So last night we had the first MXUG-style Girl Geek Dinner. (“MXUG-style” = 15 minute talks on a variety of topics. Kind of like a compressed BarCamp.) It was really fun! We had about 11 or 12 women attend, and while I was stressing that people would be no-shows, that was actually a really good size. Big enough not to be awkward but small enough we could still talk as a single group. There was lots of great discussion.
We had three talks – Duana on distributed version control, using Mercurial as an example, me on “the right level of detail” (see slides below), and Jessica with “what has #AmazonFAIL taught us?”. (AmazonFAIL seems a topic that is due a good retrospective – see Metafilter, Neil Gaiman and Clay Shirky for some perspectives. She also mentioned the recent Amazon Kindle/1984 item, which is kind of sequel to the original AmazonFAIL, at least on a PR front.) And Andrea also did a lightning talk on how cool the Acer Linux netbook is. :)
You can find the code for the two things I mention – they are both on Launchpad. mwfeeds (demo at mwfeeds.modernthings.org) and the embryonic beginnings of what will eventually become something called mwsummary, if I get around to it.
Thanks to Duana my co-organiser, and thanks to everyone who showed up. :) We kicked around some ideas about future events, and it looks like we will have one on Sunday 9th August.
On Tuesday 21st we are going to hold a “MXUG-style” Girl Geek Dinner (GGD) at ThoughtWorks. If you know any girl geeks in Melbourne please pass this invitation on!
- Date: Tuesday, July 21, 2009
- Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm
- Location: ThoughtWorks, Level 15, 303 Collins St
If you’re on Facebook you can RSVP there, otherwise it would be nice if you comment/email to let me know to expect you.
This is the brainchild of Duana & I. We have both been attending MXUG for the last few months and really like the format. MXUG stands for Melbourne ‘X’ User Group, where the ‘X’ stands for anything — usually some technology that you have recently got into and would like to share your enthusiasm for. (Not that X, although I suppose in theory it could be.) The talks are just 15 minutes, so you can’t get too bored by any one topic, and you generally get to feel extremely bleeding edge. It’s good for the terminally curious. And as a speaker you get to enthuse about something shiny, without having to be an expert on it.
But… not very many women attend. The first MXUG event had two. (Of maybe forty.) The second had one. Recent meetings have been a bit better, and I have suggested it to most of the techie women I know at least once.
So my hope with this event is that more women will get to enjoy the fun that is MXUG, and ultimately that more women feel encouraged to attend MXUG the original.
(I also hope that with a smaller group, it might be possible to discuss a bit more the background of some talks. I cringe whenever I hear a speaker ask, “OK, so does everyone know what X is? No wait, put your hand up if you don’t know what X is.” And then proceed to give a brief explanation of it anyway. Tip: Don’t ask the audience to volunteer their ignorance, the vast majority of people are not that brave. And even if people think they know what X is, often they’ll have a different understanding to you the expert, so just give the brief explanation to put everyone on the same footing and suppress the ritual audience quizzing.)
So! That’s it. Our venue and dinner (!) is kindly sponsored by ThoughtWorks. The usual rule of GGD events is that men may attend as the guest of a woman attendee, and I hope that men will keep in mind what I have said above in choosing whether or not to attend.
We also need a couple more speakers! Please come and share the shiny. We will probably also do some lightning talks (organised on the night), so please drop me a line (comment/email – brianna at modernthings dot org) if you are interested in either of those.