How did it start?

30 September 2007 | admin | 1 Comments

FullCodePress judge, and technical editor at SitePoint, Matt Magain interviewed Mike Brown from Webstock on how FullCodePress came about.

Matthew Magain:
How did the idea for the event come about?
Mike Brown:
I was thinking up ideas for Webstock, a conference we’re running in February in Wellington, and had the idea of teams building a website in a day. I was also influenced by the “American Chopper” shows, where teams of experts combine to build a customised chopper in a short time period. I’m not into choppers at all, but they are very cool programmes to watch. I really wanted to have an old grizzled guy with lots of tats be at FullCodePress and go around yelling and swearing at people. I’d hoped Peter Firminger (from WIPA) might have filled that role, but it wasn’t to beSo that was the idea of teams of people coming together to build websites. But then it suddenly hit me that this would make for a great Trans-Tasman battle. So I got in touch with Russ Weakley at WIPA (Web Industry Professionals Association) and we decided to make it a joint production between Webstock and WIPA.Initially I focused on the sports aspect of it. The idea of a “geek Olympics”, where it’s a competition between countries. And that’s really important. But it soon became clear, once we started getting details of organisations who wanted to have websites done, that the “killer” aspect to the event was creating great website for worthy recipients.
Matthew Magain:
The tagline for Full Code Press is “no excuses, no extensions, no budget overruns”. Is this reflective of many web projects?
Mike Brown:
From memory I came up with that line at the end of a long day! I suspect it’s reflective on just about any project – our house is getting renovated at present and it’s behind schedule and over-budgetBut I wanted to make it clear that for FullCodePress there really wasn’t going to be anywhere to hide. At the end of 24hrs, whatever the team had come up with was going to be on public display, and scrutinized hard by the judges. So I think it took a certain amount of courage by those in the teams to be involved.
Matthew Magain:
Given the success of today’s event, do you see this model being extended from non-profits to include paying clients? Other industries? Build a car in 24 hours? An aeroplane?
Mike Brown:
Hmmm, great ideas! I think we need a tv programme. Halfway through the event, we did consider adding a “Survivor” element to the mix. We thought of entering each team room around midnight and telling them they had 10mins to vote someone off the team, and then leaving them there with someone recording on video. Wise heads prevailed in the decision not to do this!Certainly I think there’s potential to extend the idea to something like, “Build a web app in 48 hours”. I think paying clients wouldn’t have the same appeal as non-profits though. And it would pay to remember, that although the sites were created in 24hrs, if you took 7 people x 24hrs x their hourly rate, it would add up to a reasonable cost!One issue, though, is that we’re all (Webstock and WIPA) doing this in our spare time. It’s not a commercial venture, so there’s a possibly a limit to how far we can take it with the current setup.
Matthew Magain:
Any more you can tell me about the next event, planned for Feb in Wellington?
Mike Brown:
Next year, from 11-15 February in Wellington, New Zealand, there’ll be the Webstock conference. On the weekend immediately before, 9-10 February, we’ll be running the next FullCodePress. We’d like to open it up to as many international teams as we can get. To date, we’ve had interest from people in over 20 countries in taking part, countries as diverse as Sri Lanka, Iran, Venezuela, England, Canada, Czech Republic and Bangladesh.If we could get even some of these countries taking part, it would be a wonderful event! We’ll be opening up the FullCodePress site soon to take registrations of interest from people who’d like to be considered for these teams.We all think there’s huge potential for the event, and the chance to meet and share with people from all around the world would be something those taking part would always remember.

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One Response

  1. mattymcg says:

    Re Mike’s comment “Build a web app in 48 hours”, this is exactly what Rails Rumble is all about.