Peterborough STEM Festival – October 1, 2016

The WayoftheWeb is lucky to not only worth with clients across the UK, Europe and around the globe, but also have a team of colleagues similarly distributed. It gives us the benefit of lower costs and the ability to tap into a wider range of skills and experience. Plus it also gives us the chance to travel a fair bit!

When I started the company seven years ago as a solo consultant, I was based in Peterborough. Realising early on that I missed the real world interaction I’d had with colleagues, I suggested to a few friends that we arranged a social gathering in a local pub. And that turned into the successful monthly DPiP meetup.

Having left the area to establish a new headquarters for the company in Kent (more news on that in the near feature), we’re still involved with DPiP, so it was exciting to originally hear plans for the first ever Peterborough STEM Festival. And it’s even more exciting to know that the free, family-friendly event will take place on October 1st, 2016. As a coincidence, it’s also the anniversary of our start as a company!

Peterborough STEM Festival

It’s a packed day of fascinating speakers, interesting workshops and cool demos and exhibitors. All supporting the drive for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths in education, and also Ada Lovelace day (which celebrates the achievements of women in those fields).

It’s great to know something we’ve played a part in will be delivering something so inspiring. And switching pronouns again, I’ll be volunteering at the festival to help out. There’s no doubt some of the children attending will be the type of employees we’ll all be hoping to hire in the future.

Although the event in free, you do need to book tickets in advance to help the organisers manage numbers. And pre-booking for the workshops will open shortly, as there will be limitations to how much space is available.

Proud Sponsors of DPiP May 2014 event

I’m pleased to say that in addition to personally being one of the organisers of local digital gathering ‘Digital People in Peterborough’, TheWayoftheWeb Ltd is also sponsoring the May 2014 event.

DPiP-Event-Banner-May2014

It’s a great way to informally meet up with a diverse range of people who share an interest in digital technology, whether it’s a personal interest, a career or their business.

There’s more details on the DPiP website. And although we’re still a small company, it’s great to be able to start supporting initiatives and getting more involved in our local community.

If you’re in Cambridgeshire, we’d definitely recommend checking it out

Digital People in Peterborough Event: April 10, 2014

After a bit of a break, Digital People in Peterborough is back with a very cool event on Thursday April 10, 2014.

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Digital People in Peterborough – April 10, 2014

We’ve been invited to the Eco Innovation Centre in Peterborough to offer our thoughts on proposed plans for a new Digital Hub in the city!

If that wasn’t enough, we’re also being generously bribed with some food and drink for attendees, in case you need an extra reason to come along.

So it should be a good event, and an important one for the future of digital industries and creatives in Peterborough. And we’re generally a nice and friendly bunch, so you’ll feel welcome whether you’re a blogger, website owner, eCommerce expert, creative, marketer, developer, database admin, designer or inventing your own job title.

Ghosts of the Past – cool site using historical photos

It’s always nice to discover a cool new site, and even better when it turns out to be made by someone I know. Andy Reedman, of Milk Media and an attendee of DPiP meetups has created a great site, Ghosts of the Past, which I’ve only just discovered.

Like many great ideas, it’s also pretty simple. Take an overhead photo of an area, and then juxtapose that with a historical one, which switches when the image is rolled over.

Ghosts of the Past

The Ghosts of the Past website.

It’s a diverting way to spend some time, and as someone interested in history, it’s also potentially pretty useful. I know Andy would appreciate any contributions in terms of suggestions/content for future posts, so if you happen to know of anything, he’d appreciate it (@andyreedy on Twitter). So seeing as work is winding down, why not take a look?

Obviously I can’t help but tinker, so the things I’d change asap would be to look at ways to embed the images onto other sites, possibly add more historical references and context either as new content or pulled in from elsewhere, and maybe introduce some merchandise or similar. I’ll settle for trying to supply him with images of motoracing circuits.

