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The Little Meetup That Could

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Kylie Stradley
Web Developer
MailChimp

Pamela Vickers
Software Development Manager
MailChimp

Great Wide Open 2016
Atlanta, GA
March 16th 2016

Published in: Technology
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The Little Meetup That Could

  1. 1. The Little Meetup That Could A Rails Girls Atlanta Scrapbook Kylie Stradley & Pamela Vickers @RailsGirlsATL Great Wide Open 2016
  2. 2. But before there can be a leadership board…
  3. 3. there has to be a meetup.
  4. 4. And before there can be a meetup…
  5. 5. there has to be a need.
  6. 6. Rails Girls Workshops • Founded by Linda Liukas & Karri Saarinen • November 2010 in Helsinki, Finland
  7. 7. 1st Atlanta Workshop •December 2012
  8. 8. -Everyone what now?
  9. 9. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ -Us
  10. 10. Workshop round 2 •May 2013
  11. 11. what now? -Everyone
  12. 12. ¯_(ツ)_/¯Come to our monthly meetup! -Us
  13. 13. • Paid Meetup.com account • 🍕 • Confirmed venue • Tweeted January 2013 (1st Meetup)
  14. 14. • Assigned “homework” • Scheduled a speaker January 2013 (1st Meetup)
  15. 15. January 2013 (1st Meetup) • ~20 people came • People said nice things • Used Google Hangouts for out-of-town workshop attendees
  16. 16. Short Lessons • Set expectations early
  17. 17. Short Lessons • Set expectations early • Order vegetarian options
  18. 18. Long(er) Lessons • Not every talk is for every attendee.
  19. 19. 1 month later
  20. 20. February 2013 Bug Fix • 🍕+🌽🌿🍄 🍅
  21. 21. February 2013 • Handpicked Project Euler problems
  22. 22. • Handpicked Project Euler problems • Lower attendance despite higher RSVP count than first meetup February 2013
  23. 23. 🏆 First Recruiter 🏆
  24. 24. Short Lessons • RSVP count != Attendance count (ordering food is hard) • Recruiters will find any technology meetup (but that’s not always bad)
  25. 25. Long(er) Lessons • Not every talk is for every attendee. • There’s no formula for predicting attendance numbers.
  26. 26. • Not every talk is for every attendee. • There’s no formula for predicting attendance numbers. • Don’t make assumptions about recruiters. Long(er) Lessons
  27. 27. 1 month later
  28. 28. March 2013 Bug Fix
  29. 29. 🏆Our Treasurer’s 1st RGATL 🏆
  30. 30. • Not every talk is for every attendee. • There’s no formula for predicting attendance numbers. • Don’t make assumptions about recruiters. Long(er) Lessons
  31. 31. • Not every talk is for every attendee. Why are some talks better than others for our meetup? • There’s no formula for predicting attendance numbers. • Don’t make assumptions about recruiters. Long(er) Lessons
  32. 32. 2 months later
  33. 33. May 2013 ✨New feature✨ • Rolled out ToDo List project assignment • Slowly introducing Rails into the monthly assignments
  34. 34. 1 month later
  35. 35. June 2013 ✨New feature✨ • Offered milestone 1 of the Todo List as public Github repo
  36. 36. 🏆 RGATL’s half birthday 🏆
  37. 37. 🏆 Kylie’s 1st RGATL 🏆
  38. 38. 2 months later
  39. 39. August 2013 • Continued working through and reviewing ToDo List milestones • Bootstrap talk from ATLRUG’s Patrick van Stee to prepare for front-end focused milestone
  40. 40. 🏆 Our Event Facilitator’s 1st RGATL 🏆
  41. 41. 2 months later
  42. 42. October 2013 • Jordan Killpack gave talk on building silly apps to prep for 
 our November 
 “Silly Hacks Only” aka “Wackity Hack” event
  43. 43. 🏆 1st Absentee Organizer & Community Facilitated Meetup🏆
