Running a Go Meetup
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Running a Go Meetup

After running multiple Go meetups for years, I get asked a lot of the same questions over and over. I'm hoping that this document will assist in helping other Go enthusiasts run or start their own meetups. This guide can be applied to virtually any meetup, just replace Go with your topic of choice!

Am I qualified run a meetup?

YES! Anyone that has the desire and ambition to run a meetup is automatically qualified! When I started my first meetup, not only had I only ever been to one meetup in my life, I was also brand new to the open source world. I didn't know the first thing about running a meetup, and I was still successful.

What event site should I use for hosting the group?

Meetup.com. This is a must in my opinion. Yes, it is not free, but the price is nominal, and you can usually find a sponsor to pay for it as well. The biggest thing they do for you is cross promote your meetup. If there are any other meetups in your area, you will quickly see how fast you get members without doing anything. They also have fantastic tools that allow your group to continue to interact socially after you have your meetups.

I have seen some groups use eventbrite.com. I've found that they do a good job of non-reoccurring events, but fall short with something like a meetup.

Where do I host my meetup?

My experience has been that there is never a shortage of places willing to host a meetup. The first place to look is where other meetups in your area are hosting their meetups. Contact the organizers of those meetups and ask if they would introduce you to their hosts. With today's tech market, everyone wants to bring in developers to their workspace!

How do I get sponsors?

This can take a little more work, but the first stop is your current employer! Even $100 is a great start to buy a couple pizzas and some refreshments. Be sure to approach any company that currently has a Go project or is hiring Go developers. I've also found that any company that does recruiting usually has a budget to support meetups. I'm hoping to work on a project next year that allows us to have a world wide fund for meetups that are getting started, but I can't make any assurance that endeavor will be successful.

How do I find speakers?

This is the #1 question I get after the meetup is created. It's easier than you might think to find speakers, but it does require a little work. Most important is simply letting the world know you need speakers. Luckily, meetup and twitter make this a trivial task.

Meetup.com

This is a sample email that I like to send for my meetups.

You can send this directly from meetup.com using the Group Tools -> Email Members.

This is taken from the Minneapolis meetup I help run:

From: Cory LaNou <Minneapolis-Ultimate-Golang-announce@meetup.com>
Date: Tue, Aug 9, 2016 at 3:59 PM
Subject: [Minneapolis-Ultimate-Golang] Open Speaker Slots and Topic Requests
To: Minneapolis-Ultimate-Golang-announce@meetup.com


It is that time again! Where you get a lovely email from us asking for speakers for this month's meet up. We have not just 1... not 2... but 3 SLOTS OPEN! We have two 10 minute talk slots and one 30-40 min slot open. We can be flexible and do two longer talks as well.

If you would like to speak or need some ideas, please message any of the leadership team and we would be happy to brainstorm with you! We'll gladly share some of the ideas that people are requesting!

Interested in a specific topic to be presented?  Let us know and we'll line up presenters on the topics that are most requested!

Remember, you do not need to be an expert to give a talk.  We welcome all experience levels!  We would love for you to share your experience with Go and your project (good or bad).

Here is the upcoming meetup: http://www.meetup.com/Minneapolis-Ultimate-Golang/events/233021864/

-- Cory

Twitter

What should my agenda look like?

Here is sample agenda:

Agenda

• 6:30 - Meet and Greet. Enjoy refreshments and snacks.
• 7:00 - 7:10 - Announcements
    • Thank You!
    • Where are the bathrooms
    • Host Announcements 
    • Job Openings / Hiring Announcements
    • Events / Training.
    • Announce next meetup.
• 7:10 - 7:20 - Introductions
• 7:20 - 7:30 - Lighting talk #1
• 7:30 - 7:40 - Lighting talk #2
• 7:40 - 8:20 - Speaker Spotlight
• 8:20 - 9:00 - Wrap up, round table discussions, questions, pair programming, social interaction

Parking Options/Restrictions

Directions on how to find the host and room, such as entry codes, elevator locations, etc.

Additional Resources

Here is an actual agenda from a past Denver Go Meetup:

Agenda

• 6:30 - Meet and Greet. Drink some beer and eat some pizza compliments of Bitly.

• 7:00 - 7:10 - Announcements

• Job Openings - (bit.ly/denver-go-jobs)

• Training - Hardcore Go Bootcamps

• 7:10 - 7:25 - Goroutines, Channels Oh my! - Austin Riendeau

• • 7:25 - 7:55 - Goa, a productivity upgrade for API design and code generation. - Tony Worm

• 7:55 - 8:10 - Practical Interfaces - Aaron Ellis (Aaron Ellis LLC) 

• 8:20 - 9:00 - Wrap up, round table discussions, questions, pair programming, social interaction

Parking

The closest parking garage is in the building itself but its $3 for every 15 minutes. There are several street parking spots around the building as well as a couple of other parking garages.

