Friday night’s Minibar meetup

As heavily trailed beforehand, Roo and I popped along to the Minibar unconference in London on Friday.

Interesting. An opportunity to meet some new people, hear a few presentations, and use the free wireless. We were both a bit confused at the fact that they didn’t have name badges for us despite having registered, but it seems that we missed out a part of the process somehow (one site doesn’t pass names to another site / email address which needs to receive them).

It's... Minibar!On reflection, our decision to turn left at the entrance and make for the comfy sofas had a mixed result – we got nice seating, but we were probably a little too far back from the screen and stage to get the most from the presentations.

The main talk was by the creators of Sellaband, a site that allows “artists and fans [to] make money together”. Basically, 5,000 fans or “believers” can invest $10 a time in a band (or 500 can invest $100, or whatever combination) until a fund of $50k exists, at which point the band gets to record an album, and the fans get a copy of the CD. Crowdsourcing. Interesting concept.

There was a talk by Spikesource, who “minimise the risk of using open source software”, making software like Drupal “business-ready” by providing support.

(at some point there was some rowdy individual in the crowd who shouted “boo” when certain competitors were mentioned – but generally this was all in good humour…)

One slightly off-the-wall talk was by a company called Flirtnik, who run a personals site based on tagging… I was slightly dubious of this one, mainly because as soon as you’ve been out with someone you don’t like, you’d tag them “boring” and that would be that for them… hmm… well to be honest I don’t need to look into the site, and maybe it doesn’t work like that.

My note-taking was a bit patchy since we were so far back, and the acoustics in Corbert Place were not fantastic… but I believe Metaweather was spoken about, as was a new search engine with site thumbnails called rouq. The latter I was also a bit unsure about, since it seems to tread all over Alexa’s patch, and I already use the Google Preview extension for Firefox… but worth a look[1]. I think the final talk was the Open Rights Group.

In the crowd, amongst others I met the exceptionally cool Mario Menti, spent some time learning about thingamy from Sig Rinde (who had virtually participated in another recent London meetup), and Jason King, who lives on a boat and has started a new search engine for boat users in the UK (I know nothing about boats, but it seemed like a cool thing to do!). I also observed Roo’s remarkable network, mostly at a distance…

I’ll definitely be interested in going to the next one.

[1] I just tried rouq, and it did both get my blog as first hit, and generate an up-to-date thumbnail, so maybe my initial skepticism is unfounded… although, saying that, the chances of my choosing a link based on a tiny thumbnail are small, I think text is probably better.

4 thoughts on “Friday night’s Minibar meetup”

  1. Hey Andy,

    Thanks for giving our search engine a try. It works best when you’re interested in the look of the item you’re searching for. The example at the event was an ‘office desk’ – where I was judging the selection based on the type of desk displayed in the results.


  2. Hi Jason – thanks for the comment, and sorry I missed your name at the time (like I said, we weren’t well-positioned in the venue, our fault). Now that you mention it, when you are specifically after an image then it might well work better.

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