I couldn’t be happier to announce I am now the organizer of the 1750+ member-strong Node.js meetup group in San Francisco. I am extremely grateful to the previous organizer David Kordsmeier for giving me the reins. I pledge to maintain the same level of dedication and hard work that he has shown to the community. While I’m adjusting, David remains onboard as a co-organizer.
I started working with Node.js in 2010. Building realtime, bi-directional communication apps was a fascinating discovery and I was hooked. Since then I have traveled the world by working for Cloud9 IDE and now StrongLoop.
Traveling the world and attending all kinds of meetups has led me to a conclusion:
Meetups Can be Dramatically Improved
What’s wrong with meetups? Here are some common criticisms: The content is too technical or too watered-down; it doesn’t relate to any real-world application; it’s a product pitch; the content isn’t well-informed by experience; those who didn’t get into the limited venue space are upset; the location is inconsistent.
Some of these are circumstances that are out of our control as sponsors and audiences. But the heart of the meetup is the content, and that’s where the most improvement can be made.
Plain and simple: The audience needs to walk away with more hands-on coding experience. We want to start experimenting with the idea of hands-on workshops. In a workshop the audience codes their own applications, experiment with tooling, and walk away with code they can continue working on at home.
We will continue talking about this idea and how it can be accomplished at the meetup and in upcoming blogs. Stay tuned.
What Already Works
What has happened more and more recently is the grassroots Node developers have been knocking on the doors of their managers and introducing Node into their backend stack. This has reached bigger companies and enterprises such as Walmart, LinkedIn and Airbnb. Those companies put a high burden on their servers and their requirements have caused them to adapt in new and interesting ways, creating tooling along the way.
My focus as organizer of the group is to put more energy into bringing developers from enterprise in to talk about how Node works for them (or doesn’t) and what lessons they learned along the way. Indeed tonight is the first talk that fits this mold: Spike Brehm from Airbnb will be talking about Rendr and how it serves as a full-stack solution to their mobile needs.
Ben Noordhuis and Bert Belder are core contributors to libuv and are also co-founders of StrongLoop. We have a number of developers on the (growing) StrongLoop team that have years of experience with Node.js. So as we continue to create Node.js tooling, and provide support and consulting services to companies, we want to leverage our connections to the enterprise and community, and bring in great speakers for everyone to learn from.
If you have any questions or suggestions about how this can be improved, please let us know in the comments. Cheers!