh Macleod and Seth Godin. Hopefully, this series of events will become a regular monthly meeting!!