Carsonified at London Geek Dinners

Just got home from a lovely evening at London Geek Dinners run by genial hosts Cristiano Betta and Melinda Seckington, at the Thai Smile in Holborn.

This month’s talk was by Ryan and Elliot of Carsonified. They’re a small company based in Bath and specialise in events for web industry folk, such as FOWA (Future of Web Apps) as well as creating web apps and fun geeky items!

They’re not your usual company and their ethos is about working hard – but at the same time having a good attitude to their work / life balance. In fact they’re so intent on enjoying life that they only work a four-day week: Monday to Thurs, which I’m very envious of! Ryan Carson, founder, said that he tells his staff to treat their Fridays off as a ‘gift and not to work or do errands’ – which sounds just dandy to me. He also said working a four-day week was like ‘having a Saturday and then another one’ – which must be great – ‘it’s important to draw the line and have a life!’ – *me_nods_lots* 🙂

This means of course that during working days, everyone does work quite hard, but they say they get a buzz from being busy and getting things done. The Geek Dinners audience were quite taken aback by this arrangement and had lots of questions about how this all works, for example: how do they ensure that they don’t employ slack staff, how do they recruit and does their way of working make the team too competitive? Ryan replied that so far they haven’t had any problems, they interview people on beanbags as it humbles everyone and taking a potential employee out to lunch helps them find out more about their personality. Ryan and Elliott also encouraged everyone to try and do something to ensure they had a good work / life ethic and not be a worker bee 24/7 – hobbies are important!

Apart from the selection of events and workshops for web peeps, such as FOWA, FOWD and FOM, Ryan likes to set his team fun challenges, their latest one was Matt (Multi Account Twitter Tweeter), which they built in four days in Django Python. They had a very intense time building it and not without a few problems to get it working for launch on the Apache server, but it was all okay in the end! Apparently, Matt went down really well and was short-listed for a dot network award. Another four-day project was ‘HugmyMac’ where the team got away from the screens and made Mac and mobile covers!

Oh yes, London Geek Dinners is populated by several hungry Werewolfgeeks – meep!