  44. 44. 1 month later
  45. 45. November 2013 ✨New Feature✨ • Regularly scheduled meetup was too close to Thanksgiving • Saturday afternoon hack event
  46. 46. The good news:
  47. 47. The less good news:
  48. 48. Not a lot of people came to enjoy our coffee, snacks, and prizes. 😿
  49. 49. Short Lessons • Set expectations for events, especially when hoping beginners will come to a hack event
  50. 50. 1 month later
  51. 51. December 2013 ✨New Feature✨ • Talk given by one of our regularly attending members
  52. 52. 🏆 First year of RGATL 🏆
  53. 53. 🏆 Smallest Attendance of the Year 🏆
  54. 54. 🏆 First time handling the “but I saw that you had other male members, so I figured it was fine for me to come” situation. 🏆
  55. 55. • You’re going to have awkward encounters when you organize community focused groups • Set clear expectations for who should attend your meetup Short Lessons
  56. 56. • Not every talk is for every attendee. Why are some talks better than others for our meetup? • There’s no formula for predicting attendance numbers. • Don’t make assumptions about recruiters. Long(er) Lessons
  57. 57. • Not every talk is for every attendee. Why are some talks better than others for our meetup? Recycle good talks. • There’s no formula for predicting attendance numbers. • Don’t make assumptions about recruiters. Long(er) Lessons
  58. 58. • Not every talk is for every attendee. Why are some talks better than others for our meetup? Recycle good talks. • There’s no formula for predicting attendance numbers. Holidays make it even harder to predict. • Don’t make assumptions about recruiters. Long(er) Lessons
  59. 59. 1st Year Retrospective • Worked on projects and assignments as a group • Built membership base • Saw core members begin contributing in small ways
  60. 60. Release Notes • Improved food ordering • Improved expectation setting for all events • Improved meetup content
  61. 61. Release Notes • Improved food ordering • Order vegetarian options • There’s no formula for predicting attendance numbers
  62. 62. Release Notes • Improved expectation setting for all events • Who should come • What they should bring • What they will learn
  63. 63. Release Notes • Improved meetup content • Not every talk is for every attendee • Recycle good talks
  64. 64. Release Notes • Improved food ordering • Improved expectation setting for all events • Improved meetup content
  65. 65. 1 month later
  66. 66. Hothlanta 2014 January 2014
  67. 67. Let’s try this again
  68. 68. 1 month later
  69. 69. February 2014 Bug Fixes • Made meetup location private for non-members • Added some leading questions for new members: “Are you a lady? If not: who are you here with?”
  70. 70. February 2014 (With special guests from Atlanta chapters of PyLadies, WomenWhoCode, and Systers)
  71. 71. Short Lessons • Joint community events are fun • No experience required content == higher attendance and engagement
  72. 72. Long(er) Lessons • Time set aside for just conversation builds stronger community connections.
  73. 73. 1 month later
  74. 74. March 2014
  75. 75. 🏆 Our Membership Outreach Coordinator’s 1st RGATL 🏆
  76. 76. Long(er) Lessons • Time set aside for just conversation builds stronger community connections.
  77. 77. Long(er) Lessons • Time set aside for just conversation builds stronger community connections. • Our small meetup is a great place to foster new speakers.
  78. 78. And now for something completely different
  79. 79. April 2014 ✨New Feature✨
  80. 80. Later that month