Geek curry night in Peterborough…

The belated arrangements for the fourth meetup for ‘Digital People in Peterborough‘ have now been announced, and in a change from the pub format, it’s going to be a curry night

I’m still surprised that something I’d mentioned in passing to my good friend @pjeedai and virtual acquintance (at the time) @joffff has turned into a regular meetup which sees 20+ digital people get together for drinks, food and chatting. All from just deciding a time and a place and seeing if people would turn up.

And it’s continuing to grow. We’re getting a reasonable amount of people checking out the site regularly, more and more people are registering and posting in the forum, the Facebook page has got 34 Likes so far, and the Twitter account has 25 followers.

That might be small if you’re used to reading case studies of global brands and millions spent in marketing, but as a group which met for the first time 5 months ago, and which has come together from nothing, I’m pretty amazed. And particularly as it’s revealed how many talented and skilled people are in the area – as a result, it’s led to the founding of digital design and development company Jodanma, of which I’m a co-founder, for example.

With the ease of communication and organisation, if you’ve ever wondered about starting a community around a cause, shared hobby, idea, dream etc, there really is no excuse not to give it a go. Maybe it’ll become massive in terms of size, or value. And maybe it’ll take a bit of time and work. But there’s no excuse for not giving it a try and finding out who else is interested…

 

3rd Digital People in Peterborough meetup – Thursday, Feb 3…

It’s always a bit of a wrench when you take a break from something over Christmas and New Year, and then have re-ignite everything in January. That’s one reason I didn’t take much of a break from working with clients or on my own site, but due to everyone having personal and work commitments, we took a bit of a break with Digital People in Peterborough.

But now it’s back, and the next pub meetup is February 3, 2011, at 7.30pm in the Beehive Pub in Peterborough. Not only that, but the website has got a great new design, the new forums are up and running, there’s a DPiP Facebook page, and also a Twitter account to remind you when events are happening.

And you can see more details on DPiP #3 and RSVP on the forum (or on Facebook).

So there you go – I’m really looking forward to it, and it’ll be interesting to see if changing the date/venue encourages a few more of you in the Peterborough and surrounding area to come along!

December – an opportunity for great work?

Dominated by Christmas, the month of December often seems like a chance to relax a little, and churn out some blog posts looking either back at the past year, or making a few predictions for the next. And while I’m probably going to end up writing some variations on those themes, I also have a much better plan for December this year.

I’m going to be working harder than ever to take advantage of the fact some people will be easing off. Whilst I know a lot of great companies and individuals will be working as hard as they do for the rest of the year, if even 5% of the rest take a bit of a break, I need to be making the most of that opportunity!

TheWayoftheWeb:

In terms of freelancing and consultancy, I’ve got a small and growing number of clients, which is great news. But to make it truly sustainable I need to increase that number, so the fact that many companies will be looking to improve their content and digital marketing for 2011 is a great opportunity.

On that note, this blog will be more focused going forwards. I’ve had some very nice offers to contribute to some very good sites, and I’ve struggled to find topics which I didn’t already cover. But with my concentration on content creation and marketing for my own business, it makes sense to funnel some of my writing on the media, journalism and publishing onto some more relevant sites…

Personal Projects:

  • OnlineRaceDriver.com: In under 12 months, the site has done really well with sustained growth in terms of content contributors and traffic. But the difference between a nice little blog and a publishing business comes down to the business model, which is something I want to prove can work for smaller sites.
  • 140Char: I started 140Char almost 3 years ago now, and although it’s been great fun, the time and effort to run it hasn’t evolved into something which makes a good enough return. For the last month or two it’s been mainly dormant while I look at whether it continues with some big changes, transfers to new ownership, or the content gets archived on a free host for the time being.
  • DPiP: The first two Peterborough meet-ups have gone well, and I’ve been talking to a couple of people about how we can involve DPiP into something which offers more educational and business opportunities alongside the social side of meeting local digital people for drinks. Most of that should be in place for the next meetup in January.
  • 1-2 new projects: At the moment, I’ve probably got just enough time and space for one, possibly two, of the new projects and ideas I’m been discussing with a couple of people. In the next week or so it should be clear which is the best business proposition, and I should be able to start talking about what is going on.

