SAFE Network Meetups: A Discussion

meetups

#1

It perhaps goes without saying but there’s no harm in repeating one of the great truisms of this project: the Community is a critical component in the development and the successful roll out of the SAFE Network.

We have no intention of building paradigm-shifting technology that has no users - and it’s this approach that informs everything we do. The Network can only survive with the engagement of a global group of supporters. You can see the evidence of this in the fact that all of ‘our’ communication channels (the Forum, r/safenetwork, Telegram, Discord etc) are managed and controlled by individuals from the wider Community (as opposed to MaidSafe employees).

True democratisation does, of course, bring with it certain challenges - particularly around the marketing and branding of the Network. We’ve touched on this topic before (MaidSafe Marketing Strategy H1 2018) and I think we all generally agree that by focusing on the same key messages we’ll have a greater collective impact and minimise confusion for newcomers.

It’s now time to bring (in my view) one of the most important areas into focus: the meetups.

MaidSafe meetups started popping up a few years ago around the world. To date, there have been meetups held in Scotland, England, America, Argentina, Australia and various locations in Asia. Since joining MaidSafe, one of my responsibilities has been to think about how these meetups are currently working (or not) and to suggest a way forward for us all.

I’d like to use this post to progress that conversation and to propose the following template for meetups that we can then all use around the world. It’s a starting point from which we’ll evolve - but hopefully this gives some clarity to how we at MaidSafe see things developing.

Where we want to get to (long term vision)

SAFE Network meetups in every major city in the world. A regular in-person meetup for people to learn, share knowledge and have face-to-face conversations with others who are developing on top of/interested in learning more about, the SAFE Network.

Where we want to get to (2018)

SAFE Network meetups in a small number of key locations, entirely driven by local organisers but supported by MaidSafe (the company) as far as possible.

Setting up the meetups (www.meetup.com)

Every SAFE Network meetup needs to be available on meetup.com

Love it or loathe it, meetup.com has become the default platform for meetups. After running more than 50 events in the last decade using the platform plus a handful of events using other alternatives, my personal experience is that the differences are stark. To recap, at this point in time, meetup.com still has a few major benefits:

  • Enhanced discovery - captures those that search for e.g. ‘SAFE Network’, ‘decentralisation’ etc
  • Enhanced promotion - weekly emails that push your event in front of locals who’ve likely never heard of the SAFE Network.

Please note: this listing doesn’t need to be exclusive. There should be no barrier to listing a meetup elsewhere if alternative platforms that might more readily appeal to specific local niches (developers, local tech calendars etc). But by ensuring we keep every event visible in one place by default, it’s far easier for the 22+ million other meetup users to see the activity that’s taking place and take the next step towards joining up. It will also be easier for global supporters to join the various groups - which is important as these groups build momentum, with each new member reducing the natural social barrier for others to join up (you’re more likely to join a group with 100 members than one with only 3 for example).

There’s a cost for registering using Meetup.com. So if you’re looking to run a meetup, just contact me (using outreach@maidsafe.net) directly. We’ll then set up the group for you on meetup.com and install you as organiser. That way your annual registration fees will be covered - and you can start to tap into the global network of support.

Meetup Venues

As much as we’d love to do so, it’s not scalable for MaidSafe to meet the regular costs of the venues as each meetup grows. However, we will support events to the best of our abilities. What this means in practice is that all support will very much be carried out on a case-by-case basis. It’s crucial as the community scales that we don’t become a chokepoint for groups starting up, financially or otherwise. In short, we’d love to see groups start up, attract decent numbers of members on meetup.com and for the individual organisers/teams to show their enthusiasm by putting on events regardless of our support.

Our suggestion at this stage is that you look at putting events on within technology centres/incubators/startup hubs etc initially where both the costs are lower and you’re likely to appeal to a larger potential drop-in audience.

Organisers

From experience, running meetups can be hard. You are running a free event §§ to attend, you get paid nothing and you work hard, sourcing the venues and speakers, running the evenings and promoting the meetups. So we’d like to do all we can to support those who really want to put the work in on the ground.

To help out initially, I’d like to introduce a regular call for meetup organisers. It will be an opportunity to feedback on the meetups, talk about our upcoming plans, look for suggestions and highlight what we all could be doing to help support each other’s groups.

I appreciate we’ll have a challenge scheduling a suitable time across timezones but we’ll all benefit from strengthening ties between meetup organisers. More to follow on this in due course once I’ve spoken to the various groups.

Content for each meetup

Obviously at MaidSafe we’ll do all we can to support meetups with speakers and content via video interviews. Hopefully as time goes on, we’ll get to the stage where we can have MaidSafe reps attending some of the larger meetups in person.

But, it’s clear that for the meetups to be sustainable and grow, the community should be leading with the content. That might be developers showing off their newest apps on the platform, talks from local supporters, in-depth talks around sections of the network… I’ll not go into too much detail here as the plan is that the regular meetup calls should support the generation of ideas here.

Recording the Meetups

With this structure, it will be far easier to share resources across meetups. But the majority of meetups are likely still be too far away for many to attend given the global reach of the project. Therefore, it’s critical that we have these meetups videoed for everyone’s benefit. There’s various ways we can approach this but the starting point is this:-

If you’re running a meetup, please make every effort to stream the event live and/or upload a video afterwards so it can be viewed by the wider community.

