This story started 18 months ago...



As with a lot of things in my recent life, it all started in a coffee shop.

Stephen Haunts (who had just started his own business) and Barry Mills (who had recently been promoted at work) persuaded Moreton and I to run Developer! Developer! Developer! East Midlands.

There were many reasons for doing this including what we would learn from the challenge, right through to our warmth for the local East Midlands community. From opportunities at work, to the friends we have made at events - we have gained so much from the local tech scene. There wasn’t a technology focused conference per se (though there is a great design focused conference and a lot of local events), and it seemed like something we could do. The full thought process and decisions made I’ll leave for another post, for another day.

Fast forward to last Saturday - the day of the conference. Now it doesn’t feel quite real, but last Saturday DDD East Midlands happened! The attendees travelled from all over the UK to see great speakers, find out more about the East Midlands tech community and most importantly celebrate it.

It was by no means an easy event for us. It was our first time running an event of this scale, we had two evacuations due to fire alarms, the weather was abysmal and we had a lot of things happening that we hope you all didn’t notice. Overall though, we think it went pretty well.


We wanted to celebrate the community, and the community helped us celebrate.


There is something that we glossed over in our Closing Ceremony that I would like to spend some time to go into more detail about. Though Moreton and I are the founders and organisers of this event, we have had help in many forms and from many directions. This event was celebrating the local tech community, and it couldn’t have gone as smoothly as it did without the input and passion of the same community.


Many Thanks From Us.


This will not be a comprehensive list as there were many people involved at different stages of this process. If you are missed out - you have not been forgotten and we are still incredibly grateful.

There are a lot of groups of people and individuals that we would love to give mention and thanks to.


Community Members

On the day

Firstly, the people who not only came to DDD East Midlands, but also stayed throughout two fire alarms in the miserable weather. Thank you for not only persevering but also being supportive, positive and not letting the slight sogginess ruin your day.

We did our best to manage the slight disaster and you all gave us positive words of support when we felt absolutely rotten for what had happened. Thank you so much.

Before, during and after

We are really grateful to those who gave a helping hand with what we needed and gave advice based on their own experiences. There are many people who helped us over the last 18 months and I’d like to give special thanks to a few of them.

  • David Wood. As well as volunteering he helped us get all the equipment back and forth from the venue along with other things.

  • The Sewards (Emma and Andrew) gave loads of advice in the beginning based around their experience with Tech Nottingham and Hack24, as well as sponsoring the initial deposit for the venue. Without their help we wouldn’t have had the stunning Conference Centre in October.

  • Local event organisers such as Rosanna Nichols, Shaun Hare and Simon Collison for answering some of our early questions.

  • The Australian DDD Organisers. They answered a lot of our questions in the beginning about running a DDD Conference.

  • Tom Jepson for guiding us through branding and tone of voice at the beginning. He also created our colour scheme.

  • The day before the conference we were missing a couple of deliveries. Chris Taylor kindly drove us around to get the last bits, including our outside flags.

  • Anna and Jamie have kindly run the Hacktoberfest corner, but have also been helping manage PR’s for the DDD East Midlands Blog GitHub account. Anna also took over our Twitter on the day of the conference, making sure you were all getting re-tweeted and responded to.

  • Louise Paling has given us a lot of advice based on what she has learnt from being part of the organisation team for DevOpsDayLondon.

  • Matt Brunt has been a mentor to our speakers, a speaker at the conference and a good friend. He has also been my own personal proof reader!

There are others, but the list will be very long if we mention you all. Thank you everyone for your help from driving us to places, to the friendly words of support.


The Crew

The evening before and on the the day, the crew of volunteers went above and beyond. They set up the many bags and lanyards. They made sure that the attendees were okay throughout the fire alarms and evacuations. They did everything we could want and more throughout the day.

I cannot emphasise enough how great the crew were. They made a big job a lot easier and more enjoyable.


The Volunteer Crew standing around a DDD East Midlands sign in their green hoodies

— The DDD East Midlands Crew


Thank you

- Steven - Shannon
- Sam - Spencer
- Carol - Ashley
- Nina - Jen
- Rizwana - Karen
- Ashton - Joshua
- David - Michael


Mentors

As some of you know we hosted a speakers workshop before the conference for those speaking at DDD East Midlands Conference. This session was lead by Dylan Beattie and was a great day which you can read about in this blog by Riz.

