FOWA and Diggnation
Careful! This post is looking a little old and could be inaccurate in many, many ways
After attending the Future of Web Design (FOWD) conference earlier this year, I have been keeping up to date on some of the other events Carsonified host. Last week it was the turn of Future of Web Apps (FOWA) in London. In the case of FOWA I could not suitably justify the costs of attending the conference as some of the subjects covered would have been little or no benefit to me. This year however Carsonified had expanded the two day conference to include an expo floor, which was accessible for a small cost.
As FOWA was held in one of the units at the ExCel centre in London the two conference stages and the expo floor was all contained within the one space, with curtain dividers to split the different sections. The expo floor was rather spread out appearing too large for the number of stalls present. This gave the impression that it was engineered to accommodate an increasing number of conference sponsors rather than a range of products, businesses and services for developers to learn more about.
With the exception of a few stalls, most were very sales orientated. As such within an hour we had left the expo. This was disappointing as in between the conference sessions there were smaller university sessions being held that were available to all. Given the subjects these did seem like opportunities for companies to advertise their products and at 20 minutes long were unlikely to go into any more depth than any information currently available online. So yet again these were not enough to keep us at the expo, unfortunately this meant a walk back through the numerous Christians that had already welcomed us to the ExCel centre. I wouldn’t say I’m a grumpy person but there is only so much happy a person can take before 10am.
Luckily after the disappointment of the first day at FOWA we arrived late on the second day, intending to arrive in time for the recording of Diggnation Live. By this time most of the expo stalls were closing down, however we did get to the Microsoft surface in action, which was cool. Although I have never watched Diggnation or even use Digg so much anymore I found the recording to be fantastic fun. I must admit I found the rock star reception that Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht received to be odd, although this was possibly fuelled by the massive amounts of free beer Google was giving away. Assumingly this was to help them test out their new email functionality. The recording was rather light on content, as I assume the normal episodes are, however the banter between the hosts and crowd made the event truly unique.
The venue for the wrap party, although a little small for the numbers was very nice and situated just outside the conference centre, making for a large number of party goers to appear en-masse. I must admit that such a party is not my most comfortable environment, and as such I didn’t enjoy myself as much as I wish I could. However the atmosphere was great and the appearance of Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht, although expected given the party was sponsored by Digg and Facebook, was good. This however again caused the rock star effect, especially when they started giving away free stuff.
With such big names appearing at the party, there was a VIP area created for the speakers and their guests. It is unusual for a conference to have a VIP area as such events are promoted as allowing for the mixing of attendees and speakers. The presence of the VIP area and the huge doorman guiding people past the entrance seemed a little out of place, although given peoples approach to the Diggnation team it was possibly the safest option. While there I didn’t meet anyone I recognised, however my fellow conference attendee Scott Mallinson managed to get the chance to quickly speak to both Ryan Carson and Kevin Rose, which was cool.
Although I admit my limited experience of FOWA was a bit hit and miss I’m glad I attended and I think that Diggnation was well worth the price of the expo pass and given the opportunity to see Diggnation recorded live again I would definitely enjoy going. Given the chance to attend the FOWA expo again I think it’s a case of either attending the conference or just staying home.