  81. 81. April 2014 • ⚡ Lightning talks from four members ⚡
  82. 82. 🏆 Our Sponsorship Coordinator’s 1st RGATL 🏆
  83. 83. Long(er) Lessons • Time set aside for just conversation builds stronger community connections. • Our small meetup is a great place to foster new speakers.
  84. 84. Long(er) Lessons • Time set aside for just conversation builds stronger community connections. • Our small meetup is a great place to foster new speakers. ⚡Lightning talks⚡ are less intimidating for 1st time speakers.
  85. 85. 1 month later
  86. 86. May 2014 • ⚡ Lightning talks ⚡
  87. 87. again.
  88. 88. 1 month later
  89. 89. June 2014 • ⚡ Lightning talks ⚡
  90. 90. again?!
  91. 91. Long(er) Lessons • Time set aside for just conversation builds stronger community connections. • Our small meetup is a great place to foster new speakers. ⚡Lightning talks⚡ are less intimidating for 1st time speakers.
  92. 92. Long(er) Lessons • Time set aside for just conversation builds stronger community connections. • Our small meetup is a great place to foster new speakers. ⚡Lightning talks⚡ are less intimidating for 1st time speakers. • Recognize organizer fatigue.
  93. 93. 1 month later
  94. 94. July 2014 • Attempted to revive project based meetup • Goals: make open source contributions more accessible, work on project as a group, renew excitement around shared progress
  95. 95. July 2014 • Attempted to revive project based meetup • Goals: make open source contributions more accessible, work on project as a group, renew excitement around shared progress • Results: blank stares, intimidated members, no movement on any of the goals
  96. 96. 🏆 Our Meetup Facilitator’s 1st RGATL 🏆
  97. 97. Long(er) Lessons • Time set aside for just conversation builds stronger community connections. • Our small meetup is a great place to foster new speakers. ⚡Lightning talks⚡ are less intimidating for 1st time speakers. • Recognize organizer fatigue.
  98. 98. Long(er) Lessons • Time set aside for just conversation builds stronger community connections. • Our small meetup is a great place to foster new speakers. ⚡Lightning talks⚡ are less intimidating for 1st time speakers. • Recognize organizer fatigue. • Shape content around community’s immediate needs.
  99. 99. Over the next several months
  100. 100. Early Fall(ish) 2014 • Several great talks • Hit-or-miss on engagement
  101. 101. Short Lessons • Just because a talk is great doesn’t mean it is great for our meetup
  102. 102. Long(er) Lessons • Time set aside for just conversation builds stronger community connections. • Our small meetup is a great place to foster new speakers. ⚡Lightning talks⚡ are less intimidating for 1st time speakers. • Recognize organizer fatigue. • Shape content around community’s immediate needs.
  103. 103. Long(er) Lessons • Time set aside for just conversation builds stronger community connections. • Our small meetup is a great place to foster new speakers. ⚡Lightning talks⚡ are less intimidating for 1st time speakers. • Recognize organizer fatigue. • Shape content around community’s immediate needs.
  104. 104. At the end of the year
  105. 105. 2nd Year Retrospective • Talk based format • Became an established Atlanta meetup • More core members, and more core member involvement
  106. 106. Release Notes • Improved expectation setting for events • Patched hole in Atlanta women’s meetups landscape with supplementary social meetup • Increased speaking opportunities for members • Improved talk selection based on our community’s needs

