After a very busy but satisfying week with TechDays 2009 in Antwerp, I was able to join a group of girl geeks for a special trip to London.
In short: a fantastic experience I won’t forget soon. Let me start from the beginning…
Brussels Girl Geek Dinners (www.brusselsgirlgeekdinner.be) is a group originally started by Sarah Blow in London. After attending a few of the girl geek events in the past I wanted to do something more for this group, TechDays seemed like the perfect occasion. The number of women at the technical conference is always very low, any way to get this number up is a plus. Facilitating the BGGD #11 event was a fun and informal way to show our support.
Last Tuesday (pre-conference day of TechDays) we were able to assist Clo (@bnox) in organizing Brussels Girl Geek Dinner #11 at Metropolis Antwerp. Biggest girl geek gathering up till now with around 170 people attending! As Clo put it, Microsoft loves girl geeks!
The event started with a presentation around DigiGirlz and Kodu (a visual game programming language) by my fellow evangelist from California: Lynn Langit. A great presentation about the work she is doing in the US to start a curriculum to get young girls interested in IT. Looking forward to seeing Kodu out of alpha so we can get young girls in the family and friends started with this.
Second presentation of the evening was Sarah’s high-speed overview (done in an interesting way) of mobile development. Although I’m not doing mobile development at the moment I think I should get started with a few try outs soon.
And then not to forget the great networking in a (bit) crowded foyer at the Metropolis. Nokia presented some goodies as well, although I was unable to really hear what they were saying due to all the noise. Goodie bags and goodies were great, I even spotted a few of the male invitees with the pink goodie bags… ;-)
For BGGD #12 we got something very special, I’m still thinking about the nice encounters and events this last Saturday.
It all started with an enigmatic e-mail from Clo to a few of the BGGD regulars: tell us what mobile phone you are using and keep 14th of March free… then we discovered a good week ago that we would be travelling to London by Eurostar with a group of 40 girl geeks!
Eurostar developed a twitter/live mobile platform especially for the event, which of course I think they will be expanding in the future. The platform allowed all of us to update our location and status, attach a Flickr picture and get this directly posted on our Twittter accounts. Check out the application on http://www.girlygeekyshopping.eu/
We got together at Brussels Zuid/Midi station to board the Eurostar, and all of us got a SIM card to allow free data transfer while in London (offered by Mobile Vikings). I was lucky to get a second HTC Diamond borrowed from a colleague working for the Windows Mobile group :) Easy for keeping my own number and phone available during the day.
In between foreseen appointments we were free to form groups and do some shopping, loaded with vouchers and special deals. Didn’t really get to do any of the stores with deals but that was more a personal choice.
Our first appointment in London was a lecture at the Apple store, by Presentation at Apple store by Jess Greenwood and Molly Flatt. A bit fast but nonetheless a very interesting presentation on social media trends.
Second appointment, and for me the most valuable part of the whole experience was a meeting with the London girl geeks and French bloggers at The Berkeley. The venue itself incredible nice and we got served some very tasteful and fashionable looking delights.
I got the chance to meet some of the London girls and we got talking about technology. It was great to exchange ideas and views on the technology but of course also on other personal stuff. I’m hoping to have new chances to continue these conversations in the future.
Exchanging Twitter nicknames or adding the girls in LinkedIn was our way of keeping in touch for the future.
To finish off, looking at this sign on the tube it looks like London knew we were coming :)
Check out loads of pictures on the Flickr GGSL group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/ggsl/
Other girl geeks blogging on BGGD #11 and #12:
And there’s certainly more out there.
The Microsoft TechDays 2009 conference in Belgium was held from 10 till 12 March. A little more than