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What we got up to at FOWA


FOWA London 2009

Last week we attended Future of Web Apps London, a fantastic conference that the great guys at Carsonified put on every year for web developers to meet, chat, and learn about what’s going on in their field.

We attended FOWA London in 2008, but this year we came only days away from missing out on all the fun when all attempts to get discounted passes failed. That is, until we took a look at the Media Temple blog and their “Are you a FOWA geek?” competition… And yes, we entered (after much persuasion from people already happily attending the conference).

After piling our desks with every last piece of tech equipment we had lying around our respective pads, taking a photo, and tweeting it to the world, all we could do was wait. Wait and hope no one judged us. Confidence grew as (other than Geoff and I) only two more entries had been posted – for 5 tickets. Things were looking promising! Saturday morning involved waking up to a DM from the guys at MediaTemple congratulating each of us on winning, followed by jumping up and down yelling WOOP WOOP WOOP. We’d done it!

The best thing? Other than not having to pay a penny, we won VIP Dinner tickets as well as conference passes!

VIP Dinner at Gaucho

MediaTemple hired out the vaulted cellars of the wonderful Gaucho restaurant in Piccadilly for an evening of chatting, wining and dining with the who’s who of the web. We were lucky enough to be sharing a table with Kevin Rose (Digg), Britt Selvitelle (Twitter), CTO of Moo.com, and loads of others! Just incase you don’t believe us, here’s unflattering proof on Flickr.

The dinner was great – so great that we didn’t back home ’till 2am. This made waking up at 6am on the Thursday somewhat challenging.

The Conference

Up at 6am bright and early – that’s dedication to web apps.


Don’t even go there.

The Talks

Unlike last year we managed to get there on time for the start of the conference, which we’re very glad we did as Kevin’s talk on “Taking your web app from 1 to 1 million users” had some useful tidbits of info for startups.

Taking your Site from One to One Million Users by Kevin Rose from Carsonified on Vimeo.

One of my favourite talks was from Francisco Tolmasky of 280 North on their upcoming awesome app for building beautiful interfaces in Cappuccino.

Introducing Atlas: A Visual Development Tool for creating Web Applications by Francisco Tolmasky from Carsonified on Vimeo.

The Guardian talk stood out for me in highlighting just how far ahead they are on the web compared to most other newspapers. The Guardian have been busy building a platform, sharing their information through open APIs to distribute it further and deeper than they could possibly achieve if acting alone.

Brit from Twitter made an awesome entrance by kneeling down to the audience and proclaiming “I LOVE WEB DEVELOPMENT” just before announcing Twitter Labs would be coming soon (which rapidly became RT’d by everyone in the audience).

After Party in Piccadilly

We had a great time on Thursday evening meeting, dancing, and talking with some of the dudes and dudettes we met at FOWA in the day, introducing Kevin Rose to the finer points of Cockney Rhyming Slang, and learning that some of Digg’s employees really don’t know their way around London.

Gary and Kevin Show

Gary V’s talk on NOW being the time to get out there and start your web company was, for me, his most inspiring yet. No one else on the web manages to give me such motivation, such “why not” attitude to give everything I have to the business we run. If you haven’t wateched or listened to a talk by Gary before, I beg of you to watch the one embedded below – you’ll be glad you did.

Shortly after Gary’s talk, the Gary and Kevin show commenced. Involving stage diving, butt flashing, geek dating, a Kanye interruption, and live Twitter commentary, the Gary and Kevin show put Live Diggnation to shame.

All in all, FOWA London this year was awesome. If you couldn’t make it (for whatever reason), tickets are on sale for FOWA Miami right now.

P.S. Sorry the post a little delayed – we kinda came down with “FOWA Flu” shortly after returning which put us out of action for about a week. We’re all better now and working full steam ahead on the next version of GoSquared. See you soon!

Written by
James is CEO and one of the co-founders of GoSquared. He also likes to talk about design.

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