That’s what it’s all about at our Apps & Pizza mobile meetup. Or at least what our attendees see. Let’s see what does it look like from the inside.
Who, what, why?
When we started talking about organizing a mobile meetup, we asked ourselves who’s it gonna be for. Android devs, iOS devs? Maybe only for mobile designers? It seemed like there was no space for a new mobile meetup on Zagreb’s meetup scene. You already have great Android & iOS meetups, so why organize another one?
Besides sharing knowledge, our goal was to put an emphasis on networking and ultimately bring the entire mobile community together. So why not organize a meetup that is for everyone who is involved in the mobile app production?
Mobile meetup for everyone
We believe it’s really important for developers, designers, product managers etc. who work in mobile to connect and cross-share their experiences. I’d say that one developer can learn a lot from another developer, but even more from a designer.
Here’s the deal – most of the time, we work in teams of designers, developers, PMs, testers. And that can become limited when it comes to sharing knowledge. With this mobile meetup, we wanted to bring closer not only individuals, but also entire teams – and that could be great for their efficiency, productivity, morale and togetherness.
The first Apps & Pizza meetup
It was the moment of truth. Did we recognize the need or did we fail hard? Our RSVP list on Meetup.com was promising, Facebook attendees also, but 10 minutes before the start there were only a handful of people.
Ok, not bad for the first time, but also not that great. For now.
Not to get too dramatic, crowd started showing up right before the meetup started. More than 80 people were at our office that evening, listening to interesting talks for the first time on the Apps & Pizza stage. This is when we realized we had done something good, something that was recognized in the community and rewarded in the number of guests.
Work, work, work
At first, we were mostly winging it, but now, after a couple of successful Apps & Pizza meetups, we are a little wiser and a little more organized – that’s why we keep a list of tasks we need to do before every meetup. If you are looking to organize your own meetup, keep in mind these steps.
To actually proceed with the rest of the steps, first you need to establish why and for who are you organizing this meetup. If you’re unclear about that, you won’t be able to perform other tasks properly.
It might seem odd that a name could be important, but it is. It should be sharp, direct and clear, as it will be used to generate buzz among your audience.
Promotion is extremely important, especially for your first meetup. Invest in Facebook ads, create a Meetup.com page, share info about it via appropriate Facebook groups. The first meetup needs create some traction. If you can afford to hire a professional photographer, do it. Great photos will make great promotional materials for next events.
Prepare your venue to accommodate the expected number of people. Chairs, projector, screens, air conditioning, heating, anything that might make your guests comfortable for the duration of the meetup.
Food & drink
Very basic, but very important. Our meetup usually lasts over 2 hours, so it’s important that no one gets nervous because of hunger or thirst. Obviously, our choice of food is pizza, but you can order whatever’s practical to eat with hands.
Meetups wouldn’t be meetups without beer, so besides sodas and non-alcoholic beverages, make sure you order those as well.
Delegate tasks in advance
It may seem as there’s not much work here, but when it comes to actually holding a meetup, you’ll be under pressure as you’ll want to make sure everything is going as planned.
If you have a team behind you, it’s much easier to handle everything. Have a person who will be in charge of the drinks, replacing beer kegs, etc. Also, make sure one person takes care of ordering the food prior to the meetup and welcoming the delivery guy upon arrival. You also need one person to host and moderate the meetup, and it might be nice to have a welcoming committee for the guests as well.
The challenge of finding new speakers & talks
The most challenging part of organizing a meetup is having a constant source of quality speakers. Since we are hosting developers, designers and managers at our meetup, speakers often worry if their talk would be interesting to someone who’s not from their field of work.
What we’ve seen is that design talks are interesting to everyone. They are very absorbable, there’s no need to get too technical about it and the reactions are great.
Dev talks can be made interesting if they are presented from an issue-solution point of view, something that even someone who is not a developer can understand. Also, most of the time, even technical dev talks produced great reactions if the speaker took some time to explain the problem at an abstract level to the audience.
For example, you can talk about code architectures, their implementation, show some code as well, but make sure that a designer can understand why good code architectures are necessary and what are the benefits for the developers, as well as for entire teams.
Community of mobile enthusiasts
During the previous season of Apps & Pizza, the meetup and its name gained a lot of traction and it’s getting more and more recognizable.
We are very excited when our guests gain something new at our meetup – some new value or knowledge. Building a community is hard, so we’re happy to make this little contribution to Zagreb’s mobile development enthusiasts.