At a Croydon Creatives meet a while back, Mike piped up and said he had an idea he wanted to share. That idea was Points, an "informal evening of digital discussions", and became real on Thursday with the first event at Brighton Media Centre.
This event was special for me as not only was it the fruition of a friend's labour but it also became my first experience as a speaker! Due to a late drop-out, myself and Ant raced against the clock to prepare a ten-minute talk each so we could plug the gap.
With little time to prepare, I was worried about making sure I pitched the level of my talk right. I didn't want to be too technical and scare people, but I also didn't want to be too high-level and risk not giving people something useful to take away. I settled on the topic of frameworks and decided to give a very brief introduction - Frameworks 101.
In the morning I grabbed a copy of Keynote and hastily prepared some basic slides. It's a testament to how usable Keynote is that I was able to pick it up within about 10 minutes of downloading it - great value for fifteen quid if you ever need to create a presentation.
So that afternoon, with a mixture of excitement and trepidation, we hit the road and were soon in Brighton settling down with a drink and listening to the first speaker of the night, Paul Adam Davis:
Paul Adam Davis
Paul kicked off the night with some helpful WordPress hints - he hates plugins and would rather not use them, so he showed us all a few ways you can avoid them. Paul's a deserved nominee for the .net Young Developer of the Year award so anyone working with WordPress would be wise to listen to him.
Next up was Alex, who gave a talk on finding design inspiration from the outside world. Using examples from nature and human creation, he summed up the concept of the Golden Ratio and then showed its application in design.
Alex's talk was a good reminder that we should be looking outside the box for design inspiration, rather than relying on CSS galleries and the like - something we all get sucked into every now and then.
Little Ol' Me
A quick drinks break gave me time to make a couple of last-minute changes to my slides, and then it was my turn. I was feeling a bit nervous but the friendly atmosphere was encouraging and I was fairly confident that I knew what I was talking about, so with a deep breath I jumped in.
In honesty, I can't really remember much of my actual talk. My mind was racing and it felt like I was talking really fast. For the most part I didn't need to look at my speaker notes (displayed on my phone thanks to the super-handy Keynote Remote app) - I did miss a few points but I think I got across most of what I wanted to say.
My ten-minute slot went very quickly and based on a few comments from people it seems I managed to pitch my talk about right - phew!
To view my video and slides, check the blog post "Talk: Frameworks 101".
After another drinks break and a hilarious raffle (you had to be there), it was time for Ant to close the night with his talk on the importance of local meetups - a very relevant talk given the setting!
Ant didn't bother with slides, opting to have just an introductory image and talk freeform instead. I thought this worked really well as it meant Ant could talk very naturally, rather than having to remember to advance his slides all the time.
The main crux of Ant's talk was that you can often get a lot discussion done face-to-face than over Twitter or via blog posts - hear hear!
The inaugural Points event turned out to be a very enjoyable one. I managed to talk with some new people as well as chew the fat with the sizeable bunch of familiar faces. The attendees seemed to be a healthy mix of people from all sides of the web profession so an excellent networking opportunity to be had as well as just listening to the speakers.
Mike's already talking about putting on more events, so keep an eye out - if you like the web, lively discussions and a friendly vibe, you will love Points.
Posted on Tuesday, 18th October 2011.
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