In Memoriam: RIP SpeedGeeking at UC

Blog Post created by aniessen-esristaff Employee on Aug 6, 2015

In our fourth and final year of hosting SpeedGeeking at UC, we would like to take a few minutes to reflect on the life of SpeedGeeking, and how it will continue on not just in our hearts, but also at Esri DevSummits.

SpeedGeeking was a concept envisioned by the GeoDev Team as somewhat of a parody on the concept of SpeedDating. We thought, “What if people got a chance to “date” different aspects of our technology in such a short time so that people wouldn’t run away screaming from information overload?” With cowbell in hand, stations set up with laptops and monitors for “dating”, we would begin our journey of 5-minute intervals where a technology expert would show off her/his knowledge in an area they worked in. Once the cowbell had been rung, it was time to move to a new station and learn from another technology expert. We loved the idea and thought that users would too.


We started off hosting SpeedGeeking at UCs back in 2012. It was held upstairs in the Convention Center, and while we did have a large room, we found most of the space between different stations confused people. Were they supposed to rotate in a circle? Jump from “date-to-date”? The “dating scene” was perfectly ideal with technological topics ranging from UX/UI to Big Data. The popcorn and peanuts was enticing and seemed to draw in enough people to make this baby a routine event at UC. So we tried again.



In 2013, we thought, “Since there was so much space last time, what if we put it not in a huge room, but outside of the room upstairs wherepeople could walk by and drop in on a “date”? This seemed to be a great idea, and while we did have traffic come through, the location was just so that the sunshine was beating down through the skylight up above on the second floor. These “hot dates” were a bit too much, but still an attended event. It definitely helped that we had some definitely awesome eligible “dates” that included Geotriggers and OAuth 2.0.  This was worth the effort. We’ll try this again.



Here came 2014, holding a lot of promises for SpeedGeeking. We figured, “We definitely have this down pat!” While having the event upstairs in the main walkway was effective, the sun beating down on us was not, so we shifted again, having learned from our mistakes. This time, we headed to the other side of the Map Gallery, where it was nice and cool but still very busy from attendees moving from session to session. Our “dates” ready with new topics, we were about to pick up some new folks. Here came topics of Bootstrap and Python – yummy! Everyone was so excited to learn new topics, but wait! Where was everyone? The candidates for our hot new dates had dwindled down and seemed to be unsure of what was going on with these stations set up next to the gallery. Uh oh. This was not a good sign. Time to change our approach again for 2015.


In a final attempt to really get users amped up about SpeedGeeking for UC 2015, we thought, “Hey, what if we placed the event right inside of the expo?” Oh my goodness, yes! This would most certainly grab everyone, and everyone would get a chance to enjoy our SpeedGeeking event. Let’s do this!

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Not only had we lined up the best of the best, they had awesome topics to share: Indoor Mapping, Automation, Esri Leaflet, JavaScript 4.0. You could not ask for better “dates” than these! Scheduling it on Thursday from 10:30AM – 11:30AM seemed like the appropriate time to finish off a great last day within the expo. As we got started, we realized very quickly that while we were in the expo, we might have been a little too far to the south side. Maybe attendees would have trouble seeing us – and they did. While the event was in the agenda, it may not have been very clear what it was and that it was a very open event for all to attend. It was fun, light, and a great way to make connections with Esri staff who specialized in highly significant areas of technology making large new waves in both GIS and development.  It was a bust.


So it is with a heavy heart that we are waving a sad goodbye to our beloved SpeedGeeking event at UC. But do not shed a tear; it will be revived at DevSummit, and we look forward to making new connections with those we encounter. At the DevSummit Europe in London in 2013, SpeedGeeking went great, with high attendance and great feedback, so we'll definitely be hosting it in Berlin at the Esri Developer Summit (DevSummit) Europe 2015.


Please stay tuned and follow the #devsummit and #speedgeeking hashtags for experiencing SpeedGeeking in both the DevSummit Europe 2015 and DevSummit 2016 events.