As well as offering a speakers workshop we also offered any speakers who indicated that they may want support mentorship. Gosia and Brunty mentored those speakers and did so in their free time. We are really grateful for their generosity as, I imagine, are their mentees.


Sponsors

Again, thank you to our sponsors. Without sponsorship we couldn’t run the event at all, and we also had a lot of fun at the exhibition area. We hope you all enjoyed meeting the sponsors and exhibition staff


BJSS Bleheim Chalcot
UNiDAYS Microlise
Experian First Response Finance
Cordius Tech Nottingham
JetBrains Digital Lincoln
NDC Conferences Razor
Mindera Searchability
Distinct Recruitment School Of Code


The Speakers

At DDD East Midlands, the speakers are selected by the attendees. Not only did they deliver fantastic talks which you all enjoyed and learnt from, but the speakers on the day were really accommodating. In order to fit all the talks into the new schedule we asked everyone to shorten their talks by 10 minutes, which is a challenging proposal for a rehearsed talk, especially if you are newer to speaking. Everyone was happy to make this adjustment and made managing a difficult situation a lot easier.

Special thanks to the speakers from the first session who had their talks rudely interrupted by the fire alarms twice, and had their talks cut short. Jessica, Zac and Anthony we hope to see you at a local meetup soon. Thank you again for being so understanding.

You can find a full list of the speakers with their bios and links here. Please book them for your events!


The Photographer and Videographers

We were so happy to have Andrew Acford and ShutterSocks on board to do all the photography and videography for the event. They braved the horrid weather and really captured the event fantastically. Thank you folks!


Coffee Cart

The lovely people from Cartwheel Coffee provided some fantastic coffee throughout the day and certainly kept my caffeine levels at a healthy level. Thanks for sponsoring the coffee UNiDAYS


Venue Staff

As mentioned in the closing ceremony, the venue staff were really helpful and responsive on the day. They provided the coat racks when it was wet and tried to get us back in the venue as quickly as they could while guaranteeing your safety during the “incidents”.

In my opinion, the food and snacks were also really good! So thank you to the catering staff at the venue as well.


And everyone else

There are SO MANY people who contributed and made this event as good as it was. We appreciate all the help we’ve had. If I’ve missed you, I’m sorry. This was quickly put together and we do appreciate all the help and advice we’ve received.


I'm sorry if I missed anyone. You are still appreciated.


Please keep contributing on GitHub, keep feeding back to us and we hope you’ll all help us make next year great too.


My Personal Thanks.


As I’ve said throughout, it has taken a lot of people to make DDDEM a successful event. It also took a partnership.

I would like to take this opportunity to give explicit thanks to Moreton Brockley. In our pairing I’m the more visible one as I am loud, excitable and all over social media. As such sometimes Moreton doesn’t get the recognition I know he deserves.


Moreton Brockely presenting at DDD East Midlands

— Moreton Brockley presenting at DDD East Midlands. Photo by Andrew Acford.


Moreton has spent the majority of his evenings, especially in recent months, doing work on DDDEM. He controlled the finances, the company and more. He was the main point of contact for all the volunteers, organised their schedules, supported them and lead that whole side of things. He actively hosted the Speakers Workshop with me, making sure that day went smoothly too.

On top of all that, he’s kept me sane.

As many of you know Moreton is my partner in more ways than one. It’s been an absolute pleasure getting to work with him on something we are both passionate about and I couldn’t ask for a better partner in crime conference organisation.


Planning For Next Year Starts Now.


Next year the event will be on October 3rd 2020.

We have a new member in our team

Rachel will be helping with a lot of the correspondence. There will be a post introducing Rachel soon.

Sponsorship

We are going to re-jig the sponsorship for next year based on what we’ve learnt. If you are interested in sponsoring please fill in the form here.

Videos, Photos, Website and more…

We will release videos of the talks, the photos of the event and will be doing a reskin of the website. We will be keeping a lot of the input from your contributions and adding more issues over the next twelve months.


There is A LOT to look forward to.

Keep and eye on all our social media accounts for more updates in the near future.

I’ll be talking to you soon,

Jess.


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