James Governor's Monkchips

On The Genesis, Present and Future of Monki Gras – technical and social bridgebuilding

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St paul Cathedral from Millenium Bridge

One of our potential sponsors for the coming Monki Gras conference was interested to know more about our thinking – will this be a one off, or an event series worth investing in for the long haul? The answer is the long haul. This is a chance to get in at ground level for what promises to be an influential event series.

Its worth pointing out that the umbrella brand for the community event series is actually RedMonk Brew – but “Monktoberfest” suggested itself so strongly for our inaugural event in Portland, Maine, that we had to run with it. RedMonks and beer in October – what else could we call it?

The reason we are running Monki Gras in London in a few weeks is precisely because of the great success of that inaugural event in Maine- attended as it was by company founders, developers, development managers, open source mavens and web types. Many of the folks in my local London community asked at the time when we’d run Monktoberfest here. Who am I to argue, But what to call it? Monktoberfest, perhaps, or would that only work for an event in October? I was sitting in the Old Fountain off Old Street roundabout discussing the event with Appirio (now a sponsor), when Narinder Singh, or was it Lori Williams, said if its in February why not call it Monki Gras, like Mardi Gras. Fait accompli.

Ever since we founded RedMonk back in 2002 its been a mission to bring different practioner communities together: proprietary with open source, Java with Windows… and today increasingly Web with Enterprise. Generally each domain can teach the other something, and at RedMonk we don’t believe in binary thinking, one thing at the expense of another. Rather we try to build bridges to bring expertise from one area to another, try and create fora for useful conversations between different communities. In 2012 we’re going to see an acceleration of enterprises adopting Web technology, notably in the NoSQL and Big Data spaces – which is a great fit for us given our expertise and associated communities.

So building bridges and community spaces is what RedMonk does, and now we’re trying to foster an event series to do the same thing. Our core thesis for RedMonk Brew is that social is changing how tech is designed, built, managed and paid for. We want to get under the skin of this trend. This is the beginning of the social journey, and the beginning of the Brew series. The social trend won’t slow any time soon, in terms of how its making life better for practioners. And of course its only practitioners that can actually make life better for users.

The final part of the puzzle is beer, which goes so well with Social, and the fact we’re Monks. So the events will have great food and beer-tasting. The presence of beer may make it slightly harder to push through corporate procurement, but we’re optimising for fun, insightful events. Nerds tend to be fussy, so why not give them a new corpus of knowledge to geek out with?

So this is definitely the start of something. You should buy a ticket to the first RedMonk Brew London: the Monkigras here.

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