HackerNest Tech Social, the technology centred meet-up in Toronto

How familiar are you with HackerNest?  This author explored the technology centred meet-up on Monday, February 29th, 2018.

Held in a basement co-working office space called WeWork at 240 Richmond St. West, the HackerNest Tech Social event was jammed full of people by 9:30pm.

The WeWork venue is in Toronto’s Entertainment District, and the surrounding six story buildings all have busy digital workshops above 2-year life cycle dance clubs.  A strange part of town today, the business landscape in these blocks is dominated by new media production companies ancillary to the CHUM building landmark (now CTV), and as such, the area is a hot spot for web innovation and central to a huge community of internet technology workers.

guests entering and donating at the door to HackerNest in Toronto
Over 90% of entrants pay the $10 suggested donation to enter HackerNest – Photo by RobC

HackerNest events are popular. There is an active community on their Meetup pages leaving pictures and feedback.  This author was informed by administrators that evening that HackerNest is among the few organizations on Meetup that has a waiting list of business sponsors in line to exhibit their wares at their monthly Tech Socials.

There’s a $10 cover charge at the door, but it’s just a suggested donation. And there is basically unlimited free beer from that point forward. Hello.

free beer at the bar at hackerNest Toronto tech social 29 jan 2018
Attendees enjoy complimentary refreshments at HackerNest Tech Socials – Photo by Rob Campbell

HackerNest Tech Socials are designed to be the opposite of their other signature event – Hackathons. Unlike those more competitive, objective driven occasions, Tech Socials are by contrast ‘down-to-earth, agenda-free community events where talented, enthusiastic tech nerds gather to socialize, wax technological, and meet future co-founders, employees, funders and friends’.

So you see, HackerNest is an organizing body, and not the actual name of the event.  Hackernest is an international non-profit organization that produces social events around technology and that includes both Hackathons and Tech Socials.

Of course its all entirely legal. Nobody is actually hacking anything, except I suppose its a life-hack if you’re a young programmer looking to make connections. These popular gatherings and other events are never done for an individual’s monetary profit, but rather they work as collectives to advance humane causes and help niche communities.  When hundreds of web professionals put their minds to something, they can create amazing tools for change.

Raymi Toronto at HackerNest Tech Social 29 Jan 2018

Raymi Toronto is a bartender blogger here beside Kate who is also a tech blogger. They both volunteer at HackerNest, but not really. Raymi says Full Stack Resources Inc needs web programmers and coders and so she comes to these events to find candidates and build the IT resource agency’s brand, one beer & ear at a time.

Organizer begs crowd for quiet as the Sponsors wait to speak at HackerNest Toronto - Photo by Rob Campbell
Organizer begs crowd for quiet as Sponsors wait to speak at HackerNest Toronto – Photo by RobC

The exhibitors that night included some A-List companies with exciting offers for attendees. Two of the four companies had jobs on the table, another was giving away property on the internet, another brokered access to exclusive technology-based education programs, and a fourth was peddling a disruptive financial product.  All four sponsors staffed tables and gave away literature in separate quests to find and sign new users.

Jamie Cuthbert of Autoserve1 meets programmers at HackerNest 29 Jan 2018 - photo by Rob Campbell
Jamie Cuthbert of Autoserve1 met programmers at HackerNest Tech Social, 29Jan2018. Photo by Rob Campbell

Autoserve1 software for automotive garages hopes to eliminate confusion on invoices by showing the broken parts of a car beside all remedial parts and labour calculations.  Its a clean and efficient way to build trust and customer loyalty. When President Jamie Cuthbert spoke to the audience, he highlighted the salient fact that Autoserve1 is hiring web developers and this brought folks to their table afterwards.

Hover domain registry at HackerNest 29 jan 2018 - Photo by RobC
Hover domain name registry and ESP at HackerNest 29 Jan 2018 – Photo by Rob Campbell

Positioned directly opposite the bar, Hover domain registry parked themselves in the centre of the room and gave all attendees free dress socks and the opportunity to register free web domains.  Hover is a division of TuCows which was one of Canada’s first domain registries. This new organization makes it easier, and cheaper, for Canadians to buy, manage and use domain names and email addresses.

Northeastern University Toronto Campus specializes in teaching science and technology programs for part-time and full time students.  That was Sharon’s message from the school that she shared on stage in her speech.  Getting a good education is a great way to shine all the way to the top.

-anthony-diiorio the CEO of DeCentral and Jaxx bitcoin wallet 29Jan2018
Anthony Diiorio speaks to HackerNest on 29 January 2018, Photo by Rob Campbell

The most disruptive product on display, and probably the biggest transcending moment from the January 29th HackerNest Tech Social, was Jaxx cryptocurrency wallet and the rousing speech given by their boss, Anthony Diiorio.  Jaxx had six people at the event and these black shirted staff members patrolled the room, signing up financially sophisticated users willing to experiment with the new phone-based digital currency ‘wallet’ storage and payment system.

And then, Anthony Diiorio himself appeared and stood on a chair at the back of the room and gave a rousing speech that empowered the audience to evolve beyond banks, and by doing so, eliminate their fees and parasitic presence in our society.  Anthony is a cofounder of the Ethereum currency.  His speech communicated how he hopes tech savvy web workers in Toronto will be among the first user groups to champion block chain technology and lead the change that will, in a short while, change everything.  Needless to say his message was well received, and all six Jaxx ambassadors were busy afterwards, orbiting the scrum around Anthony at the conclusion of the speeches.

HackerNest solicits volunteers and new members for Hackathons
Volunteer at HackerNest Hackathons and Tech Socials – Photo by Rob Campbell, 29 January 2018

The HackerNesters themselves were exhibiting and recruiting support. Administrators had laptops open on tables seeking sign-ups for volunteers. Another booth solicited people interested in participating in Fishhackathon Toronto.  This event is a full fledged Hackathon. As such, it promises to be an even bigger hullabaloo than the tech social, and its for a good cause, so you should sign up.





About Rob Campbell 48 Articles
Rob Campbell went to film school and worked in the movie business for a decade, laboring behind the scenes in hundreds of productions as the reliable but annoying grip-with-a-script.