So Monki Gras will be upon us in just over a week and once again we find ourselves struggling with supplying enough wifi connections for everyone coming to the two days at the Conway Hall. The existing infrastructure is fairly limited and to be fair, Monki Gras is possibly the only event held there in a year that has a requirement that far outstrips what they can support, so we are looking for creative solutions to the problem.
Hence this blog post. If anyone has any experience in this area, contacts that might be able to help, flashes of brilliance or inspiration, or even an off the wall wacky idea we should consider, please get in touch. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter as @neilcford, or just ping @monkchips and he’ll get me to contact you asap.
Thanks in advance for any and all assistance.
Check out our lovely host Mr. Governor on New Year Resolutions Monki Gras and why we should all drink beer:
Last week we met up with the guys at Signature Brew, a new brewing company made up of two music industry front-liners Sam McGregor and David Riley and experienced brewer Tom Bott.
Their vision is simple: good beer for good music. They want to put an end to the warm, flat larger served in a plastic cup for £10 a pint: too many good gigs have been ruined by crap drinks. By getting together with musicians they’ve managed to create drinks like Mammoth, a spectacular double-IPA, check out their vids and info here.
We can’t wait to see what Signature get up to this year and we’re lucky to have them coming to Monki Gras to give you something nice to taste and some thoughts mull over.
Too often, a coffee shop will present you with some over-frothed, bubble milk and call it a cappuccino, or a barperson will turn Kernel into a drink with 50% head. When Josh, cofounder of Shoreditch Works, made the fatal error of attempting to pour some craft beer into Monki Gras host James’ empty water glass, he went onto explain why things like that piss him off so much:
The way you use products matters. The usage of the products, the affordance, the way you engage with the product matters, and the way that people build products should lead you to use them in particular ways. Craft is the thing, which I think, brings all this together. There’s nothing more disgusting than going into a place that serves beer, ordering a nice beer and then they just tip it up and pour a bunch of foamy crap into your glass. It’s this notion of actually treating things that have been made with love with respect and that’s true whether you’re a builder of a service or a consumer of a service. The way you make coffee matters, the experience you have matters, someone has worked really hard to bring you a great product, so lets try and celebrate that by pouring the beer properly.
This is primarily a developer conference. Come to learn about methods and techniques, things like DevOps, ‘agile development’, and distributed development. Learn from the people who do this best. If you’ve got a keynote from someone at Etsy, for example, everyone wants to know about it – and we do!
“We really want to break down the boundary between the speakers and the audience, everyone at Monki Gras rocks.”
The Monki Gras message is about enabling people top do their jobs better, to have flow, its about how teams can work more effectively, which is course relevant to a wide range of people from all business functions. We’ve had marketing people and a range of different constituencies that are interested but the key for us is a really good audience, really high quality, some grassroots developers and some CEO company founders from substantial Silicon Valley companies.
The talks aren’t as technical as you see in many conferences and the quality of the people is what I think is most impressive. We really want to break down the boundary between the speakers and the audience so we’ve optimised for a peer to peer environment.
For too long the technology industry, particularly enterprise and business technology companies, have made the assumption that the role of technology is to get rid of people so we can automate and remove jobs. What they don’t see is that this isn’t effective for enabling your employees from a business perspective, whether they’re in marketing, sales, customer service, or in IT.
“Technology is a craft rather than some industrial process you can automate”
If we think that the role of IT is to make IT workers redundant I can understand. If you’re not enabling people to be more effective in their jobs, what exactly are we doing? The idea that we’re all here to be data-entry monkeys for the machine doesn’t make any sense. Generally, people that are building technology are people that are interested in problem solving and if you help them understand the problem space and give them better tools and an environment to learn, train and function as a craftsperson they’re going to do better work.
We’re at a stage where people are talking about ‘social’ now. ‘Social’ basically means making your job not shit anymore, so at Monki Gras we want to talk to developer advocacy; one of the things that organisations that get it are doing. Why are they more effective? It’s because of how they’ve enabled their staff, because they have recognised that technology is a craft rather than some industrial process you can automate.
So we have a couple of great new speakers for the event ready to nail the Scaling Craft theme.
Given one of the most popular themes at Monki Gras last year was how to practice distributed development I wanted Genuitec to come – just like RedMonk the company doesn’t have a central location. Everything is done remotely. There is no office.
So I invited Tim Webb – chief architect for Genuitec’s ALM stuff to speak. He lead the SDC and Pulse products from initial inception through to launch, growing in 5 years to an established user base of over a million desktops.
The other confirmation today comes from Greg Avola, cofounder of @untappd – the beer checkin app and official social network of Monktoberfest and Monki Gras. Untappd is 100% bootstrapped – and Greg can give some great insights into how craft beer businesses scale. He has MOAR DATA on the subject than anyone else.
Meanwhile the contingency plan for location is nailed down and the event will be once again be at Conway Hall in Holborn. Stoked!
I guess I better get that eventbrite set up so you can get some tickets and stuff
The Monki Gras returns in late January.The conference series born from a tweet is back, bringing you great speakers, unique talks – of course – the best craft beer London has to offer.
In an ideal world I would host Monki Gras at the new Shoreditch Works building (more on this later) but for contingency purposes I am putting something else in place. That is, the location is still TBD (yeah I know… 2 months etc) but it will be in London, almost certainly leaning East.
It will be a two day conference. January 31st and February 1st, 2013. In other words- just before FOSDEM.
I already have a few great speakers lined up but the roster will grow over the next few weeks. Given the theme of the event is Scaling Craft I am pleased that Phil Gilbert, just appointed IBM General Manager of Design, will be giving a talk about his new job – trying to instil a design culture in a company of 400,000 people, so that it can start creating products people love rather than (sometimes grudgingly) use. Not much on his plate, then.. He’ll bring a unique operational perspective. Gilbert has a solid startup background, and I think he’s going to fit in well with the Monki Gras community. .
I will have plenty of amazing food for delegates again, with a dinner on the first evening. We will of course be doing plenty of beer-tasting, celebrating the best of the new London craft beer scene, and hopefully hearing from some of the makers. How do you scale a craft brewing operation without losing what made you great in the first place? That’s a question all startups face.
How do you scale craft? Agile and devops attempt to do just that. The tools serve the operator rather than the other way around. Craft culture brings a mindset to technology development that is delivering impressive results- see firms like Etsy and Github as exemplars. This is the rich and fruitful territory we’ll address at Monki gras. What cultural hacks scale? What are the limits of craft, or automation?
And what about knitting, and beer, and cheese, and all the other craft stuff? Yeah- we’ll have some of that.