Epic October Twilio Events Recap

November 10, 2011
Written by
John Sheehan
Opinions expressed by Twilio contributors are their own

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Hackathons, conferences, code camps, meetups and more, October 2011 had it all. Twilio was proud to take part in so many amazing events, from San Francisco to Indiana to New York to Miami. And for the first time, Twilio was thrilled to jump into new communities across the ocean in the UK and Ireland.

Here’s a recap of some of the events we were a part of. We’ve got a big November planned too; hopefully see you out at an event soon!

Day Camp 4 Developers (October 1st, online)

The first event of the month was the online Day Camp 4 Developers hosted by Cal Evans. This time around it was focused on Project Management with a special eye towards what we as developers need to know and use on a day to day basis. We covered concepts ranging from project management tactics to team psychology. The next DC4D is already in its planning stages.

New York City Code Camp (October 1st, New York, NY)

Organized by members of the New York City .NET developers’ community, Code Camp NYC challenged itself to reach new heights for its 6th edition held in October.  Moving from its original location at Microsoft’s mid-town offices downtown to Pace University, the event more than doubled in size, offering 50 sessions from just over 40 speakers to nearly 550 area developers. Congratulations to Steve Bohlen and the other organizers and volunteers for a fantastic event.

PyCodeConf (October 6-7, Miami, FL)

Github brought their now-acclaimed CodeConf series of developer-focused events to the Python Community with PyCodeConf, held at the elegant Epic Hotel in Miami, FL.  Two days of deep-dive Python content included equal parts technology and community, with speakers introducing provocative new ideas around Python’s Global Interpreter Lock, bold suggestions for the consideration of the PSF and the growing popularity of PyPy.  Twilions Kyle Conroy and Rob Spectre were stunned by the quality of the Pythonistas present and left with an entirely renewed love of the language (thanks generator expressions!).

SchipulCon (October 6-7, Houston)

In it’s third year, SchipulCon serves as an outlet for web marketers, creatives, and creators to get together. While “Social Media ROI” doesn’t spark interest for most developers, the sessions on Social Engineering, Arduino hacking, RC helicopters, and my session on Social (Network) Engineering put an interesting spin on things. It pushed more on the concept that regardless of what we work on on a day to day basis, creators are creators.

HTML5Camp (October 8th, Austin)

The next event – HTML5Camp in Austin – had a unique spin to it. Unlike many technology conferences that are focused on a single programming language or just developers or designers, this brought together local groups ranging from  PHP, .Net, and Javascript to web designers from Austin, Dallas, and everywhere in between. The tracks were split between establishing what’s there, looking at the future, and then Open Spaces creativity.

Richmond Code Camp (October 8th, Richmond VA)

On a warm October Saturday, developers from the Richmond area descended on J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College for the fall rendition of the Richmond Code Camp.  Despite a few early room hick-ups, the organizers put on superb event full of energy.  Developers were treated to four separate tracks totaling over 40 different sessions of development content, plus the usual pizza lunch and tons of swag and awesome opportunities to chat with their developer brethren.  Hats off to Steve Presley, Kevin Griffith and all of the other code camp volunteers.

Ignite NYC (October 10th, New York City, NY)

Twilio’s Jack Aboutboul was a featured speaker as part of Ignite NYC 13. Jack gave a masterful lightning talk on what makes the human species so unique–our ability to communicate. Drawing on astronomy, music, politics and technology Jack challenged the audience to question how communication affects our existence, how communication has evolved through technology and left the audience wondering, with so much technology available to us, are we truly living our lives or being distracted from it?

New York Tech Meetup (October 11th, New York City, NY)

At the October New York Tech Meetup, Twilio had the great opportunity to grace the same stage as NYC’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a celebration of NYC’s Startup and Entrepreneur community. Twilio’s Jack Aboutboul was on hand to give a Twilio demo to the masses. After Mayor Mike borrowed Jack’s phone and left it to someone in the crowd, Jack build a Twilio Client application–live in front of everyone on attendance–to ring his phone and track it down. Amicus, formerly BlueFusion, gave a demo as well, showing how Twilio is helping them connect people to fundraise for important causes.

