Late on last year, after a very successful Barcamp Blackpool and Magrails, I approached @seanhandley (one of the Magrails organisers) who I’d met at LeedsHack earlier in the year to co-organsise a Hack Day in Manchester. He thought it was an awesome idea and jumped on board.
My cousin runs the Park Inn next to the LateRooms offices and he’d met up with me a few times for lunch when I first moved. He loved the idea of 100 or so geeks turning up for a weekend! Plans were afoot!
Even better the fabulous @jonatkinson of @testled said he would provide us with a site designed by @prettierpixels! It’s more gorgeous than we ever thought it could be, and made the whole event feel that bit more… well professional.
We spoke to the unis, as I wanted to try and get the students in. They conferred that March was a good time for the students as they would be less busy and more likely to attend. As we didn’t have all that much time we started talking to potential sponsors…
Sean and I went to visit the Melbourne Hosting offices (as they’d been great supporters of Magrails, also I wanted to move in). We met with Chris Marsh, who loved the idea! Chris suggested loads of other organisations we could get involved in the day, including the Manchester Science Festival. I could have kicked myself. The MSF get the Manchester Girl Geeks involved in the festival every year. I remember setting up the first one a few years ago. I immediately got in touch with Natalie and arranged a meeting. Chris also suggested a few other bodies to include in the event and I’m really looking forward to seeing him again to see what other directions we can take the hack day.
In the interim Sean and I met with Tom Morris (a developer) and Ian Forrester (whose reputation precedes him) from the BBC. They also loved the idea, however Ian was concerned that an event of 100 or so people would be too small for sponsors to be interested. I argued that increasing the numbers would also mean increasing the number of projects at the end. After 24 hours straight of intense coding and very little or no sleep, sitting through 30 presentations of just 30s each at Leeds Hack, I found, actually quite strenuous. This is where Tom interjected and came up with an awesome idea… Why not do it x-factor stylee, with a much anticipated final! This idea definitely has legs. It means we can invite other people along to watch the presentations of the hacks and turn it into an enormous awards ceremony. In my head I’ve got visions of the Schofe and Holly Willoughby presenting and it being the new saturday night sensation!
More meetings followed, each one more exciting than the last. We met with the Manchester Science Festival organisers who loved the idea of the the event so much that they want it to be part of the festival, and for it to be held at the Museum of Science and Industry! We’re still liasing with Natalie abot dates, costs and the finer details, but we have the conference centre for the entire weekend!
This is just update number one!