Monday, November 19th, 2012
Each night there are about seven geek/startup events held in Australian capital cities.
A significant expansion of geek networking is underway. An important part of the trend is a national talk-circuit-cum-social-network called Port80.

Web geeks around the country are getting together in the flesh (“meat space”) and creating community. Meeting people and over time, making friends and connections. Although most attendees work in web design and development, attendance is open to anyone interested in the web. “They’re events for people whose eyes do not glaze over”, says Bret Treasure, who chairs the industry association that runs the events.

“There is a professional development dimension, but geeks are becoming increasingly social. They come for the content. They stay for the community. The web community is no longer dominated by introverts. Contemporary appreciation of design (mobile phones/Apple) and the ubiquity of social media have put geeks in the mainstream. They’re not shy; their knowledge is appreciated and they enjoy sharing it.”

Port80 started in Perth in 2002 as a casual meetup in a pub and early this year spread to Melbourne. The first meetings are about to be held in Sydney and Adelaide. Brisbane follows next year.

Port80 meetings are monthly, but the fervent geek could fill most of their evenings with smaller meetups; particularly in Sydney, or Melbourne.

While Port80 aims for a buzzier networking experience (40 to 100 people), the smaller groups share an interest in particular content management systems, programming languages, frameworks or disciplines like Agile, Lean, User Experience and Accessibility.

Port80 generally involves cheap or free beer, depending on sponsorship arrangements. Some are held in incubator spaces, like the Workbench in Sydney and Spacecubed in Perth.

Treasure says: “We like these spaces because they mix web people and the startup community. There’s overlap between the two cultures; they’re both change agents.

“These meetings are a consequence of the recent broadening of the IT sector but they’re also a pre-cursor to geeks becoming more culturally influential and professionally organized.”

People interested in Port80 can sign up at




Contact Profile

Australian Web Industry Association

The Australian Web Industry Association aims to educate the public about the web industry and help members with professional development. It does this through Port80 networking events, the Edge of the Web Conference and the Australian Web Awards, which recognise excellence in web development and design across the country. AWIA represents over 600 companies and freelancers.
Bret Treasure
P: 040 990 8133


Port80, Australian Web Industry Association



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