Developer-specific meetups?


#1

I’m wondering if there’s any scope for more developer-oriented meetups at the Digital Greenhouse. I’m finding that since Beer Code Design merged with Lightbulb Nights, most of the developers who used to go to those meetups seem to have disappeared. I don’t know if it’s due to the time slot or what - I personally find 6-8pm quite an awkward time - but as a result Lightbulb seems to be more of a maker audience now. There’s some overlap for sure but I think there’s a gap for more focussed mid-level developer talks. The DG has plenty of entry-level developer stuff going on, and yeah some developers are also makers (I’m not), but there isn’t very much for developers with say 6m+ experience under their belt and really focussed on software dev.

I’ve thought about proposing more dev-focussed topics for Lightbulb but I think it would be too specific, it might not interest some of the people that go along to that, and given that so many devs from the BCD group don’t go to Lightbulb they’d miss out too.

So I’m thinking maybe a lunchtime thing, which is probably an easier slot for most people to just drop in on since most are probably around town, so more conducive to quite specialised topics than a 2h evening slot.

Subjects I’d be willing to pitch in:

  • One or more Git talks (including maybe Git LFS which I’m a contributor to)
  • Introduction to the Go language
  • Graphics / game dev
  • Lightning talks on specific interesting algorithms or development techniques
  • Product development (customer focussed, how to decide what to make, etc)
  • Experience selling independent software online to many countries, app stores vs roll your own

I’m sure plenty of other developers could pitch in specific talks too.

Thoughts & interest level? I’m a bit sad that the BCD group seems to have dissipated and would like to rekindle that a bit, and feel it needs a more specific pitch / different time slot than Lightbulb.


Lunch && code - 26th October
#2

Hi Steve, I have pondered, and indeed articulated, similar thoughts before. I do really enjoy the Lightbulb nights with the range of topics there, but I was thinking last night of a talk I could do, then paused considering all the terms I’d need to explain to such a mixed audience. It’s great having a mixed audience, but yeah, I’d be very interested in such a focused meetup too.

Personally, I’d love to go to a meetup that covers the gamut of software engineering topics that software creators encounter - I have a particular interest in UX and UI design and I find processes so fascinating as they’re never quite done right (so much time is spent searching for a perfect methodology but I don’t believe any such methodology exists) - which I’m guessing BCD was about (BCD had stopped before I arrived back in Guernsey, but I was excited to look at those meetups and think about going!)?

Oh, and I’m looking into and trying to persuade my follow dev and DevOps teams to implement Git LFS, so, yeah, bring on such a talk :slight_smile:

And re time, I have commented that I too find the 6pm starts very tricky, but for me something slightly later would be great (and perhaps more conducive to nipping for for :beer: :wine_glass: :tropical_drink: :curry: afterwards).


#3

Sounds interesting. I know we discussed more focussed session of this type as a breakout from Lightbulb last year but never really went anywhere with them.

Lunch time sessions also sound good as i never seem to make evening events any more.


#4

Cool, yeah you were one of the people I thought would have a lot of interesting stuff to share. Another thing I thought about was how people could maybe introduce a less mainstream language they’ve used before as an interest piece, it’s fun to learn about that stuff even if you don’t use it. Every language was created for a reason and has its own angle, it’s interesting to compare/contrast.

I too would find a 7:30pm+ slot much easier but my experience with trying that (albeit back in 2008 ish) was that it tended to lose a bunch of people too, I think lunchtimes are the easiest for the widest audience - at least for talks. Maybe a later evening slot for just social would work though, as a separate thing.

I think if at least ~5-7 people are willing to make a commitment to come it’ll be worth doing, since by nature more specific presentations take some work to put together. The last time I did this (again back in 2007/8) it petered out and I ended up giving a Subversion talk to 2 people, which is when I called it a day :wink:


#5

Count me in. While I do enjoy some of the Lightbulb Nights I miss the more focused BCD ones. Lunchtime sounds perfect as I’m struggling with the evening ones at the moment.

I’d be willing to contribute too, off the top of my head I could do something on Sublime Text and Ruby (on/off Rails?).

There was natterings of game dev meet-ups a couple of months ago, I’m not sure what’s happening on that front though…


#6

I totally get that everyone here seems to be missing the more focused dev stuff. We’e tried to keep Lightbulb night as an eclectic mix so that there is something for everyone but that natural effect can be that subjects are only lightly covered. I’m very conscious that it’s become very maker focused - and we’re trying to avoid that - but it really comes down to people stepping up and bringing in contacts that they know. Unfortunately, as you’ve indicated, most people seem to think either that they can get across their enthusiasm for their subject in a short period, or don’t think enough people would be interested.

I’d definitely be interested in coming along to a developer focus group but the stress and anxiety that Lightbulb Nights, and previous developer group, has induced in me means that I wont be volunteering to help organise another meet-up group.

My heart is still with Lightbulb Nights and I hope you’ll all still find the time to come along - it is the people that attend the nights that make the event, not the speakers.


#7

Yeah, @adrianritchie, I enjoy Lightbulb and would continue to attend (and last night was a great example of interesting talks and the equally interesting discussions that come off that or from nowhere).

The lunchtimes thing may be a bit tricky for me as I’d need to get into Town (I assume) and in and out of the talk at a time when some of my staff start work (East Coast waking up, basically) and I chat to them first thing. I may be able to book it off but I probably couldn’t spend two hours + travel. That doesn’t exclude lunch-times, though, it’s just something I’d have to figure out.

Of course, I do wonder if the times could be alternated? Or lightening talks at lunch, longer topics in an occasional evening?
I’m just suggesting options here though. As with a perfect development methodology it seems a perfect meeting time is elusive, too! :wink:

(and I somehow managed to skip over your mention of lunchtimes, @stevestreeting, in my first reply)

If it was at lunchtimes, I would try to arrange things so be able to make at least some - I’m not saying it’s impossible!


