I was recently given the opportunity to be curator for the Nottingham Geekup community. As a regular attendee for several years and previous speaker, I thought this was a great opportunity to give something back.
As curator, it was my task to find the speakers for the night and arrange the format. That didn’t sound too hard and certainly not as nerve wracking as actually giving a talk myself. However, once I’d volunteered I quickly realized that my pool of potential speakers was quite small. Never mind, I only really needed to find 2 or 3 speakers so it shouldn’t be that hard. Encouragingly, as I mentioned this need for speakers I quickly had 2 or 3 volunteer, but their talks didn’t fit into any kind of theme.
I was also determined to try and make the night a little different to previous events. One item that had concerned me over previous months was just how forced the coding exercises had been. I was pretty sure I didn’t want to involve any coding this time.
As time passed, I got more focused on finding a suitable format for the night and would need to let people know I needed them for a talk pretty quickly. I also thought it would be a good idea to press home the benefits of attending geekup to my work colleagues. I collected a number of talk ideas and asked my team to vote on the best ideas with the premise that if you voted for a topic you were also committing to attend.
A last minute suggestion of a “programming war” was voted the most popular, although a few people expressed concern around the adversarial language of such an event.
This changed the nature of the event completely. Now it really only made sense that I ran the night completely and that it would be completely code focused!
In order to address some of the competitive nature of the event I rephrased it as a “language showcase” and focused more on learning than competition. I also felt it important to try and do the coding a little differently than before. Whilst we have done many coding exercises at geekup in the past, we hadn’t spent much time trying to analyze or compare results. This became the focus for the night and also helped enforce the showcase part of the title.
Overall, I was pleased with the way the night went. I really enjoyed hosting the night and seeing so many people engage with the problems and share their results afterwards.
If you want to take a look at the slides and try the challenge yourself then take a look here: