Mark Kirby - mobile, cloud, voice and IoT

£5 app meetup Xmas Special review

What is £5 app?

£5 app are meetings for Web Developers which take place in Brighton roughly once every 1 - 2 months.

At each meeting people pitch their ideas for web applications, and someone who has built or is attempting to build a web app speaks about their experiences. Sometimes speakers talk about other related issues too, so you can be sure a varied programme over the course of a few months.

£5 refers to the amount of money these applications are supposed to cost - basically your time and nothing more. It should probably be called 200 hour app, or free app, but that doesn’t sound as good.

They are organised by Ian Ozsvald and John Montgomery.

Where was it held?

Tonights event was held in at The Quadrant Pub near Churchill Square. It was smaller than the normal gorgeous venue - The Regency Town House, it did however mean we were already in a pub, and therefore resulted in much more drinking taking place than normal. It was a bit cramped, and there was a large piece of art on the wall where the projector was pointed, meaning a cloth had to be stuck up, giving the event a slightly shambolic bohemian feel.

What was the turnout like?

The turnout was very impressive, around 30 people were there including renowned author and public speaker Andy Budd of Clearleft, local man of the moment Mikel Maron of Open Street Map (he’s just launched Open Street Map Brighton - more comprehensive than Google Maps), people from exciting small local companies like Jonathan Markwell of Inuda Innovations, plenty of freelancers and also people from a diverse range of well established organisations such as Madgex, American Express, and Comic Relief.

As you can imagine, there was a lot of expert knowledge in the room!

What were the speakers like?

DaoConsumer

First up tonight we had Annesley Newholm who spoke about his IE plugin DaoConsumer, which informs you of the level of ethics companies have as you shop online. Its a great idea, but with a few flaws. Firstly, its only based on limited data, secondly nearly all the companies are unethical so its a case of picking the best of a bad bunch. That said some knowledge is better than none.

Technically I do have issues with DaoConsumer, its an IE only plugin at present. People that use IE do not tend to be too technically minded, and would perhaps balk at the idea of installing a plugin from a source they are unsure of. I certainly can’t see my Dad using this, nor my ethically minded friends, who all use Firefox anyway cos Microsoft is ‘evil’. Also, early adopters and geeks tend to use Firefox and Macs.

The audience for this product I would predict is ethically minded, slightly techy people who use Internet Explorer. Hmm. Shame he didn’t develop for the Firefox market first, taking it into the mainstream IE market second, if it took off.

Beenz

Second up was local artist Neil Forrester and Martin Redington, founder of Mild Mannered Industries.

Neil is a former TV star (he was on The Real World back in 1994, one of the first ever reality shows), and he co-founded Beenz, a dot com attempting to establish an internet currency based on a reward scheme. He was later joined by Martin and together they formed the backbone of the technical team.

The talk explained how this small company grew to around 300 employees in around a year, opening offices all over the world. They then described how they went from this state to having nothing and closing down after the dot com bubble burst.

The presenters managed to be both interesting, clear in their delivery and amusing, and this felt more like watching a live documentary than a techie talk.

This was a fascinating insight into a world which may just be repeating itself with the explosion of startups and money being poured into sites like Facebook. Lets hope this is not the case, but with a potential reccession on the horizon who knows what is around the corner. Luckily these days people are far more aware of the pitfalls involved with running a company and these days people are more careful, no longer spending the ridiculous amounts of money that the dot commers and their investors in the 90’s spent.

How can I attend the next one?

They have a website - fivepoundapp.com which lists upcoming events.

[Upcoming.org][15] is the place to sign up, just create an account and search for events in Brighton, or follow the links on the £5 app website.

Ians blog gives you some idea of what goes on behind the scenes as well.

[15]: http://upcoming.yahoo.com/

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