This story begins seven years ago, almost to the day, when four enthusiastic Web geeks met at a pub in Walsall.

Actually, let’s rewind a little more to the 9th June 2005 at a web conference in London – the original @media where hundreds of passionate Web professionals from around the globe descended on England’s capital to discuss the latest trends online.

This was a defining era in the current web scene when Web Standards were gaining weight, when Jeffrey Zeldman‘s “blue hat” brigade were championing the best way forward, when the community were actively engaging with industry thought leaders via the blogosphere.

Having returned from the event, my motivation was at a peak. I was aware of creative hubs around the country, mostly in the South of England, but not much was happening in the Midlands. It was only through blogging that I realised there were other like-minded Web designers around the corner from me in Walsall so, naturally, I suggested a few pints down the local pub to meet in person.

This was when Paul, John, Chris and I put our heads together to establish a regular local meetup, inviting other local Web types to join us for a monthly pub crawl around the West Midlands for much beer and Web talk.

The Multipack was born.

Over the following years, the community grew vast and wide, creating friendships, partnerships, even successful startups. There have been spin-off events such as Trevor‘s annual Geek in the Park, Multipack Presents and even hyperlocal meetups in Leamington Spa and Stafford.

I can’t take any credit for this growth – it all came down to the enthusiasm of the group.

My personal commitments with a young family living further away from Birmingham restricted my involvement with the Multipack. Where possible, I would make a concerted effort to help out with Presents events, coordinating regular sponsorships from Campaign Monitor. That’s about all I can claim. Anthony has taken the reigns firmly, establishing the Multipack as the flagship Web community for the Midlands. I’m extremely impressed with his efforts (especially as he has very similar personal commitments as myself).

This isn’t a sob story, merely a retrospective crediting all those involved in something I still feel emotionally connected with. I’m hugely proud with what has become of the Multipack. I set out to connect local-minded individuals and it has done just that.

Round 3

Today, almost seven years since being established, the Multipack launched the third version of the website. It’s a shining example of what the community are capable of, collaborating to create a professional reflection of their activities.

Andy, Dan, Tom, Anthony and Ross (plus several others) worked together to create a simple yet effective website, highlighting the key purpose of the community along with links to the relative social networks. The site has adopted several modern techniques including a responsive layout and appropriate application of the delectable Open Sans web font.

The code is licensed under Creative Commons and open-sourced on Github allowing anyone to get involved by contributing updates to the site directly. Again, a subtle tip towards the engaging ethos of the community.

Personally, I’m really impressed with how all this has come together and can’t wait to see where it all goes over the next seven years.