We’re not even past Q1 of 2017 and people are saying “when’s Christmas?”

This year has already been jam packed with events, conferences, work functions, meetups, and hackathons have even kicked off. Almost every second person I talk to says they’re working like it’s the end of the year and the holiday break is on the horizon. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, but I thought I’d share some of the excitement happening around Melbourne.

PauseFest

If Future Assembly is the expo for emerging technology, then Pause is the conference for emerging ideas. This awesome event took on the theme Different Perspectives, challenging people to think differently about the way they work, how they interact with technology, why we choose to do things, and tonnes more. Everyone I spoke to had the most incredible, eye-opening experiences.

My experience of this conference was a little different than most. I was an attendee, an MC, and an exhibitor. One could say I had a diverse perspective on the event. As an attendee I watched how speakers captivated a crowd, we relived our childhood by playing with Lego, we watched as people from the likes of Pixar and The Mill gave us insights into their companies, we wandered through the Dropbox activation site getting a live demo of technology only just released, we played table tennis, had free coffee, and mingled with some of the best in the business.

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Collaborative workshop to kick off the day. Photo credit: PauseFest 2017
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LEGO! Doesn’t this take you back?

Day 2, I switched my audience seat for the presenter one. MC’ing at the ACMI Deakin Edge main stage for Tech Day was one of the greatest experiences, and I had so much fun! Not only does MC’ing give you the power to control the crowd (mmaawwwhahhha) I had the privilege of introducing some of the greatest people in technology; people from NASA, Etsy, Amazon, Google, Xero, Startup Vic, Launch Vic, Startup Muster, Rome2Rio…. and the list goes on. All these speakers come from incredible companies but are even MORE incredible in their own right. Their experiences, passions, tips, tricks, ideas, and advice, were completely out on the table, so willing to help out the next (and current generations) of entrepreneurs, thinkers, and designers. Rubbing shoulders with these amazing folksmakes one feel like they’re in the presence of greatness, learning all you can from the best minds and trying to implement it in your own life.

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MC’ing Tech Day. Photo credit: PauseFest 2017

On the final day of Pause I swapped out the dress, the microphone, and all my scribbled speaker notes for the startup side… BajaBoard! As most of you already know, I’ve been working with BajaBoard a few months now. It’s a Melbourne based company building off-road, extreme, electric-powered skateboards. These beasts are such fun to showcase and we were lucky enough to have a spot at the PauseFest startup expo. Not only did we get a bunch of attendees and people from the streets jumping on our boards, we got a whole heap of the speakers and presenters too! Couple this with some high calibre business professionals and we had a blast of a time. Everyone eagerly jumped on our board, took photos, told their friends about it, and asked us every in-depth question they could come up with. The highlight of the day was packing up our little stand, loading it onto a board each, and riding out of the ACMI Atrium like a boss… definitely a head-turner.

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BajaBoard team showcasing at the Startup Expo

But the fun didn’t stop there. Back from the office, boards packed up, we headed back to ACMI for the Pause wrap up party, and what a party it was. This is one of the first conferences I’ve been to where the speakers mingle completely with the crowd. They didn’t take the high road, or head off to a fancy restaurant by themselves. Instead, they got to know the participants, hear more about Melbourne (don’t forget half the speakers are international), and relax in style. But all good things must come to an end and Pause closed out with new friends, new ideas, and new perspectives. Huge shout out to George Hedon, the founder of Pause, for his amazing work pulling together another amazing conference.

PlayGrounds

If PauseFest blew my mind, then PlayGrounds Con definitely opened it! The Apple, Swift, and iOS developer conference attracted over a dozen international speakers from some of the best known companies in the world – Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Uber, Instagram, Google, Lyft, IBM, and more. I must admit, I was a little out of my depth in this one. I was asked to co-MC the two day conference and eagerly accepted. Working a lot in the tech scene and known as the Hackathon Queen sort of helps with these kind of events. But everyone knows that I’m not a very experienced developer, but I most certainly do not known iOS development. Not only that, but I’m not a huge fan of Macs… so you can imagine me strolling into the room with my Android Phone, Microsoft Band, and an old MSI-Windows-run laptop. But hey, all that aside, I had a blast. Keeping the energy in the room is something I love doing, and we got the social media flowing.

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Stretch session!

On the conference itself, it was AMAZING! I learnt so much. Again, I was able to introduce some of the most incredible speakers ever. Each one captivated me with their talks, and I came away with a tonne of new knowledge. It was such an amazing conference; all the attendees were great people to meet (met some new Melbourne faces), the conference SWAG was epic (socks!!!), and the calibre of international speakers was awe-inspiring.

Very similar to PauseFest, PlayGrounds speakers mingled with the crowds, they listened to each other’s presentations and hung out at social events. We talked video gaming, drones, the Melbourne culture, Vegemite, deadly Australian animals (drop bears), and the differences between MAC and Windows… oh and GO (Go coding, but also PokeMon GO!) It’s fantastic when presenters just hang around and mingle, where they enjoy hearing about why people are here, what projects they are working on, and generally being awesome. We need more conferences like this. Shout out to Andyy Hope, the organiser of PlayGrounds for his awesome event skills, and to Jesse Collis, my co-MC, for keeping the tech in check.

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Socks are definitely one of the greatest pieces of SWAG; at least Jesse and I think so

What else in Melbourne

What more can I say after those two things? Oh, there’s been White Night, the amazing Melbourne light-show and artistic installations; free Melbourne Symphony Orchestra concerts in the park; Revolver Lane CoWorking space has opened; Chinese new year festivals in the city; Fed Square Nintendo Switch Midnight Launch at Fed Square; Hidden Figures Red Carpet with IBM, and more. Hackathons have kicked off – I’m in one now so keep a look out for that write up soon. Basically, we’ve covered a lot of ground for 2017 already. And there’s still more to come, 9 months more in fact! There’s a lot to look forward to, I won’t spoil those surprises yet, but keep a look out on my social media channels and here on my blog. Oh and did I mentioned I’m on Instagram? I’m on Instagram! Click the button in the right social media pane to follow me.

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Well I won’t bore you anymore with all the amazing things Melbourne is doing. If you’re sad you missed out then come visit the world’s most liveable (and world’s second most fun) city. There’s always something great happening here and you can be involved in any way you want. That’s all from me now, and I’ll write back when this year gives me a spare five minutes to write.

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Just letting you all know I’m still having fun!!!

Huskie out. But I will leave you with my cosplay pic from the Nintendo Switch Midnight Launch, just cause I can =)

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What do you think of the resemblance?
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