Comcast Viper

The Viper office is located on the second floor of 1515 Wynkoop.  The doors to the building will be open until 7pm.  After 7pm you can gain access to the building by ringing the door bell, a security guard will be present to let you in.

Additional Resources 

Slack Channel for Gophers - gophers.slack.com 
To get added, fill out the Google form here: bit.ly/go-slack-signup

Go Forum - This is new! It's a discourse forum for Go!

https://forum.golangbridge.org

Be sure when creating the agenda to link each speakers name to either their twitter or github profile if they provide it.

How should I prep the speakers?

Communicate the essentials to them well in advance

A sample email to presenters might look like:


$SPEAKER:

Thanks for getting involved in the local Go community. Here are a few details you will find useful:

- The event is Nevuary 1st at 6:30pm
- Please arrive at the venue by 6:15pm
- It is in the Capitol Park neighborhood at: 123 First Street, Anytown, CA 
- Parking is limited. Public transit is much easier.
- My mobile number is 555-555-1212. Feel free to reach out if something comes up.
- You will have 45 minutes total. I would suggest 35 minutes of presentation and 10 minutes for questions at the end.
- Expect a group of around 50 attendees with varying levels of expertise.
- For projecting your laptop there will be HDMI hookups or AirPlay.
- Please review our Code of Conduct: https://golang.org/conduct

And importantly, relax and have fun! Everyone is there to enjoy themselves and they do next expect a perfect presentation!


Here are a couple of resources you might find useful in preparing your presentation:
- http://blog.ted.com/a-ted-speaker-coach-shares-11-tips-for-right-before-you-go-on-stage
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20GYQcBhXDo


Thanks!

$ORGANIZER


Include a link to one or two of the following resources

Ok, the meetup is scheduled, what else can I do to make it successful?

As soon as you have a speaker booked, update your meetup event with their details. Additionally, make sure to tweet about it. A good tweet should have the following components when possible:

  • Presenters twitter handle
  • Presenters topic
  • Presenters company twitter handle (optional)
  • Twitter handle of the meetup
  • Twitter handle of the company hosting the meetup
  • Twitter handle of the company sponsoring the meetup
  • Twitter hashtag #golang
  • Photo - either the meetup logo or something pertinent to the announcement. This may seem trivial but tweets with images get way more clicks!
  • Link to the meetup event

You won't always be able to fit everything in 140 characters, but get creative! You will also notice that the tweet may or may not come from the twitter handle of the group. You may find that tweeting from your account, and then retweeting from the groups account may or may not be more effective. I would mix it up and see what works best.

Here are a couple of previous sample tweets:

https://twitter.com/corylanou/status/652185585826799616

See @Influxdb's @benbjohnson present at the next @DenverGophers meetup hosted by @SendGridJobs on October 22 http://www.meetup.com/Denver-Go-Language-User-Group/events/225072795/ … #golang

https://twitter.com/ChicagoGolang/status/755409437888831488

see @varunksaini talk about Service Discovery, Consul, #golang tonight! Hosted by @MediaMath http://www.meetup.com/Chicago-Ultimate-Golang/events/232172595/ …

The event day is here, what do I do?

First, congratulations on getting here! I'm sure you are both excited and nervous now that the big day is here!

Here are some tips for making your first meetup successful:

  1. Make sure you are easily identifiable as the organizer. It can be as simple as greeting everyone at the door and letting them know you are the organizer.
  2. Make use of name tags. This is a tried and true practice. Since everyone is new to the group, it also helps people get to know each other faster. Also ask people to put the company they work for on their name tag if they feel comfortable doing so.
  3. Let everyone know to enjoy the refreshments compliments of your sponsor.
  4. If possible, have your next meetup already scheduled so you can announce it, as well as ask for speakers.
  5. Do introductions. Go around the room and have everyone state their name, what they have done with Go if anything, and maybe a fun fact about them. This is a great ice breaker. Many meetups do this until they get too large to do it (30 people or more in my experience).
  6. Take pictures of all the presenters as they present, and if possible, live tweet the event!

Announcement Time

Be sure to try to cover the following items when you make announcements. Feel free to put them in the actual agenda so you don't forget them.