Web 2.0 Expo (October 10-13, New York, NY)

Our CTO and co-founder Evan Cooke swung by one of the biggest weeks for web tech in New York City, the Web 2.0 Expo.  Evan spoke on the second day of the week about how Twilio scaled our service cloud communications infrastructure given the unique problems presented by voice and SMS.  A rare peek into Twilio’s infrastructure, Evan shared some of the ways Twilio makes the magic happen, such as segregating of “in-flight” and “post-flight” data, running an 80+ service infrastructure entirely in EC2 and lessons learned from maintaining a single, simple API for over 35,000 developers.

Twilio New York – Going Big (11 October, New York, NY)

The monthly New York Twilio meetup rebooted in October at Union Square Ventures with presentations, pizza and plenty of beer.  An intimate gathering of the Twilio developers from across the five boroughs attended to hear a singular talke from Twilio CTO Evan Cooke who shared the story of how Twilio started, complete with Twilio’s very first (and never funded) pitch deck.  Twilio community member and Brooklyn local Ricky Robinett followed with a talk about the explosion of FakeGirlfriend.co, dropping news of Hollywood interest in opting his April hack.

Brooklyn Beta (October 12-14, New York, NY)

The second annual get together of Brooklyn Beta, a counter-cultural unconference inviting the finest web talent in New York, was held in the middle of October in the gorgeous Invisible Dog.  Cementing what is now a new technology tradition for the best borough, Brooklyn Beta flipped the conference on its head with an event focused on the attendees rather than the speakers.  Frequent Hacker News poster Patrick McKenzie spread some serious Twilio love and developer evangelist Rob Spectre delivered an unorthodox demo that highlighted some of the suggestive SMS habits of New York’s DIY tech scene.

Brooklyn Alpha (October 12-14, New York, NY)

Hosted by Tom and Tyler as a companion to Brooklyn Beta, Brooklyn Alpha was a true hackathon.  No winners or losers, no prizes, just pure motivation to gather, imagine new ideas and hack together what you could in 3 days.  Starting with about 35 devs and designers, 30 ideas were generated and teams formed around 6 of them.

Team Alpha, Team Drill Party, The Transforms, Early Adapter, Yeah, I’ll Check that Out and Dirty Business each created apps that demonstrate how you can solve every day problems from crowd sourcing the translation of website content to seeking anonymous advice from the Internet.  Each plowed through three days of design and development rocking the true hackathon vibe and come out the end with an awesome experience and great new friends.

Boston Startup Weekend (October 14-16, Boston, MA)

Startup Weekend came to Boston University for the first time in the middle of October to a town bursting with startup talent and sore from a rough conclusion of the baseball season.  The weekend kicked off with a trio of pump-up talks from Rob Spectre, Jennifer Fremont-Smith, and Peter Shankman and followed with a flurry of pitch decks.

Teams quickly formed and sketched out plans for the 54 hours that laid ahead.  The next morning they were greeted by plenty of coffee, Red Bull and event organizer Nick Giglia sporting some serious New York Islanders pride.  Hours flew off the clock as the gathered doers shoehorned their visions into working business models and demos.  Art Cereal won top honors with Tabber coming in third and a very special entrant BiteRight that was led by a pair of entrepreneurs from Providence, Rhode Island, aged 16 and 17 years old.

Philly .NET Code Camp (October 15th, Philadephia, PA)

Once again the volunteers from the Philly .NET user group, led by group leader Bill Wolff, pull off a spectacular all day event with their 16th Philly .NET Code Camp.  Held once again at the DeVry University campus in Fort Washington, PA, the event attracted over 400 developers who came to learn from speakers on topics ranging from Behavior Driven Development to the Demystification of the Allure of Ruby.  Additionally, for the second year in a row an entire track was dedicated to an Open Spaces forum where anyone could come and debate the hot technology topics of the day with their peers.