#8

Yeah this isn’t meant to detract from Lightbulb at all, it’s simply that I don’t see most of the developers who used to come to BCD and I miss that. I don’t know precisely why that community didn’t transition fully to Lightbulb, I’ve pinged a bunch of them on Twitter and hope to find out. If it’s that they’d find shorter more developer-centric sessions at lunchtime easier to attend then I’m happy to help with that to try to keep a dev community alive.

I’m happy to organise if there’s enough interest.


#9

My gut feeling is that lunchtime is easiest for most people. I’m not in town by day either so I’d have to make the trip but I think it would be the best chance of getting people to come. I might be wrong though, hopefully more people will chime in.


#10

thanks for kicking off the discussion steve. I think a separate tech focussed gathering can co-exist with LightBulbs. I’d certainly carry on attending LightBulbs as there’s always something of interest on the agenda.

I had been talking to a few people about kicking off a dev focussed gathering (but alas have made nothing happen!). My thoughts we to try and create something with as much focus on showcasing/showing off the current state of their pet projects as lining up tech talks. I was initially thinking of a game dev focussed gathering as there are a few of us with creations morphing away in the dark, but don’t think it should be restricted to that.

I’d hope it would help motivate and fuel people to push on with pet projects and also provide opportunity to get some friendly feedback from a tame group and develop/evolve their ideas. It would also provide a place to help people get going and some direction.

I’m pretty flexible on timings and happy to run with what is most inclusive.


#11

Thanks Marc. I feel like showcasing projects is a fine fit for Lightbulb, I think it’s when you start to drill down into implementation details that it starts to stray outside a more general audience. Maybe it would be worth presenting projects like that at both, covering just the showcasing bit at Lightbulb and maybe digging into some of the development detail at a dev meetup?

I think that’s the advantage of having both - for example for me it’s fun to hear at Lightbulb about some of the maker projects at a high level, but when someone starts to dig into fabrication nuances or capacitor ratings I totally glaze over. I figure for non-software developers they’d like to hear about the projects but will have a similar reaction to code implementation details. I think when you get down to the detail, specialisation helps.


#12

A fair shout, I understand your thinking. Will also help keep LightBulbs marching on too (I stopped myself making a keeping the lights on joke).


#13

I would also be interested in developer-oriented meetups.

Thursday nights have unfortunately not been good for me as it has clashed with Sailing races and now the Yachtmaster night class I am doing.


#14

Lunch time would work better for me at the moment, I haven’t made it to many of the recent Lightbulbs partly because I have been busier in the evenings and I have lost some motivation in going to them.

I would be interested in coming to a lunch time dev focused meeting.


#15

OK great, looks like there’s enough interest, and that lunchtimes are probably the best time for most - sorry @RobR, hope you can arrange to come anyway.

I’m going to talk to Keith & find out when there would be a free slot, I’m thinking we set a regular time once a month. Given that it’s a lunchtime we’ll need to be a bit ruthless about starting on time and setting a time limit for talks, but that can be no bad thing.

How about a 12:30 start, 15m for social, a talk window at 12:45-13:15 which can be flexible, either 1 in depth talk or 2-3 10 minute lightning talks / project presentations. I think 10m lightning talks are a great way to lower the anxiety bar for people who maybe aren’t used to doing talks, or where you’ve got something to talk about but not for 30 minutes. 15m at the end for mop-up, questions, social etc. 15m breathing room at the start/end gives people a bit of flexibility if they have trouble getting away or needing to get back etc (but hope most will make the full hour).

I think recurring themes for shorter talks could be project updates (doesn’t always have to be new things, interesting progress updates), development tips & tricks you’ve discovered, nice tools you’ve found, anything you’d bring up as interesting / useful / fun around the coffee machine but can flesh out for 10 mins with some pictures or (if you’re feeling brave) a live coding demo.

I’m thinking we can create a shared Google doc with all the potential subjects in - things people are willing to talk about and whether that’s a 10min or 30min slot, and also things people would like to learn more about, in case that sparks a talk idea in someone else who can then do something on that front.

Sound good?


#16

Good news everyone! #farnsworth Keith has given us a slot of the last Wednesday lunchtime each month, starting 26th October (just over 2 weeks time).

Here’s a Google Doc with sections on proposed talks / requested talks.

Please jump in & edit that doc to add any talks you’re willing to do, and add any talks you’d like to see. Also please tell any other developers you know about this to see if they’re interested.

I suggest that once everyone’s had chance to pitch in, we take a vote to identify the most in-demand talks and let that guide which we do first (@jasemagee - looks like you have the polls plugin enabled here so we can do that).

Thanks folks, let’s try to get a few devs in a room & talk code eh? :slight_smile:


#17

26th works for me! Do you know what time?

I’m keen on all the suggestions in the doc, I’ll try to think of some other things…


#18

12:30-13:30 with actual talks happening 12:45-13:15.

Of the talks proposed in the doc, we need to identify who is able to do one on 26th; in future there will be more lead time but for this first one I know it’s a bit short notice. I’m willing to get the ball rolling on the first one with a Git LFS talk if no-one else will be ready, since I have material I can re-use for that. But if anyone else will be ready for 26th and wants to go for it, that’s fine too.

Please let me know if you’re up for that by Monday so we can choose the talks and get things publicised by mid next week.


#19

There we go, wanged in a few more. I can probably smash something short together, not sure what subject though!


#20

@jasemagee Thanks! Does that mean you’d be willing to do any (one) of the 10 minute talks you’ve added on the 26th? If so a mixed speaker lightning session might be a good way to kick things off.