A new chapter for London Web Performance
Starting this month, the leadership of London Web Performance is changing. One of the oldest technology meet-ups in London that still meets regularly, we have been through two distinct ‘eras’ already, and we’re excited to now start on our third.
We enjoyed our first few years at the Lamb Tavern in Leadenhall Market under the leadership of Steve Thair. When he moved out of London and needed to hand over the reigns, he left behind a group with over a thousand members on the mailing list and a history of great content.
Perry Dyball and I were both already members and regular attendees, and we took over the group from Steve, moved it to the Financial Times in Southwark (where we’re still hosted), and started to reform and develop the way the group worked. With a spectacular venue with great AV support secured, we focused on building a website to archive all our talk content (commissioned from top developer Adam Onishi). We also improved some practical things like name badges, introduced a small attendance fee to reduce no-shows, and formalised the organisation as a Community Interest Company, or CIC.
It has been almost entirely Perry’s dedication that has kept LWP going over the last three years, and regular attendees will know how much effort and pride has been poured in. Perry is now stepping aside, resigning as a director of the CIC. Andy Davies, Simon Hearne and I (Andrew Betts) have agreed to take over as directors and primary organisers.
New roles, and a brand new venue
First of all, Simon, Andy and I can’t do everything Perry took on by himself, so we will split our responsibilities. I’m taking on speaker management and content, Andy will deal with sponsors and legals, and Simon will organise the venue and event logistics. We have a continuing great relationship with the FT, who have agreed to continue to host us, but we’ll be moving to their brand new offices at Bracken House in the City from June.
Our first meet-up will be in May, a little too early for the FT to accommodate us in the brand new building, so we’re grateful to the Telegraph for providing a venue for our first meet-up of the year.
The group has always been well-funded thanks to the generosity of a group of long-standing sponsors (and Perry’s ability to extract money from them!). We want these relationships to continue and grow their involvement in the community. We are going to offer sponsors an official slot for their own content as part of our commitment to their involvement. This will be an annual offer and limited to a five-minute lightning-style presentation.
Sponsors are absolutely essential to high quality meet-ups. We could not provide food, drinks, the website or video of our talks without them. They are not faceless corporations but groups of smart people who share the ethos of the group and want to help us spread knowledge and skills. Speaking of which…
Andy, Simon and I are acutely aware that thoughtlessness and lack of attention to creating a fully inclusive environment can quickly make a community seem unwelcoming, scary or intimidating to those who we want to see most: new faces and voices from a wide range of backgrounds, cultures and experiences.
We’re proud to be associated with the progress that LWP has made in the last few years: our old venue at FT was physically accessible, and the new one will be even more so, our AV supports hearing loops, we have a code of conduct that we actually thought about, and when we were challenged to make it possible to submit talk proposals online, we did that right away.
There is a lot more that the group can do, and we’re going to start with some new initiatives:
- We are starting to populate an advisory committee, who will commit to attending at least 3 meet-ups a year, make sure the organisers don’t do anything stupid, and will help to extend our reach in finding speakers.
- We’re adapting our name badges. Since people have to pay for tickets to LWP, we’ve heard that some people are forced to use a legal name when registering which ends up on their badge. We’ll make sure you can use your common name, you will no longer have to include a family name, and you’ll be able to add a pronoun (which we’ll encourage everyone to do to make it stand out less).
- Starting with our May meetup, we will offer free, professional childcare for any parent that wants to come to an LWP event (whether a speaker or attendee), as long as you register more than a week out. A dedicated ticket option for this will be available. Children over the age of 10 are also welcome to attend if they stay with their guardian.
- We are launching a new speaker suggestion form, which allows attendees to suggest talks that they’ve seen that would be good for LWP, or people who have not presented but who have cool things that you’d like them to share.
- All LWP presenters will be offered presentation review and mentoring from an experienced speaker
- Attendees should be confident that we know what’s going to come up on screen at our events, so we will do our best to review at least a draft version of visuals that will be presented.
- We already offer soft drinks as well as beer, but we’re going to start providing good coffee and a range of teas as well.
Given the resources and size of the LWP group, we should be the most diverse in London. We’re on a mission to make that happen.
Talks for 2019
We’re looking for talks for this year. We’ll kick off with Terrence and Hadley in May, but we have a lot of year to fill and we want your expertise on the LWP stage! Whether you want to give a talk yourself, or suggest a speaker, we are very grateful for your contribution to the community.
Here are some of the topics we’d love to hear more about in 2019:
- Coping with regulation, Brexit and GDPR
- Distributed processing / edge computing
- Case studies and war stories
- Debugging and build tools
- Performance metrics, monitoring and testing
- Formats and data encoding
- New performance-related web standards
- Resilience and chaos engineering
- Performance testing
- Perceived Performance
If you want to be involved, or to sponsor us, we also want to talk to you, so if you have anything to say, drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org. See you in May!