December 12, 2016
Provided you like people, there is simply no replacement for meeting others in the Magento community face to face. While conferences like Imagine are a great way to spend time with our community and events like MagentoLive bring this experience a bit closer to home, meetups are local gatherings that are typically a bit more informal and also higher in frequency.
A Brief History of the Magento Meetup
Magento Meetups have existed around the world since the early days of Magento starting with Amsterdam, Netherlands and Auckland, New Zealand. The Auckland Magento User Group is still going strong, in fact I was able to visit them at the Lero9 office last month, and thus holds the title as the longest running Magento Meetup.
When I asked Kristof Ringleff, Founder of Fooman and the Auckland Magento User Group, a bit about the history, he shared:
“The first meetup was held at the Neighborhood bar on May 20, 2009. Three people attended, myself included. We talked shop over a few beers and decided we should do this again.
Back then I had just founded Fooman, my own Magento focused company. At the time, there were a couple of other well-visited meetups in Auckland, the web meetup and the PHP meetup. Both were great and well run but felt too broad to be applicable for my day to day work. Going to these I had only ever met one other person also working with Magento so I thought surely there must be more people out there working with Magento. A meetup seemed a logical thing to try to bring together like-minded developers to share stories and to provide an opportunity to learn from each other.
Favorite meetup events over the years have been our BBQ meetup each year just before the summer break and of course whenever international guests are paying us a visit. The coolest thing for me over these years has been to see how members of our group have grown from humble beginnings to established businesses, either offering Magento services or running on Magento.”
Auckland Magento User Group Organizers at MagentoLive Australia 2016
Supporting Meetup Organizers
Since starting at Magento, I’ve had several meetup organizers reach out to me in search of speakers or updates to share at their events as well as for suggestions on how to improve their meetups. The Magento Community excels in collaboration, so when Richard Carter reached out asking if we could create a group for Meetup Organizers on the forums, I happily obliged. Through this group, we’ve received great feedback on how we can better support Magento Meetup Organizers. The first step in doing so was to set up a Magento Meetup portal.
In doing so, we can direct the Magento Community to a central landing page where they can find Magento Meetups nearest them or their upcoming travels.
The next step was to create a Meetup Kit for organizers. Thanks to the input from experienced organizers Richard Carter, Phillip Jackson, Sonja Riesterer, and Kimberely Thomas we were able to round up great suggestions to other Meetup Organizers on how to prepare for, operate and grow a Magento Meetup. Our design team also put together a logo for Magento Meetups.
Step Up to the Microphone
Most recently, we’ve implemented a Speaker Directory. This directory exists to connect potential speakers with event organizers. You do not need prior speaking experience to add yourself, but we do encourage you to share any you’ve had. If you’d like to add yourself to the speaker directory as either a speaker or event organizer, please do!
What Does this Mean for You?
While I’ve personally reached out to every active (and even inactive) Magento Meetup group I could find, it’s possible this is the first you’ve heard of our efforts. Here’s what I encourage you to do:
If you’re organizing a Magento Meetup and didn’t know about the above, I encourage you to get in touch via our Meetup Portal.
If you’re looking for a Magento Meetup near you and don’t see it listed on our Meetup Portal, I encourage you to get in touch about starting one.
If you’re looking to get started speaking in the Magento world, or want to make sure event organizers know you’re interested in speaking, I encourage you to register on our Speaker Directory.
Hope to see you at a Magento Meetup soon!