Promotion of Meetups

We’ll promote SAFE Network meetups around the world - but we’ll all benefit from coordinating a broad Community effort around publicity also. Coordination of social campaigns by individuals around each meetup can be significant in finding new members for each group.

Summary

This is just the starting point. There’s been some fantastic work carried out by lots of different people over the past few years on this and I can’t wait to see what will happen now we can build on this with a little coordination between the groups moving forwards. If you have any comments/criticisms, please leave them below. But in the meantime, if you’re interested in running a regular event, please do get in touch, initially by leaving a comment below (and let me know which town/city you’re looking at).

Initial list of potential meetup organisers (updated)
London, UK - @opacey
Chicago, US - @Sotros25, @Dwieluns2, @MrNinjaCook
Seattle, US - @arsnebula
Miami, US - @Savage, @Majestic84
Glasgow, UK - @Southside
Ottawa, Canada - @conreezy88
San Antonio / Austin, US - @fergish
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - @Harvindar
Melbourne, Australia - @PeterRobertson (looking for new organiser)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - @DarkHorse
Amsterdam - @dewild, @Arthur.Rommes-NL
Munich, Germany - @CPay-Solutions
Belfast, Ireland - @Traktion
Sofia, Bulgaria - @dimitar
Seoul, South Korea - @RobinKang
Finland - @Sascha


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MaidSafe Dev Update - March 8, 2018
SAFE Network Dev Update - July 26, 2018
#2

Awesome and timely post! Over the weekend I was thinking about what would need to happen to organize a meetup in Chicago. This helps to provide some structure and clarity. My one concern is that while I can speak at least somewhat intelligibly about Maidsafe & the SAFEnetwork, I am by no means a developer nor is my background strictly tech. Nevertheless, I’d be more than happy to help with this initiative–from marketing, to getting the word out, to logistics.


#3

Great, thanks @Sotros25! I’d suggest we have a chat so we can talk about the ‘scene’ in Chicago - i.e. venues, possible developer hotspots, meetup frequencies etc. It might be that the best way forwards would be to set up a group initially via meetup and see how much interest it attracts - at that stage, there may be a developer that steps forwards to get involved. Otherwise, if you’re happy to take on the mantle of organiser in that area, then I’d suggest that we look at getting a meetup running and, if possible, we support via video initially. But let’s chat further :grinning:


#4

I’ll update the original post with the names of individuals who are interested in organising local meetups as we move forwards - so that everyone can see which areas are in the running for meetups. It’d be great if people could shout out if there’s a meetup they’d be interested in heading along to in this post as well (even if they don’t have time for organiser duties). It might help to identify any ‘hot spots’ of interest


#5

I would love to help with a Chicago meet up


#6

Excellent - Chicago storming into the lead at the outset :wink:


#7

Sounds good, @dugcampbell! I’m free to connect this week. I’ll DM you and @Dwieluns2 so we can figure out a time when we’re all available to chat.


#8

Great stuff, Dug. I was ahead of the curve a couple years ago trying to get some connections, but I think awareness and interest has grown a bit since then.

One thing that might help is to get a tally of people and the cities/areas they are in, so that maybe they can coordinate with others to share the load of organizing, presenting, etc. Plus I know I’d like to have in-person connections with SAFE folks I might not have met.

Not sure the best way to do this, but I’ll start here: Though I often travel and wouldn’t be able to make all connections, I’d love to participate with anyone on the San Antonio/Austin area to put on meetups.


#9

Hi Dug, will the KL Safepod qualify as a meetup or is there a crowd size that we look for? We probably have smaller sessions and hopefully have a larger group in future.


#10

I would be very interesting in joining up with the Chicago group. I’ve been lurking the forums for awhile and have been thinking of ways I could start contributing. I’m not an expert on MaidSafe, but I do work full-time in tech(Front End Dev) here in downtown Chicago and I have plenty of time on weekends and evenings.


#11

Great, thanks John - I’ve added you to the list at this stage and we’ll see if anyone else from the area steps forward from the community to get involved :slight_smile:


#12

Definitely - not least because you’re already running the meetups! :slight_smile: I’ve added you/KL to the list


#13

Great stuff - I’ve added your name to the top of the post :slight_smile:


#14

I just recently joined the SAFE Network Amsterdam Meetup group and told @Arthur.Rommes-NL (organiser) that I’d be happy to help with organising a meetup. I’m in sales/marketing, am an experienced speaker (in Dutch though) and I have a few contacts (ICT-related) in the education system in the Netherlands.


#15

Great thanks @dewild - now added you (and @Arthur.Rommes-NL) to the list


#16

I can help in Belfast if anyone out there wants to take the lead. A young family doesn’t give me much free time, sadly.


#17

I’d love to step up to help build a team for London. My experience is that they can NOT be done alone and therefor love this strategic approach @dugcampbell


#18

Awesome, thanks @sw1ayfe - will definitely be in touch re London very soon :slight_smile: Was discussing that meetup with @aboynejames today actually


#19

Thanks Dug, Maybe in due time if there are people around the region they can fly in or we can plan to have them call in.


#20

Yeah totally

And BTW I’ve decided to scrap my e-office proposal and just do it all myself.

So that means I’ll have a 24/7 team for promoting each Meetup properly on all social networks. The Meetup organisers of each country would just need to send me the pictures and video and we will properly blast it everywhere.

Here’s the first such video from that team:

And the first such photo album posted @ SMM:

13 new photos · Album by Will Gallo

So my teams are here to support all this.

Just need pics & video & we handle the rest