We believe that it is important to discuss the latest technology topics in the community and to engage in professional regional networking at once.
It is for these reasons that the monthly developer meet-up HackTalk takes place on the last Tuesday of each month at the offices of TRIOLOGY in Brunswick. All developers are cordially invited to join the discussions, to exchange views and to ask questions.
I met with Steven Schwenke, the founder of HackTalk, and asked him some questions about the ideas, background and goals of the event.
> Steven, how did the idea of organising a HackTalk originally come about?
I have always liked organising round table meetings. It is one of the best ways of developing networks and bringing people together. The first round table meeting took place at a bar in Wolfsburg. It was attended by people who were simply curious or interested in forging business relationships. It was more about making new contacts than discussing technical topics at a detailed level. In the beginning, there was a high turnover rate in terms of those attending. Eventually, a “core group” emerged, however, which began attending each event and still does today.
> What do you want the HackTalk events to achieve?
Originally I wanted to bring people together and help them with their networking and to encourage discussions between the developers. In contrast to the Java User Group discussions are our key priority, rather than presentations. At the HackTalk events, we relay our knowledge, experiences, issues and ideas.
The goal of the event is to research things together and to encourage discussions.
> For whom is HackTalk intended? Who is welcome to attend?
Everyone is welcome – you just have to be interested in technology-related topics and be unafraid of meeting people. You don’t need to understand everything, I just think it’s important that you “take something away” from the HackTalk with you.
> Is the number of participants limited or can you just drop by “spontaneously”?
The number of participants is limited, but there’s no strict limit. It is important for the group to be able to get together at a single table and enter into a discussion, and that separate groups e.g. of two or more don’t emerge.
People are always welcome to drop by. Registering via XING is a good way of making yourself known in advance. It also helps me to get an idea on the size of the group.
> How do new topics come about?
There are three ways in which topics are generated:
Push topic: Someone has a “cool” topic that they want to present to the others.
Pull topic: During the discussions, it is sometimes the case that someone wants to find out more about a specific topic.
Extreme pull topic: On the basis of your personal interest you have a specific topic that you want to address, e.g. because you’re confronted with it during a project, and you ask someone whether this topic could be raised at the HackTalk event.
> What topics are presented and/or discussed?
The topics are very different and range from code design, to domain-driven design, to Star Trek and SpaceX. You can see the past topics here.
> How does a HackTalk work? Do the participants have to prepare for specific topics?
All of those attending start by introducing themselves to the group, after which the topics are presented and the issues and ideas are then discussed in a relaxed atmosphere. You do not have to prepare for any specific topics.
> Is there a difference between a HackTalk and a HackCamp?
The time constraints for the Hacktalk events are much clearer. They always start at 05:00 pm and finish at about 07:00 pm.
A HackCamp doesn’t have those kind of time constraints and you can discuss the topics in far greater detail. It’s more of a WorkShop. The topics are presented and discussed, there’s programming and the event finishes with the presentation of the code.
> Has another HackCamp been planned?
Yes a HackCamp has been planned for October 2017.
> What are you hoping for from the HackTalk in the future?
I want the HackTalk to become a self-sustaining event which isn’t owned by me. I also want the topics to become self-sustaining so that there is never a lack of things to discuss. I aim to discuss specialist topics at high level and to a certain depth, but which also cover wide-ranging themes. The HackTalk events aren’t aimed for the layperson, but for those who are genuinely interested.
Thanks for our interesting conversation, Steven. I hope that a lot of discussions will enrich the HackTalks in the future, too.