  107. 107. Release Notes • Improved expectation setting for events • No experience required content == higher attendance and engagement • Time set aside for just conversation builds stronger community connections
  108. 108. Release Notes • Patched hole in Atlanta women’s meetups landscape with supplementary social meetup • Joint community events are fun • Time set aside for just conversation builds stronger community connections
  109. 109. Release Notes • Increased speaking opportunities for members • Our small meetup is a great place to foster new speakers • ⚡Lightning talks⚡ are less intimidating for 1st time speakers
  110. 110. Release Notes • Improved talk selection based on our community’s needs • Just because a talk is great doesn’t mean it’s great for our meetup • Recognize organizer fatigue. Otherwise, content can suffer • Shape content around community’s immediate needs

  111. 111. Release Notes • Improved expectation setting for events • Patched hole in Atlanta women’s meetups landscape with supplementary social meetup • Increased speaking opportunities for members • Improved talk selection based on our community’s needs

  112. 112. 1 month later
  113. 113. January 2015 • New Year, New Environments! • Got everyone set up to do actual Ruby on Rails development in anticipation of working through a curriculum as a group
  114. 114. Long(er) Lessons • Members who aren’t served directly by our content appreciated the opportunity to gain knowledge by volunteering.
  115. 115. 1 month later
  116. 116. Hothlanta 2015 February 2015
  117. 117. 1 month later
  118. 118. March 2015 • Community member presented on Ruby tool • Worked through RailsBridge curriculum
  119. 119. Long(er) Lessons • Members who aren’t served directly by our content appreciated the opportunity to gain knowledge by volunteering.
  120. 120. Long(er) Lessons • Members who aren’t served directly by our content appreciated the opportunity to gain knowledge by volunteering. Volunteering is easier when you have expectations about what you’ll be helping with.
  121. 121. Long(er) Lessons • Members who aren’t served directly by our content appreciated the opportunity to gain knowledge by volunteering. Volunteering is easier when you have expectations about what you’ll be helping with. • Beginners like structured learning and opportunities to get help.
  122. 122. 1 month later
  123. 123. April 2015
  124. 124. April 2015 • Held our first RailsBridge workshop with many of the coaches coming from our own Rails Girls community. • Held a meetup to keep working on the workshop materials
  125. 125. Short Lessons • Stuff happens (like a power outage resulting in no lunch 😭😭😭)
  126. 126. 1 month later
  127. 127. May 2015 • Held a meetup to keep working on the workshop materials • Ticket Giveaway for Github’s CodeConf in Nashville (several members attended)
  128. 128. Long(er) Lessons • Members who aren’t served directly by our content appreciated the opportunity to gain knowledge by volunteering. Volunteering is easier when you have expectations about what you’ll be helping with. • Beginners like structured learning and opportunities to get help.
  129. 129. Long(er) Lessons • Members who aren’t served directly by our content appreciated the opportunity to gain knowledge by volunteering. Volunteering is easier when you have expectations about what you’ll be helping with. • Beginners like structured learning and opportunities to get help.
  130. 130. Long(er) Lessons • Members who aren’t served directly by our content appreciated the opportunity to gain knowledge by volunteering. Volunteering is easier when you have expectations about what you’ll be helping with. • Beginners like structured learning and opportunities to get help. • Going to a meetup alone for the first time is intimidating; going to a conference alone for the first time is more intimidating.
  131. 131. 1 month later
  132. 132. June 2015 • Presentation: “Git Workflow: Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Ogre” • Workshop: “Git-it Git & GitHub”
  133. 133. June 2015
  134. 134. June 2015
  135. 135. Short Lessons • It is possible to have too much of a good thing
  136. 136. 1 month later
  137. 137. July 2015 • One of our most popular presentations “A Day in the Life of a Full Time Developer”
  138. 138. July 2015
  139. 139. 🏆 Communication Coordinator’s 1st RGATL 🏆
  140. 140. Long(er) Lessons • Members who aren’t served directly by our content appreciated the opportunity to gain knowledge by volunteering. Volunteering is easier when you have expectations about what you’ll be helping with. • Beginners like structured learning and opportunities to get help. • Going to a meetup alone for the first time is intimidating; going to a conference alone for the first time is more intimidating.
  141. 141. Long(er) Lessons • Members who aren’t served directly by our content appreciated the opportunity to gain knowledge by volunteering. Volunteering is easier when you have expectations about what you’ll be helping with. • Beginners like structured learning and opportunities to get help. • Going to a meetup alone for the first time is intimidating; going to a conference alone for the first time is more intimidating. • The best talks for a technology meetup aren’t always technology focused.
