By Simon Woodhead
On Thursday, we were proud to host the first ever SimCon event in our new Bristol office, and were very grateful that 60 or so of our friends spent the day with us, and stayed late into the night for our opening party.
I started the day hugely appreciative so many had taken a risk on us and turned out. When it was gone 8pm and people were still declining the beer and pizza waiting outside to spark off each other and engage with the speakers, I closed the day quite touched. A huge amount of effort had gone in by the whole team here and I’m incredibly proud of them, but it is the people that make an event a success and we were very lucky there.
For those who weren’t there, we recorded the entire day and it is fair to say the AV was slightly over-specified! Our storage cupboard became a full gallery for the afternoon! For those who needed to use laptops or escape the main room, we were streaming to a small staged area outside that is affectionally known as “Millennial Stadium”. The content of the talks was intended to be more open and exclusive for SimCon attendees / Simwood customers so needs a bit of editing/redacting before being posted here!
The talks were really well received and engagement grew and grew throughout the day as attendees relaxed and got to know each other better. The result was that every talk ran over and for my second VoIP Fraud talk it took well over an hour for a 30 minute presentation. The interaction was amazing, especially for a topic we’ve arguably banged on about for years! It was enlightening that whilst everyone had heard much of the material before, being able to discuss it and bounce around solutions to problems was, by my interpretation at least, really useful.
Given the number of people in attendance we wrote an API and a webapp for ordering drinks and that seemed well used!! Given the audience, there was a certain irony in the fact that the very first person to order through the API was actually a lawyer – Neil Brown who gave a great practical talk on GDPR – although it is fair to say he’s no ordinary lawyer!
When the talks eventually concluded, our party began. We’d booked an amazing magician in David Penn and he blew more than a few minds. Along with a somewhat bohemian pizza company who cooked a feast in their wagon outside, and a brilliant pop-up bar conveniently inside. It says something about our audience (or Frazer) that mid-evening they’d served 30 times as many Sambuca as Bitter – a more extreme ratio than our ports in vs out even!
We’re hugely touched by the kind words many of you paid on the night, and afterwards, and there will certainly be a SimCon2. At this stage we expect it to be February 2019 but for those who can’t wait (including me!) we’re planning some more deep-dive training sessions in between – let us know what you would like or need and we’ll make it happen! In the mean-time, huge thanks to everyone who made this a very special day.