Back in 2013, the landscape of meet-ups in Leeds was very different. Whilst there were plenty of user groups and topic-specific events, there was a gap for something more general purpose. I personally craved something that held talks with the diversity and intrigue of TED, but on a local level. I wanted a space to invite the community to where we could share experiences, ideas, fun projects and promote interesting discussion.

So it was on a weekday evening in June that Stac held the first Hey! event. Hey! seemed like a fun name that didn't take itself too seriously, and I enjoyed the pun of #heystac. Along with doing a talk myself, I invited some friends to help kick things off, Andrew Nesbitt (a complete chance that we happen share the same last name) and Harry Roberts.

Andrew was doing interesting things with Quadcopters at time, so he agreed to come and do a demo in the small room below our offices in The Faversham. This turned out to be absolute chaos, but in the best possible way. Andrew had just finished hacking on the code that navigated the Quadcopter, maybe a little too close to the demo. Before long the 'copter proceeded to accelerate full pelt into the wall. For most people this would be a difficult situation to come back from, but Andrew styled it out like a true professional and carried on talking us through the world of Quadcopters. Harry finished the evening off talking us through best practices with CSS, and it was from here me and him got to know each other better. This friendship eventually spawned All Day Hey! years later.

Following the first event (and a fantastic turn out), Hey! grew from strength-to-strength, until we finally had to move out of The Faversham. There simply wasn't room for us there anymore. We bounced around a few venues until settling in our current home at Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen. This venue is great for Hey!, presenting a relaxed, low-lit environment where people can grab a drink, sink into a sofa and listen to some interesting talks.

Since then we've held a lot of talks and lectures, from producing films on a budget, selling your company to Fastly and the basics of cryptography. We've covered how to keep your mental health in check within a world of digital distractions, and partnered up with the fantastic She Does Digital to host one of our busiest events to date.

I believe everyone should have access to these kinds of events for free. Every event has been and always will be free, kept alive by sponsorship of those in the community or funded directly through Stac. I believe in the community that can exist from these types of events and I want us to have a safe space to share experiences and inspire each other, without any barriers. To this day I'm proud of every event we've hosted, and I'm committed to ensuring this continues as the wider technology community in Leeds grows.

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