  142. 142. 1 month later
  143. 143. August 2015 Bug Fix
  144. 144. August 2015 • Try out “new” study group/team ongoing project format • Provided opportunity for members to sign up as participants or coaches
  145. 145. August 2015
  146. 146. August 2015
  147. 147. 2 months later
  148. 148. October 2015 • Andy Lindeman presented “Intro to Automated Testing with RSpec” (requested topic)
  149. 149. Long(er) Lessons • Members who aren’t served directly by our content appreciated the opportunity to gain knowledge by volunteering. Volunteering is easier when you have expectations about what you’ll be helping with. • Beginners like structured learning and opportunities to get help. • Going to a meetup alone for the first time is intimidating; going to a conference alone for the first time is more intimidating. • The best talks for a technology meetup aren’t always technology focused.
  150. 150. Long(er) Lessons • Members who aren’t served directly by our content appreciated the opportunity to gain knowledge by volunteering. Volunteering is easier when you have expectations about what you’ll be helping with. • Beginners like structured learning and opportunities to get help. • Going to a meetup alone for the first time is intimidating; going to a conference alone for the first time is more intimidating. • The best talks for a technology meetup aren’t always technology focused. • Make it easy for your community to tell you what they need.
  151. 151. 2 months later
  152. 152. December 2015
  153. 153. Short Lessons • We still don’t know how to host a hackathons
  154. 154. Long(er) Lessons • Members who aren’t served directly by our content appreciated the opportunity to gain knowledge by volunteering. Volunteering is easier when you have expectations about what you’ll be helping with. • Beginners like structured learning and opportunities to get help. • Going to a meetup alone for the first time is intimidating; going to a conference alone for the first time is more intimidating. • The best talks for a technology meetup aren’t always technology focused. • Make it easy for your community to tell you what they need.
  155. 155. Long(er) Lessons • Members who aren’t served directly by our content appreciated the opportunity to gain knowledge by volunteering. Volunteering is easier when you have expectations about what you’ll be helping with. • Beginners like structured learning and opportunities to get help. • Going to a meetup alone for the first time is intimidating; going to a conference alone for the first time is more intimidating. • The best talks for a technology meetup aren’t always technology focused. • Make it easy for your community to tell you what they need. • Sometimes, Rails Girls just want to have fun
  156. 156. 3rd Year Retrospective • Structured-learning-with- occasional-talks based format • Hosted a RailsBridge workshop • Put plans in motion to share organization responsibilities
  157. 157. Release Notes • Improved volunteering opportunities for members • Provided space for members to request content • Improved food ordering • Added opportunities for community members to organize and lead
  158. 158. Release Notes • Improved volunteering opportunities for members • Members who aren’t served directly by our content appreciated the opportunity to gain knowledge by volunteering • Volunteering is easier when you have expectations about what you’ll be helping with • Beginners like structured learning and opportunities to get help
  159. 159. Release Notes • Provided space for members to request content • The best talks for a technology meetup aren’t always technology focused • Make it easy for your community to tell you what they need
  160. 160. Release Notes • Improved food ordering
  161. 161. Release Notes • Improved volunteering opportunities for members • Provided space for members to request content • Improved food ordering • Added opportunities for community members to organize and lead
  162. 162. Release Notes • Improved volunteering opportunities for members • Provided space for members to request content • Improved food ordering • Added opportunities for community members to organize and lead
  163. 163. Chae, Treasurer
  164. 164. Megan, Communication Coordinator
  165. 165. Britni, Event Facilitator
  166. 166. Mallory, Membership Outreach Coordinator
  167. 167. Kristin, Meetup Facilitator
  168. 168. Anika, Sponsorship Coordinator
  169. 169. Kylie, Co-Director
  170. 170. WIP • Board terms and responsibility handoff • Sponsorship • Attaining • Maintaining • Processing and accessing funds • ✨https://opencollective.com/railsgirlsatl✨

  171. 171. WIP • Setting up formalized conference buddy system when we’re given tickets (thanks GWO for all the tickets!) • Hackathons: how even
  172. 172. 👋 hello@railsgirlsatl.com 🐦 @RailsGirlsATL 💰 opencollective.com/railsgirlsatl Kylie Stradley
 kylie@railsgirlsatl.com
 Software Engineer MailChimp
 @kyfast Pamela Vickers
 pamela@railsgirlsatl.com
 Software Engineering Manager
 MailChimp
 @pwnela ⓚ ⓟ

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