Simon Willison’s Weblog


105 items tagged “events”


Does it cost tax payers when sporting events have military jets fly over the stadiums?

According to HowStuffWorks "How Military Flyovers Work the cost is mostly paid for by various branches of the US military—they approve around 850 flyovers a year, and the cost comes out of their training budget. Event organisers sometimes have to pay for lodging, meals and transportation.

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Is there a online service which provides details of all the events happening in a city?

The answer to this varies greatly from city to city. As a general rule though, no, there is no single service that can solve this (it’s actually an almost impossible problem to solve since events are by their nature decentralised).

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When traveling, what methods do you use to find unique, uncommon local experiences like art, music, events & shopping?

I run the following google searches:

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Events (leisure): What would you think of a conference that had longer hours?

I agree with Lenny Martin, for most events this would just be too long. There’s one exception: events that provide a sit-down dinner and have a talk during that dinner. PyCon UK in Birmingham have done this in the past and it was great—the conference itself ended around 6pm, you have an hour and a half to yourself, then you sit down for a banquet-style meal at 7:30pm with the other attendees. Their dinner speaker was a local historian talking about the science history of the local area, which was a really nice complement to the rest of the conference.

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Are there any live event ticketing options that are using the Kickstarter model?

Kickstarter itself can be used in this way—the recent XOXO conference in Portland was funded through Kickstarter in exactly the way you describe:

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Events (leisure): How can I get into presentations, mixers and meetups without paying the entry fee?

Speak to the organisers and volunteer to help out at the event. This works for all different sizes of events and is a very effective way of getting in to an event for free. As a volunteer you also get a great excuse to interact more with the attendees and speakers.

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Which digital events should I attend in the UK in 2012 and 2013?

If you’re building something for parents it might be worth heading to a few conferences in the US—there is a HUGE mommy/daddy/parent-blogger conference scene there which doesn’t have an equivalent in Europe as far as I’ve seen.

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Which tools exist for learning about the people attending a particular meetup / conference, in advance?

This is one of the most popular aspects of our service, Lanyrd—we offer an attendee directory for each event showing everyone we know who is speaking or has told us that they plan to attend the event. Here are a few examples:

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Events (leisure): I want to find out if there are any Hildegard von Bingen recitations coming up in San Francisco. Which website should I go to?

It sounds like you need Songkick—it lets you “track” your favourite musical artists and will then email you when they’re playing in your town. I believe it has the most comprehensive gigs listing database anywhere. Here’s their page for Hildegard von Bingen (sadly no upcoming gigs listed at the moment):

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Why should I care about the Olympics?

The sponsors, money and so on make it easy to forget the key thing: many of the athletes competing are still teenagers who have spent most of their lives preparing for this one event. That’s pretty amazing.

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Which is a better site to archive conferences- Conferize or Lanyrd?

We’re very proud of our tools for archiving information from conferences—we support attaching slides, videos, audio clips and other links directly to pages about sessions for conferences. These are then aggregated for the entire conference and are also linked to from our profile pages for individual speakers. If the session has topics attached to it, we also show thumbnails of the coverage elsewhere on the site.

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Do you prefer to attend events in the evening or in the morning?

In the evening. I like to go to work in the morning!

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What is a more equal-opportunity way to distribute access to a free event that is expected to sell out quickly?

A much better method than releasing all of the tickets at once is to release them in batches—say 50 tickets at a time over three different releases. This greatly reduces the “only people online at the time get a chance” factor by giving people three separate chances to grab their ticket. You can vary the time of day for each batch to make it fairer for people who might be at work / in meetings / having dinner with family at certain times of day (or to take timezones in to account if you expect attendees from far away).

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What are some good startup events/meetups in LA during February and March 2012?

The next LA Hacker News Meetup is on the 25th of Feb in Santa Monica:

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What are the best sites to find events by location?

It depends on what kind of event you are looking for.

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Events (leisure): How do you find out about Conferences happening in various places in the world?

Our site is a crowd-sourced directory of conferences and other professional events across a large range of topics from all around the world. We have particularly good coverage of technology and social media events (perhaps unsurprisingly, since that’s where the early adopters are) but we’re continuing to grow in to other areas.

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What are the best events search engines?

Since I co-founded one I’m certainly not qualified to express an opinion on which ones are best, but here are a few of my favourites:

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What are the best tech community event sites in San Francisco?

We have a large and growing community-maintained list of mostly-tech events in San Francisco here:

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What are some good ways to search for an event?

Our site, aims to solve this problem. We have over 13,000 conferences and other professional events listed (including seminars, meetups etc)—you can search them, but you can also sign in using your Twitter account to see which events your contacts are speaking at or attending.

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What online, startup and mobile related events will take place in Romania in 2011?

The Eastern European Mobile Monday Developer Summit is a big mobile event in Bucharest on 26-28 September: and

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What Social Media events or conferences are taking place in November 2011 in San Francisco or New York?

There don’t seem to be many “social media” events happening in November—September and October are peak season.

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What are some technology events to attend in San Francisco Bay Area in Fall 2011?

From browsing through our list here: here are the ones that stand out:

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What are the steps that you perform and the tools that you use before, during and after an event/conference?

PPK just published an amazingly comprehensive free guide to running a conference, which includes a chapter on what to do during the event:

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What are some site/app options for event recommendation/discovery?

Our site recommends events (conferences, meetups, expos, guest lectures etc) based on who you follow on Twitter. In my opinion it works extremely well in suggesting events that would be a good fit for you.

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What are the best conferences about startup in 2011 (2nd semester) ?

We have a list of upcoming startup events here: ( lists just the ones in the USA)

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What are the best event sites/listings for London? is a fantastic events listing site for unconventional arty/cultural events—lots of interesting guest lectures, open houses, guided walks etc.

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What are some good ways to promote a “networking event” on the internet ?

Add your event to and encourage your attendees to mark themselves as attending. That way, anyone who follows them on Twitter and uses Lanyrd will hear about the event, either directly on the site or via email if they’ve signed up for our email alerts.

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What are the top events for Internet startups in 2011?

We have a bunch of startup / entrepreneurship events listed on Lanyrd—try these pages:

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What are good websites to post online content about an event?

For posting slides from an event, is definitely the most popular. is a good choice too.

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What are the best bachelor party ideas (other than strip clubs)?

My bachelor party (we call it a stag night over here) ended in a Karaoke club—one of the ones with private booths. It was awesome.

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