Monkigras

Posted on 02/03/2012 by

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Red Monk BrewMonkigras gathered developers in the chairs, on the stage, along the streams of comments for two days and did not struggle to keep the attention of a highly engaged audience. Mixing in free and endless espresso with many varieties of beer were unnecessary in the light of interesting speakers and the vitality of the crew behind the conference—but they certainly made it more fun. The focus was “craft,” linking the impassioned development of high-quality food, beer, and coffee with the world of passionate web-builders. I joined the early-arriving volunteers, and pitched in a bit to help setup signs and name-badges, which gave me the dual advantages of greeting everyone coming into the hall, and being ready-caffeinated before any queues.

The agenda at Monkigras aligned well with many areas Kasabi has been working on, from the rise of APIs to the importance of understanding and using your data. I ended up in and out of most of the talks and some of my highlights follow.

Matt Biddulph explored the world of social networks from visualising relationships to detecting communities within a graph. Amusingly, he showed the trends in musical taste according to development language from his “unscientific” sample of friends. It turns out that Ruby developers listen to acoustic music from singer-songwriters, while JavaScript coders have a taste for indie rock.

I'M A CHIKIN LOL

From Lolcats

Another Matt (this time, Matt Lemay from bit.ly) spoke about the content people create and how they really share it helped to contextualise the need for the kinds of questions you end up answering with your data. How do people actually use services, especially when there are social reasons for taking some actions (kittehs, who want to be chickins)? What happens when a user wants to be seen differently from who they are, or what they do? It was also interesting to see interactions between what users who share one thing also share.

Also interesting, Laura Merling explored the religion of APIs in the world of Telcos. This fit in well with what we’ve been doing at Kasabi, and I liked the idea of APIs being used to enable the smaller and “craft-focused” ideas from developers and startups.

I can’t list all the talks I enjoyed (have a look at the agenda for more), but I’d like to leave you with an important point made at Monkigras. This point wasn’t explicitly part of the agenda, nor was it covered in a keynote, visualised on a graph, or dropped as a flyer into a bag of swag. The point behind the setup was that looking after developers is absolutely essential. This doesn’t mean shoe-horning the word “developer” into an industry event, but to focus on the needs of the artisans of the web. Developers were the speakers, they set the agenda, and the focus on “doing” resonated with those in attendance. I’m sure some of James Governor’s sheer energy steered people toward making and building and not so much toward theory and prognostications.

I look forward to spending more time with this community, and enjoyed learning more about the doers of the web-world. It was a privilege to represent Kasabi’s craft, and look forward to learning more and helping to look after developers properly.

Posted in: Conferences, Events