Join Newsletter

About YOW!

The aim of YOW! is to bring together internationally recognised speakers and developers to encourage excellence and innovation in the local development community. We cover the emerging technologies and best practices in the software industry – regardless of technological platform or language – without commercial hype.

YOW! Conferences, Workshops & Nights are events for software developers to help them stay up-to-date with the latest practices and to network with their peers. We run these events throughout the year to showcase the current and future direction in software development and delivery.

With the changes to our lives brought about by the COVID pandemic, we introduced YOW! Online, a digital way for you to connect with our global experts, and each other.

On 7 December 2020, we announced that YOW! has joined Skills Matter. Together, we’ll be able to offer even more of the great content you’ve come to expect from us – more speakers, more training classes, and more conferences around the world. 

Following the company merger, YOW! Online became Skills Matter Premium Membership, with enhanced member benefits.

How YOW! began

YOW! was founded in 2008 by Dave Thomas, a Canadian based software visionary, in answer to pleas from local developers for Australian events featuring top quality international speakers. Each year, YOW! sponsor approximately 50 leading overseas experts to speak at different YOW! events as well as providing opportunities for local thought leaders to share the stage and present their experience.
YOW! first started in Australia in 2008 as an offshoot of the Danish JAOO (Java and Object Orientation) Conference. Dave Thomas was on the planning committee of JAOO and in response to conversations during a visit to Brisbane, he convinced JAOO to run a similar event in Australia.

Keeping up with Changes

Change happens at lightning speed in many industries but this is even more applicable in IT. However, knowing what trends and advancements to follow and adopt and what to ignore can be confusing.
YOW! aims to simplify this process. One of the ways we do this is by remaining vendor independent. You won’t find any vendor sales pitches, technology platform bias or language preferences at our events.  Speakers are chosen based on their expertise and because they can prove excellent, technically rich content, not on who has a product to sell or who is willing to sponsor an event.

Who is Dave Thomas

Dave Thomas is the founder and past CEO of OTI until it was bought out by IBM. He is Chief Scientist with Kx Systems, and Co-Founder and past Chairman of Bedarra Research Labs, creators of the Ivy visual analytics workbench.
Dave has a wide spectrum of experience in the software industry as an engineer, consultant, architect, executive and investor. With a unique ability to see the future and translate research into competitive products, Dave was recognised as an ACM Distinguished Engineer in 2006 and is on the ACM awards committee.
As well as being adjunct research professor at QUT in Australia, he is also an adjunct professor at Carleton University in Canada. Dave has been an investor and virtual executive and advisor to numerous high tech start-ups in Australia, Canada, Europe and US. He was a co-founder of the OCRI (now Invest Ottawa), and active contributor to Student Venture Competition and Lead to Win supporting start ups.

Conference Speaker Selection

YOW! uses an independent Program Committee with strong ties to the international GOTO conferences to select international speakers for each event. The 8-10 members of the Committee change frequently and are made up different nationalities, gender, technical specialties and geographic locations. This diverse mix allows us to draw on a range of experiences, contacts and expertise.
Up to 50 world class experts are selected each year. Read more about the selection process here.

YOW! is unusual in a good way

Since launching in Australia over 30,000 people have attended YOW! events and we are now the largest independent event organiser in Australia for software development.
We are able to achieve this through support from loyal company partners, over 100 usergroups, media outlets, government organisations and publishers.