Organizing a Remote Meetup for Elm

tl;dr - DailyDrip is organizing a Remote Meetup for Elm. We think it will be on Monday, June 6, at 1PM CST. If you’re interested, get involved in the #remote-meetup channel on the elm slack. Here’s how we’re organizing it.

Intro

One thing we’re doing at DailyDrip is organizing remote meetups to bring together developers that don’t necessarily have a huge community near them for a given topic. This is useful for us for a few reasons:

  • We love talking to other developers.
  • For niche programming languages, even developers in a major metropolitan area are not likely to have a critical mass.
  • For more mainstream programming languages, if you’re not in a big city there’s still no one to talk to.
To help solve this problem, DailyDrip is going to experiment with sponsoring and hosting remote meetups for a variety of topics that we cover.

Context

Some context is useful here.

I am based out of Birmingham, AL, USA. It’s a great town, and I love it. I got really interested in Ruby, but didn’t know any other Rubyists nearby.

So 10 years ago I started the Birmingham Ruby Users’ Group (RubyHam), which over time became the Birmingham Open Source Software meetup. We’ve got 505 members now, so it’s doing OK, though at a given meetup there’s still not a ton of people getting together.

Anyway, the point is, this is a problem that I know extremely well. I’m from a far more populated area than the average programmer in America, probably, and it turns out the world’s way bigger than America. So this is actually a widespread problem for developers.

How we're solving it

To help solve this problem, DailyDrip is going to experiment with sponsoring and hosting remote meetups for a variety of topics that we cover. As the first part of this experiment, we’re putting one together for the Elm programming language. We’re doing it out in the open; hopefully we can provide a framework for these.

First off, I mentioned in the #general channel on the elm slack that I was interested in creating a remote meetup. I created a #remote-meetup channel and invited some people in and told everyone that we were going to organize in the channel.

As soon as that was done, I made a public Google Doc and pinned it in slack. From there, I started outlining how everything would work and people started chiming in.

We needed to figure out what day to have it, so I started asking people for options. @fredcy suggested polling people on their preferred day of the week, so I made this Google Form:

Survey to determine preferred day of the week

European timing snafu

I pasted the link to the form in the doc, and people started filling it out (I got 14 responses in just a day or so). This resulted in data that showed that most people preferred Monday for the meetup, and it also was the 3rd choice for most people, so we’ve got a day of the week determined with data!

Next, I ran into a bit of a snafu.

As it turns out, my suggested meetup time was terrible for some extremely involved members of the community. @pootsbook chimed in with a great suggestion that we have it around noon in the US, which works out pretty well for a majority of the people involved. So now we had a time!

At the bottom of the doc, I’d left a spot for some people to volunteer to give presentations. I was thrilled to see that as of now, I have the following in there:

Presentation suggestions

So with that, we have a proposed time, date, and talks. But how do we actually pull off the technical bits of running a remote meetup?

I’ve done this at a small scale with the local group a couple of times, so my proposal as it stands is as follows:

  • We’ll set up a Google Hangouts On Air. The host and speakers will be in this hangout, so we can control who’s presenting, share screens, etc.
  • Everyone else will watch the hangout via YouTube, and interact via the #remote-meetup slack channel.

I think this will provide a lot of the benefits of a local meetup, but be globally accessible. Like with all experiments, I’m sure we’ll find some stuff that really sucks about the first iteration. I just wanted to discuss it in the open to tell everyone what we’re doing and ask for people to get involved.

  • Have you run a remote meetup before? I’d love to know what we’re planning that’s a terrible idea.
  • Are you an elm developer? Let’s try to get a ton of people together and have a great time talking about elm.
  • Are you interested in running your own remote meetups? Hopefully the experiments we do on these out in the open will help people figure out a format that works in a repeatable manner.

Just to reiterate - if you want to attend the remote elm meetup, please join the elm slack and get on the #remote-meetup channel.

Thanks for reading. Let’s figure it out!


DailyDrip provides daily continuing education for busy technical professionals. We’ve got 10 weeks of content for Elm so far (currently re-writing it all to be 0.17-friendly, should be done in a couple of weeks), and over 29 hours of content for Elixir. Subscribers help us spend our time trying to do awesome things like this for the community - we’d love your support! (and money)