The Business of APIs (October 19th, New York City)

Twilio sponsored the New York Edition of the Business of APIs by Mashery conference. Twilio’s Meghan Grady, Rob Spectre and Jack Aboutboul were all in attendance. The Business of APIs conference was focused around how successful companies have extended their overall business models into their API business strategy. Great companies like Spotify, Startup Threads and Klout all presented on how APIs are helping fuel the future of the internet.

ZendCon (October 17-20, San Jose, CA)

Next, we had ZendCon in its seventh year. It is the fall event in the PHP community where some of the best and brightest come together to trade ideas and explore the state of the field. This year saw the launch of Zend’s phpCloud development system along with after parties from our friends at both Orchestra.io and Mashery.

AT&T Mobile App Hackathon (October 22nd, San Francisco, CA)

About 100 developers gathered at AT&T’s San Francisco office to hack on the latest APIs, products, services and even hardware from the top mobile players like HTC, Twilio, Google, AT&T, Apigee, Yellowpages.com and more.

API Hack Day (October 22nd, Bloomington, IN)

If southern Indiana is not the first place you think of when it comes to technology and entrepreneurship, then you’ve never been to Bloomington Indiana, home of the Indiana University  and The Combine, the annual event that brings doers and thinkers together in the heartland of America.

This year as part of The Combine, the folks at API Hack Day decided to hold a hackathon.  Attendees of The Combine and students from colleges across the state took part, creating six teams.  The winning hack from students at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology was called Soda Line, an app that allows students on the Role-Hulman campus to order sodas via text message and the money generated from the sale of the sodas goes to charity.

Other hacks created included:

  • TwilioPress – a WordPress plugin that adds, one time password, approving blogs comments via SMS, and voice comments
  • Open311 Recorder – JavaScript front end to the Open311 API that lets users enter location-based civic requests (potholes, street lights not working, etc)
  • Anger Management – A app that that uses music to express its emotions
  • Nag Me – A location-based task reminder system
  • Chedder Club – An add in for the Magento eCommerce software that uses ChedderGetter to manage user levels and purchasing.

Business of Software (October 24-26, Boston, MA)

Next was the Business of Software Conference in Boston. This was another unique single-track event really focused on do’ers. The presenters included our friend Patrick MacKenzie of Bingo Card Creator; Mike McDerment, CEO of Freshbooks; our very own CEO Jeff Lawson; Dharmesh Shah of Hubspot; and numerous others. In terms of the topics and information covered, it was a firehose full of great content but luckily the entire event was recorded and the videos will eventually go online.

Hacktoberfest (October 27th, San Francisco, CA)

Twilio’s first annual Hacktoberfest brought together over 50 hackers in San Francisco for an evening of beer, sausage and hacking. The highlight of the night included a hacker live coding duel to write FizzBuzz with keyboards submerged in ice water.

Dublin Web Summit (October 27-28, Dublin, Ireland)

Ireland’s largest tech event of the year settled yet again into the Royal Dublin Society for a two day showcase of the burgeoning Dublin scene.  Stevie Graham and Rob Spectre saw stunning presentations from Irish entrepreneurs representing startups like Datahug, Redeem and Get, BoxPay, and many others.

In addition to a stunning array of Irish and European startups on display, we were particularly interested in the story of James Whelton, a very young Dublin doer who created CoderDojo.  A weekly program that introduces Irish youth to programming, it is a shining example of the emerging community being fostered in Ireland and throughout the Europe tech scene.

Silicon Milkroundabout (October 30th, London, UK)

100 UK startups. 500 jobs.  1200 attendees.  In its second year running, Silicon Milkroundabout was a smashing success, attracting scads of top tier technical talent from around the UK for a Sunday at the Old Truman Brewery in East London.  London startups like Songkick, Shazam, last.fm, Boss Level, and scores more met with hundreds of candidates in an event that turned the job fair upside down.

Twilio was on hand to welcome the technologists to the London tech scene with a chillout lounge filled with old school 4-bit gaming, plenty of snacks and a foosball table that resulted in several epic showdowns of micro-powered prowess.