Impressions from the FOWA conference

In the beginning of October, we sent our Twingly team colleague Kristoffer to London to attend the Future of Web Apps conference, a 3 day event aimed at Web Developers and Entrepreneurs. Today he tells us what he thinks of the conference and if he would travel there again.

Hi Kristoffer. What are you working with at Twingly?
I’m the Interface Developer of Twingly, which means that I’m mostly building the stuff that our users interact with in their browsers.

In the beginning of October you travelled to London to attend the Future of Web Apps (FOWA) conference. Was this more of a Twingly “business trip” or a private trip that you would have made in any case?
It was a business trip on Twingly’s behalf. I probably wouldn’t have visited FOWA otherwise. I’m glad I decided to go since the conference was even better than I was hoping for.

Was it your first time at FOWA?
Yes. I was hoping for a nice conference with interesting talks, and I got that. Then I was positively surprised that there were a lot of spontaneous discussions going on all over the place.

What kind of hopes did you have, which speakers or sessions were you looking forward to the most?
I was really looking forward to listen to Scott Cachon from Github and Chris Coyier from Wufoo. Sadly I missed the first part of Chris’ talk, since it attended a very interesting discussion that started after Scotts’ talk. Scott was talking about the office culture at Github and he went through a lot of good practices regarding CSS.

Did you expect to learn anything new from the talks or was it more the general atmosphere and seeing those guys live on stage that you were looking forward to?
Well, I was for sure expecting to learn something from the first day, which was an “iOS Bootcamp” where we went through the basics of programming for iOS devices. For the the two days of talks on FOWA, I was hoping to learn things, mainly from the “non tech” talks. I know it might sound a little bit strange since I’m a developer, but as a developer you come across different resources regarding programming all day long in your regular work. Listening to talks about marketing in many ways offered more new knowledge.

Was there a speaker that managed to really surprise you? Somebody who said something that you even now, a month later, still remember?
I’d say that both, Scott and Chris who I mentioned above managed to make very strong impressions. Chris gave a very inspiring talk about CSS; I didn’t expect that level of energy on a subject like that. And it was very interesting hearing Scott talk about the culture on GitHub. A lot of the people in the audience, myself included, were surprised hearing that they had that level of “anarchy”. On the other hand, it did make sense when he explained it a little bit further. If you simplify it a lot it would almost boil down to “Make sure your employees are happy and good things will happen”

Did you collect and hand out a lot of business cards?
It was a lot socializing and interesting discussions in the breaks, but I didn’t exchange that many business cards. It might partially be explained by a somewhat tight schedule and that a lot of people left the conference quite fast at the end of the day.

The food of a conference can be a critical success factor. How was it?
After the workshop day I was a bit worried. For lunch there were only a few sandwiches – tasty ones, but I wouldn’t have settled for something like that on a regular day. However, I was not prepared for the amount of food we got on the two days of the conference. It was excellent. Everyone I spoke to during the lunch (which was a good time to chat around) was incredibly satisfied with the food. Usually it seems to be a weak spot on conferences, but the people at FOWA really managed to satisfy everyone. But I have to figure out if the Brits are that crazy about desserts as the meals on FOWA made me suspect…The desserts basically had the same size as the serving of the regular food… : )

If you would have to choose 4 international conferences you can visit during a year, would you choose FOWA again?
I would visit FOWA again in a heartbeat. It was that good!

A handy list of major tech and social media events in Europe

Flickr/LeWEB10, CC licence BY 2.0

The Twingly team enjoys attending tech events and conferences across Europe. Meeting hundreds of great people working with or being interested in the fields of social media, startups and digital culture is the best way to get inspiration, to learn, to collect feedback and to simply have lots of fun.

For our own purpose as well as for you we compiled a list of major startup, tech and social media conferences/events that we either usually travel to, feel that we should attend (but haven’t) or where we know other’s who are enthusiastic about it.

That means this list is probably far from complete (and there might be a slight emphasis on the Nordics). In case you want to recommend an annual major event with focus on the topics mentioned that takes place anywhere in Europe feel free to let us know in the comments.

Please note that some of the events on this list have already taken place for 2011 or won’t happen this year at all. But we figured that this overview could come handy even next year, and those events pausing 2011 might have a huge comeback in 2012.

January
DLD Conference
January, Munich, Germany
Website

February
Lift
Geneva, Switzerland
Website

March
GeeknRolla
London, UK
Website 

Plugg
Brussels, Belgium
Website

Social Media World Forum Europe
London, UK
Website

April
re:publica
Berlin, Germany
Website

SHiFT
Lisbon, Portugal
Website

SIME
Vienna, Austria
Website

The Next Web
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Website

May
GeekGirlMeetup
Stockholm, Sweden
Website (only in Swedish)

Next Conference
Berlin, Germany
Website

SIME
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Website

June
reboot
Copenhagen, Denmark
Website

SIME
Barcelona, Spain
Website

July
TEDGlobal
Edinburgh, Scotland
Website

August
Media Evolution – The Conference
Malmö, Sweden
Website

Sweden Social Web Camp
Tjärö, Sweden
Website (only in Swedish)

September
Arctic15
Helsinki, Finland
Website

PICNIC
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Website

The European Pirate Summit
Cologne, Germany
Website

October
Future of Web Apps Conference
London, UK
Website

SIME
Helsinki, Finland
Website

November
NOAH
London, UK
Website

SIME
Stockholm, Sweden
Website

The TechCrunch Europas
London, UK
(no official event website, coverage on http://eu.techcrunch.com)

December
LeWeb
Paris, France
Website

You can find additional information about most of those events on Lanyrd.