New Europeans

Posted on 16th September 2007

Back last year I was invited to EuroFOO. Having never attended this type of event I was a bit wary of what to expect. As it turned out it was rather an interesting couple of days. For those who never been, the event is a mini conference with the scheduled more or less decided after the welcome session, on two large whiteboards, with the attendees themselves allocating themselves to the available timeslots. To a degree it is a free for all, but there are enough clever people here, including several who were well prepared, who were able to pretty much fill all sessions within a few minutes.

The sessions themselves were a complete mixture of ideas. Some were an opportunity to show off cool apps, some focused on "mashups", others were discussion forums and several others were just whatever seemed like a good idea. Although there were a few sessions that stood out as worth attending for me, there were plenty of others that I could drop in or out of and either enter discussions or just play the part of observer. From a personal point of view I took a lot away with me, but I think if I'm ever invited next time, there are a couple of presentations I could bring with me. I'd certainly feel more confident about suggesting a session next time. When it's your first expereince of something like this, it's a bit daunting to stand up in front of so many talented people.

One aspect of the event I enjoyed was spending breakfast with Allison Randal and Gnat Torkington, and being introduce to Tim O'Reilly. Being quite a quiet person, I'm not the sort to stand out at something like this, but it was nice to realise that I did know quite a few people. On the last evening it was also great to meet Robert Lefkowitz, as it gave me the opportunity to say how much I enjoyed his talks that I heard via IT Conversations, on "The Semasiology of Open Source".

I also got time to chat to Damian Conway, Piers Cawley and Mark Fowler, which was great as I don't often get to see them these days, and when I do they're often busy preparing for talks or only standing still for a short amount of time. The weekend for me was a great success and if you're ever invited, I heartily recommend going along.


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