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Peer Labs
Running the peer labs meetup at Artsy

For over five years, Artsy has hosted a "peer lab" every Saturday morning. The meetup is organized mainly by Ash through the NYC CocoaPods Meetup group. The peer lab is "a place to learn but not be taught", where developers of all backgrounds bring their work and help each other when they get stuck. Artsy provides the space, the wifi, the coffee, and some pizza.

You can read more about why we started peer labs in this blog post. Since that post was written, Ash has used the New York peer lab as a jumping off point to create a worldwide network of meetups, organized through peerlab.community.

Most Saturdays, Ash runs the meetup with Artsy Engineers regularly helping out. Check out the #peer-labs Slack channel.

Running a Peer Lab

  • Arrive by 10:15am. The meetup instructions specify attendees are not to show up before 10:30, but they often show up early.
  • Brew the coffee. This is very important.
  • Grab the power strips and sticker box from the closet on 24. Leave them out for people to use. There are sheets with wifi info on them in the box, too.
  • As people arrive, be on the look out for anyone looking confused. These are first-timers. Introduce them to the meetup and direct them to find a seat to get working.
  • At 11:30, gather everyone for a standup.
    • Kick things off by introducing yourself and what you're working on today.
    • Ask if anyone has dietary restrictions.
    • Wish everyone luck.
  • After standup, order pizza on Seamless. Ash's account has approval for it. Saluggi's is our go-to spot. Generally we estimate 1 pizza per 8 people - 3 is almost always the right number. Cutting slices in half also helps make sure everyone gets the right amount.
  • Around 1:30, or whenever you feel like leaving, wrap up. Put the stickers and power strips away. Clean up the kitchen. Before you go, do a quick sweep of the meeting rooms to make sure everyone is out and no one's left a mess.
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