So a pretty busy time. As ever, client projects come first, with OnlineRaceDriver remaining as an example of building a site and business with great content and some of the digital and social marketing techniques available for very little financial investment (time is another matter!). DPiP is very much something which will grow with the involvement of everyone that has expressed an interest, and I’m pretty confident one of the new projects will soon evolve into a productive business interest.

Of course, I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t make time for friends and family over the holiday period – especially as someone with a young family to indulge and spoil this year. But all the time I can be building a future for my family, that’s what I’ll be putting first this year!!!

Second chance to meet Digital People in Peterborough

Last month I finally asked if anyone fancied coming along to a meet up for people working in all aspects of digital in Peterborough, UK and the surrounding area. And fortunately I didn’t end up sitting on my own in the pub, as around 12 people came along for a pint and to chat. It was great to meet a load of talented people, catch up with a couple of people I already knew and be able to find out how much we had in common etc.

So, as it went so well last time, we’re doing it the same way again this month, on Thursday November 25th from 7.30pm, in the Brewery Tap pub in Peterborough.

There’s more details and the chance to meet up with other digital people in the Peterborough area online at http://dpip.spruz.com (No www), or via a public Twitter list I’ve created for Digital People in Peterborough. And we’ll be using the Twitter hashtag #DPiP.

It’s likely to be the last one before Christmas, so hopefully everyone can make it, and in the new year, we’ll look at what we can add to the drinking and chatting to make it even more useful for everyone…

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The first ever DPiP pub meetup…

The first meet-up of Digital People in Peterborough took place last night, and seemed to be a resounding success judging by the comments and conversations in the pub, and responses on Twitter (hashtag #DPIP).

Personally, it was much needed. I’ve been up to my eyeballs in freelance work for a number of clients, meeting and chatting to people about some possible permanent roles in the future, and keeping OnlineRaceDriver updated as my main public-facing personal project.

So it was great when around a dozen people showed up last night, with a wide range of talents and interests – designers, developers, marketing, website owners. Everyone huddled round a table and started chatting, and I think that a good few contact details were exchanged and potentially some interesting new ideas were hatched…

It was great to find so many talented people are based in the area, whether they’re working for large companies, small companies or freelancing, and to be able to find out more about what they’re working on.

The plan is to meet up once a month, so I’ll share the details of the next event soon, and possibly introduce some chances to learn more about each other, specific projects and share some know-how…

Incidentally – if you happen to run a pub or suitable venue in Peterborough for 10 – 20 geeks to turn up for an evening (especially if you have plug sockets, wifi and somewhere reasonably quiet to chat), let me know!

And finally, huge thanks to everyone who was able to make it – my fears of sitting alone in the corner of the pub were unfounded! And really big thanks to @joffff for helping to organise and round-up interest, and @pjeedai for his help and buying some food for everyone to share…

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Into digital? In Peterborough? Fancy a pint?

Ages ago I started to realise how many people worked in the digital industries in Peterborough, and how cool it might be to get together with some of them. In addition to bigger companies like Bauer Media, or the large number of digital people commuting to that London place everyday, I keep discovering more and more freelancers, entrepreneurs and damn interesting people who call this part of East Anglia home.

So, months after originally suggesting to someone that we should arrange some meetups, I’ve finally put the minimal amount of effort into actually doing something.

So, the first ever Digital People in Peterborough (DPiP) meeting in the pub is set for Thursday October 28th in the Brewery Tap in Peterborough from 7.30pm.

Whether you’re a web developer, designer, blogger, marketer, journalist, database specialist, seo specialist, or entrepreneur you’re welcome to come and have a couple of beers and chat to other people in digital, mobile and general tech geekery.

And you don’t have to be in the city limits to join in – surrounding towns and villages are welcome – the name is more to limit which venues we choose!

If people are interested, I’ll sort out more focused events in the future, but the first one is mainly to see how many people can actually make it to the pub on a school night, put faces to usernames, and see what happens.

I’ve even set up a quick community site for anyone interested, which will have more details on this and future events – it’s at http://dpip.spruz.com/

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