Skip to main content

10 things that I learned from organising a meetup


For the last 9 months I have co-organised and presented Machine Learning Dublin, a meetup group started by ADAPT Centre that rapidly grew from 0 to 1350 members. Now that I have stepped back, I want to share ten lessons that I learned through this wonderful experience.
  1. Form a great team. The effort to organise a meetup is largely underestimated: it can easily take you 30 hours per event. Make sure you have a good team of at least 4 people and assign responsibilities: finding speakers, sponsors and venues, presenting, managing website and social media, registration desk, etc.
  2. Secure great venues. The event space plays a fundamental role in the success or failure of a meetup. Secure nice-looking event spaces in the city centre that are easy to find by the attendees. Some topic-related companies, startup incubators and co-working spaces might offer their facilities for free.
  3. Be picky about speakers. Select 2 or 3 good speakers per event that engage with the audience and you will see the community grow. Make sure the topics are relevant and strictly forbid sales pitches. After a few full-house events you will have great speakers queuing to participate in future events.
  4. Don't accept any sponsor. If your first events are successful, sponsors will start queuing to host your meetup at their premises. Kindly decline offers from sponsors that don't share your values, that demand too much, that don't have suitable venues or that don't help you with the logistics.
  5. Manage attendance. This is probably the trickiest part. When you announce a new event people will sign up but many of them won't turn up. Some tips to minimise the impact:
    - Keep track of no-shows and ban them if they become recurrent no-goers.
    - Send reminders 48h before the event, so that participants can RSVP NO and allow people in the waitlist to attend.
    - Announce +20% seats above the attendees limit in order to compensate no-shows.
    - It is very common to meet attendees that don't care about the talks, and they just want to recruit, socialise or have some free pizza. Kindly remind them that the event is strictly for people that are interested in the topic.

  6. Take advantage of social media. Speakers, sponsors and organisers love to be mentioned in social media. Make sure you have a catchy hashtag that can be used during the event, and monitor reactions and feedback. Tweets from your attendees are your best PR.
  7. Engage with other meetup groups. Meetup groups on similar topics shouldn't compete but collaborate with each other. Share tips, speakers and sponsors. Promote each other and organise joint meetups if possible. It will benefit the entire community.
  8. Grow your network. As a meetup organised you might become an influencer in the local community. Make the most out of it: engage with speakers, sponsors and attendees, and find ways to boost your professional career.
  9. Enjoy the talks. You will be pretty busy during the event. However, find time to enjoy the presentations and learn from the great speakers you brought.
  10. All the effort pays off. It doesn't matter how painful organising a meetup sometimes can be, it always pays off! Personal satisfaction, knowledge, connections, recognition,... and sometimes with the most valuable and unexpected rewards.

Popular posts from this blog

How to jump to time offsets in HTML5 video

Let's say that you have a 30-minute WEBM video file, from which you just want to play the following video segments , jumping from one to the other automatically  without interruptions : [00:01:25.00 - 00:02:25.00] -> from second 85 to 145 [00:11:40.00 - 00:11:55.00] -> from second 700 to 715 [00:20:26.00 - 00:21:07.00] -> from second 1226 to 1267 [00:26:11.00 - 00:28:01.00] -> from second 1571 to 1681 To increase the complexity, let's think that you have these video segments in a PHP variable $arrayVideoSegments  (normally the case if they were retrieved from the database).   $arrayVideoSegments[0]->startTime = 85   $arrayVideoSegments[0]->endTime = 145   $arrayVideoSegments[1]->startTime = 700   $arrayVideoSegments[1]->endTime = 715   $arrayVideoSegments[2]->startTime = 1226   $arrayVideoSegments[2]->endTime = 1267   $arrayVideoSegments[3]->startTime = 1571   $arrayVideoSegments[3]->endTime = 1681 The

5 learnings from a techie turned into a NFT artist

In September 2021 I chose to sell my crypto AI art business after two enriching (and often painful) years as a part-time sole founder. Today  AImade.art  is one of the best-selling AI art collections on Opensea . I want to share with you some of the key lessons I learned during this period: Work hard and get lucky.  And I got really lucky. On February 24th 2021 I had planned to shut down AImade.art , back then a business selling AI Art printed on canvas. I was discouraged after several months with no sales and my Shopify billing cycle was ending that day. Then something incredible happened: I missed the Shopify deadline and I sold an artwork one hour later. The buyer asked me: " Can I get it in as an NFT? ". I had absolutely no idea what an NFT was, but after a bit of research I found the concept so interesting that, two days later, I had pivoted the entire business to  NFT art made by AI . Sales started to pick up: I had finally found product-market fit . Impostor syndr

Learnings from "The 7 habits of highly effective people"

I just finished reading " The 7 habits of highly effective people ", a best-seller by Stephen R. Covey, that has inspired me in many levels. I am sharing some of the learnings I got, mostly as a personal bookmark, but hopefully this post can be useful for the community. Habit 1: Be Proactive It is not what happens to us, but our response to what happens to us that hurts us.  There is a space between stimulus and response, and the key to our growth and happiness is how we use that space. While reactive people feel victimized and out of control, proactive people have the power to choose how to respond to any circumstances (i.e., smiling with bad weather). We must focus our efforts on the things we can do something about, and accept what we can't change (past events, weather,...). Try replacing victimized language (i.e., " There is nothing I can do ", " I have to do it ",...) with proactive language (" Let's see all the options "