  • Thank everyone for coming.
  • Thank the sponsors.
  • Thank the host.
  • Point out where the bathrooms are.
  • Make any necessary announcements about facility restrictions, parking restrictions, etc. You want everyone to have a great time and a parking ticket makes for an unhappy attendee!
  • Make sure everyone knows when to leave. Having a specific time to shut the doors is important. Remember that the host likely has someone there just to lock the doors and they can't go home until everyone is gone!

Live Tweeting

What to include in a live tweet for presenters:

  • Presenters twitter handle
  • Presenters topic
  • Presenters company twitter handle (optional)
  • Twitter handle of the meetup
  • Twitter handle of the company hosting the meetup
  • Twitter handle of the company sponsoring the meetup
  • Twitter hastag #golang
  • Photo of the presenter in action!

It's important to have a basic understanding of how the twitter website works. There are some quirks that one needs to be aware of before socially engaging with Meetup members on Twitter.

Here's an example tweet: https://twitter.com/corylanou/status/691799977094451202

@varunksaini presenting Writing an HTTPS Server in #golang at @ChicagoGolang hosted by @MediaMath

What's the issue with this tweet? If you're using the website, this tweet will not appear on the main timeline of your twitter stream. The tweet was sent directly to @varunksaini and won't appear unless you go to Tweets and Replies tab of your twitter page.

Example of a better tweet: https://twitter.com/FraminghamGo/status/785982785148248065

.@markbates stepping up as the first speaker ever!

Note the leading . in front of @markbates - This prevents it from being a directed tweet and it's viewable directly on your twitter profile page without having to go to Tweets and Replies. Those following along on twitter will also be able to see that directly on their timeline.

The meetup is over, now what?

  • Post twitter thank you to speakers/host
  • Post photos to meetup page
  • To to meetup and click the Good to see you buttons.

Tweet follow up and thank you!

Be sure to tweet a thank you to each speaker, include in the tweet:

  • Presenters twitter handle
  • Presenters topic
  • Link to presenters slides if they are available
  • Twitter handle of the meetup
  • Twitter handle of the company hosting the meetup
  • Twitter handle of the company sponsoring the meetup
  • Twitter hashtag #golang

Do this for each presenter.

Example Tweet: https://twitter.com/MinneapolisGo/status/720413866040004609

Slides from @corylanou's Go Introduction presented at @DevOpsMSP http://go-talks.appspot.com/github.com/corylanou/go-intro-lightning/presentation.slide#1 … #golang

How can I get the presentations recorded?

It's possible to do this yourself, but a local videographer will do a professional job. Reach out to a local videographer. Get a price quote. Then reach out to sponsors; letting them know their company will be associated with the video production.

A few suggestions:

  • High quality audio is important. Use a lav mic. If working with a videographer, specify this in the quote.
  • Keep editing/post production to a minimum. This will increase costs and turn-around time.
  • Upload the presentations to YouTube and include a link to the slides in the description.

How do I get a logo created?

A simple logo can be inexpensively commissioned using a site like fiverr. Be sure and point the designer at the available gopher vector art.

Are there other things to do at a meetup other than having speakers?

Sometimes, you just can't find a speaker. It happens. But that is no reason to cancel the meetup for the month! Here are some other great activities to host at your meetup:

  • Open Source Hackathon. Pick from any of these great oss go projects that need help and contribute! Work as a group! It's a great way to learn and bond with your fellow gophers!
  • Q&A Session. Find one person, or a handful that would be willing to sit at the front of the room and just field questions about Go. This can be a lot of fun, and a great way for people of all expertise levels to find answers to questions on their current projects.
  • Basic Social. Just have refreshments and food and talk about anything!
  • Contribute to Go Workshop. The following instructions will get a group going for their first contribution to Go.

Community Resources

Maintaining a community resource document is super important. This will list all of the online and local resources for the group.

Good ideas for content:

  • Online resources such as Slack, Go Forums, Groups Twitter Page, Meetup Pages
  • Events, such a Training, etc.
  • Local Job Listings. I try to only list jobs of companies that are actively involved in the local community, but you can use your own judgement here.
  • Special offers

Here are a few that I maintain already:

  • Denver Go Jobs - This is really Denver Go Resources but since it started as a local Go job listing I haven't changed the name.
  • Minneapolis Golang - This is the newer format I've started maintaining and I really like it.

My meetup only gets a few people, did I do something wrong?

No! Starting a meetup takes patience and perseverance! The first year of running the Denver Go meetup I don't think we had more than 10 people show up at any give time. In fact, many times it was just 4 or 5 people. The most important thing is to not give up!

I've tried everything, I still feel like I'm failing!

Don't despair! We are here to help. Reach out to us on slack - meetup-organizers channel and ask for help! We want you to succeed!