£5 app day writeup

Saturday’s £5 App Day went very well – during the day we had over 30 people attending the various talks (a similar turn-out to our regular £5 App evening meetings but without the free beer!).Most attendees were programmers and freelancers, some were ‘business types’ – most from Brighton but a few from out as far as Guildford, London and Birmingham (!).

See some photos (more) – thanks for those we have uploaded them! John was the main organiser with Matt Weston in the background and me on some publicity.

Things I learned during the day:

  • Social media: Google’s OpenSocial standard isn’t ready yet (despite the hype)
  • Social media: Writing a Facebook application is easy
  • Copy-writing: How to write web-copy from the perspective of my target audience
  • SEO: How many more in-bound links I need to get on the frontpage of Google for targetted terms

Allan and I opened the day with talks on boot-strapping. My Perils of Boot-strapping is online. My main points were:

  • Boot-strapping is a valid (if slow) way to start a new company
  • Boot-strapping is inherently low-risk towards money and commitment
  • Harmonising with your day-job, so your reputation and experience grow hand-in-hand, is preferable

Allan covered how he created his successful Java software consultancy company (SensibleDevelopment) by growing organically which grew from his fantasy-footy game (EffEffElle). Allan spent time explaining the various ways that new companies can get funding and support in Brighton – his presentation (forthcoming) lists all of the possibilities. If you want to ask questions about this – join us on the BrightonDigital mail list.

Sadly Raj couldn’t attend through illness. He had a good talk lined up on ‘growth after boot-strapping’ including statistics from his Kwiqq.com – he has uploaded the presentation which is pretty self-contained.

Next John and Neil discussed ‘how to grow a £5 App’ covering: inspiration, ease of coding, language choice, source control, unit tests and having fun.

After lunch Premasagar and Madhava discussed Dharmafly which is their ethical web consultancy. The did a fab presentation (with Annesley) on how they built a Facebook application (including RSS feed) in several days and how they used this as a way to further broadcast their new ThoughtsOf.PRSarkar. The ThoughtsOf site is a WordPress site with some simple theming, they used the dated post-ahead feature to build a set of posts which are published each week.

Jon Markwell (Inuda) continued the theme of social media and discussed Google’s new OpenSocial. Importantly he explained why it isn’t ready for use yet – I found this talk to be extremely useful as I’d only heard the hype and not the sober inside story. Jon also talked us through Facebook’s new advertising platform and showed how he’d created a Brighton-targetted advertising solution for Inuda.

Paul Silver and David Rosam gave a short presentation on the key points of search engine optimisation. Following the presentation they used their SEO Analysis Tool (the ‘site clinic’) to give us feedback on a couple of our sites. I have a print-out of my results and I’ll use the analysis to guide my own SEO for ShowMeDo. Do contact Paul and David (WebPositioningCentre.co.uk) if you’d like expert SEO advice and implementation.

To cap off a brilliant day Ellen de Vries gave us an excellent and very interactive talk on writing copy for the web. We had to work in groups to first explain our own websites ‘to our mum’ – i.e. using plain language and clear concepts. We worked through several more exercises and ended up explaining what we do ‘to our clients’ and along the way we all learned some new Copy skills. Thanks Ellen! Do contact Ellen if you’d like custom web-copy or advice.

Naturally at the end of the day we headed off to the pub to unwind. It looks as though several collaborations have begun as a result of the day and the ‘£5 App Meme’ will be travelling to Birmingham (thanks Simon!) to start a new group in Brum. Woot!

Upcoming events: OpenCoffeeSussex meets next Thursday in the Sussex Innovation Centre, Master Screencasting on Tues 20th for the Week of SkillSwaps, the £5 App Christmas Special (title: The £50 Million App) is on December 4th.


  • Pete did a good summary write-up: http://www.peteblog.com/blog/_archives/2007/11/12/3348757.html Cheers Pete!
  • Hey dude, cheers for the invite down! I just blogged my impressions at: http://simonhammond.com/blog/2007/11/14/%c2%a35-apps-day Si from Brum
  • There's a summary of my talk here: http://psychicorigami.com/2007/11/17/developing-your-5-app/