A grumpy old man’s tuppence on why you shouldn’t ruin Hacks/Hackers London

I’ll be at Hacks/Hackers London tomorrow. I used to be a die-hard regular, and would frantically blog every talk. Those days have gone. Two children under the age of six have severely curtailed my ability to go out at night. And my passion for blogging has diminished a little now that I end up making top quality internet contentTM all day for a living, rather than as a by-product of my design job.

But I noted this post from one of the #HHLdn founders, Joanna Geary, and thought I’d chuck in my tuppence. Joanna says:

“When this group was founded in 2010, there was just a handful of people that came to Hacks/Hackers. It was a good month when we got 30 people turning up to our events in a basement pub venue in Spitalfields. :)

“Now, at 4.5 years old, we’re securing venues for 200-300+ people every month. We’ve registered as a Community Interest Company and have our own board and bank account. We are essentially putting on a half-day conference, with drinks included, every month, for free.”

One of the problems Hacks/Hackers London faces is that demand for the event vastly out-strips supply. And people are understandably frustrated at not getting tickets and missing out.

But it all rather reminds me of how London IA/LDNIA went, and I want to remind the community just how much work putting these kind of things on is.

With the London IA series of events, it was always Solle & Travers & Coombs who did the heavy lifting. I just turned up and took the credit and did the blogging.

But, as the event grew more popular, so the joy of running it got sucked out of it. Like Hacks/Hackers London, we were determined to keep it free. But that often means you end up putting loads of time into running an event, and the only feedback you get about it is people complaining they couldn’t get in or they didn’t like your choice of talks.

So, my plea to the Hacks/Hackers London community is don’t forget to say thank you to the team running it, even if you do sometimes struggle to get tickets.

As Joanna says, the easiest way to ensure you get in is by volunteering to help.

And there’s no “journalism meet-up regulator” stopping you doing your own thing if you are frustrated you can’t get in to #HHLdn.

We started London IA because we wanted a different kind of design/IA/UX event to the ones that were around in London at the time.

Before Xmas Marie and others got a women-only journalism drinks event up and running, and there’s genuinely nothing stopping anybody putting on events in London except for not doing it.

So see you Monday, where I greatly look forward to heckling James Ball.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Joanna, Peter, Sarah and Cassie on the Hacks/Hackers London team are all people I count as being friends. And I am a grumpy old man who got fed up of having people moan at him because they didn’t quite like the events he was helping to put on for free in his own spare time.