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OpenCoffee Manchester is no more!

I am proud to have brought OpenCoffee to the North. First Manchester and then requesting Dean Sadler and Phil Blything to run Sheffield and Liverpool respectively. At the time, Imran Ali was thinking about running the same in Leeds. I convinced him to set the schedule for 1st Tuesday of the month. Manchester OpenCoffee never took off as intended. One reason perhaps was that I never gave 100% of making it a success as I was more serious about making Northern StartUp 2.0 a commercial success (at the time it was called NW StartUp 2.0 and it was free to attend).  We always struggled to have a decent number of people attending Manchester events where as more success was achieved by Leeds and Liverpool. I am not sure how successfull Sheffield has been!

At the back-end of last year, I handed over Manchester to Paul Robinson. Paul turned the event to combine with co-working which he passionately believes in. Last week Paul announced the death of OpenCoffee Manchester. Personally, I would like to see OpenCoffee Manchester continuing but without anyone else stepping into succeed Paul, I do not see any future for it’s continuation. Paul has given a number of reasons why OpenCoffee does not work in Manchester. I do not agree with all of them, but generally accepts that:

  • GeekUp – provides an environment for deep technical discussion, attended mainly by developers
  • Northern Startup 2.0 – provides an environment for entrepreneurs, investors, deal makers and service providers
  • Barcamp – Paul Robinson is attempting to make this a regular fixture in Manchester – this brings both communities together.

Paul also mentioned event fatigue in an e-mail to me, which is exactly what I have been thinking with respect to forthcoming Chinwag events in Manchester. Initially, I was interested to seek a partnership with Sam Michel, but decided against the idea as this will dilute the impact Northern StartUp 2.0 has.

Manchester certainly isn’t London. But has the potential to host successful regular events. I still believe we are only reaching out to a small number of individuals at present – so much more work is required to make all of these events even more successful.

Personally, I would like to see BarcampManchester happening not more than twice a year, but believe Paul is thinking of more regular events. Barcamps are much more demanding to attend than Geekup or Northern StartUp 2.0 events, and more regular events will ultimately results in these becoming “another event” as the excitement wears off. I hope Paul will take this concern into consideration when planning future Barcamps.

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