Friday, 22 March 2013

The First SyncIpswich

Rivalry is a good thing. Well, healthy competition at least. When you look back through history the major times of technological progress have been at times of war and competition. The first and second world wars. The nuclear arms race between the Russians and the Americans during the cold war. The space race. Formula one teams. And the Shadows (Babylon 5 reference - not Cliff Richards lot).

Last night was the very first SyncIpswich. SyncIpswich is the first SyncCity spin off from the hugely successful SyncNorwich. Carl Farmer is doing an incredible job. I first met Carl at Agile Cambridge a few years ago and he’s another Smart421 associate, like me. Coincidentally, I also met tonight’s speaker, Google’s Daniel Wagner-Hall at the same conference in the same year. It’s funny how these apparently small coincidences trigger much bigger things in the future.

The reason I feel Carl is doing such a good job is that there was standing room only at the very first SyncIpswich. Ok, so the room could have been bigger, but 70 people were crammed in! There were only about 60 people at the first SyncNorwich and, ok we didn’t have google, but there were three feeder groups. Whatever way you look at it, it was superbly impressive tonight.

Smart421 have been amazing sponsors and supporters of the whole Sync brand. Much of this has been down to the sterling work that Joseph Spear has done. Tonight we also had Neil Miles, the MD of Smart421. He gave a rousing speech about making Ipswich and Suffolk  the next Silicon Valley. I would of course fully support this, but I’d like to see Norwich and Norfolk have the same transformation, if not at the same time, then first. It’s slowly happening with SyncNorwich and SyncIpswich and while I hope they work together, I also hope they’ll both grow off the back of very healthy competition.

I was born in Norwich and have lived there for most of my life. My dad was born in Mildenhall (Suffolk) and my mum was born to British parents, in Turkey and grew up in London. Of course no one this evening knew any of that detail, so when Carl introduce me prior to my short history presentation, as being from Norwich I got a few (friendly) groans from the crowd. Needless to say the second slide with the biggest Norwich City badge I could find lightened the mood considerably.

Dan Wagner-Hall spoke about testing at Google at a SyncNorwich last autumn. He was a big crowd puller then and a sensational speaker. People said then and said again tonight that he is clearly passionate about about what he does and makes a traditionally boring subject into something very exciting. Dan has refined his presentation into two 30 minute halves. It was even more engaging and I think the format works well. I’m looking forward to having him speak again at the Naked Element Ltd. testing conference in November.

I’m already looking forward to the next SyncIpswich.

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