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Friday, December 22, 2017

The impressions of an Umbraco Meetup first timer

The UmbLondon Meetup Christmas Pub Quiz

Or “the love child of Only Connect, Mastermind, and University Challenge…” 😉 For those of you who are not familiar with these British programs or pub quizzes, think Jeopardy! or Questions pour un Champion.

Not being familiar with the Meetup etiquette, I chose to get to the pub right on time; 18:30 as the announcement said. I went upstairs to find Ravi quite busy with the preparations for the quiz.

Quiz Master Ravi

Screen set-up, speakers hooked (for the music part of it; yes it was not only tough questions, music was also involved!), and tables ready for the teams. Ravi was not alone, Lotte Pitcher gave me a warm welcome which made me feel like I belonged, and right away treated me to a drink.

Before arriving I was thinking:

How am I able to take part in a group whose members probably all know each other and where people have probably already prepared the teams they’d like to be in?

It’s a bit intimidating just showing up. Alone. But with that warm welcome I received, all these worries vanished straight away. Maybe I was experiencing the friendliness of the Umbraco community that I’ve heard so much about ?

Definitely.

More people showed up and we got into teams. Funnily enough I found myself part of a team of first-time meetup goers (Nice not to feel like the only first-timer!).

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the quiz was difficult - I barely managed to find the answers to a few questions (maybe 5 out of a 100). Surprisingly enough, even though it was an Umbraco Meetup pub quiz, there were no Umbraco-related questions 😊 The topics covered were quite diverse and sometimes unexpected and ranged from questions about the movie The Goonies to asking “How big is a supermassive black hole?

Hint: Quite big, but this answer did not count.

My team did not win. As a matter of fact we came in last, but we enjoyed it very much and if offered a rematch - we would take it!

Last Place PrizeThe prize for the defeated team: A beautiful Unicorn bag

Different type of Meetup, same community feel

It was nice to take part in a meetup where the dynamics were different from a speaker-attendee interaction. You get to talk to different people, be part of a team, observe the other teams, and most importantly - have fun. At one point, you forget that it’s Umbraco that got us all together (The turquoise “U” logo flashing on the trivia slides still reminds you of this, but you get what I mean 😉).

I personally think that’s how you can experience the strength of the community - a strength that even surpasses the software that got us all together in the first place.

the London MeetupLaurence (Laurie) to the left and Calvin to the right showing off his 80s gear - a prize for the team that made it to the second place!

Even though this wasn’t a regular meetup, and even though I was only there as a participant, I really felt like I got a good first hand experience of what it’s like to be part of a meetup group. And a London one nonetheless, as the London Meetups have a good reputation when it comes to attracting many people and being quite regular (H5YR!).

So if you happen to be near London, or even live in this lively city, make sure to join!

London Meetup pub quizThe team captains answering the final question

5 tips from an Umbraco Meetup expert!

Ravi who happens to be the London Meetup organizer worked hard to put all this together. As a matter of fact, getting sick right before the quiz did not stop him from having a successful event. I can’t thank him enough for all the work and energy put into organizing and getting the community members together like this and also for welcoming me.

For those of you who would like to follow his lead, I asked him for a few tips that he as an Umbraco meetup expert would pass on to others.

So here you go:

Ravi’s 5 Tips for organizing Umbraco Meetups

  1. Be Consistent. Choose a date or days that work for you and be proactive advertising the meetup, be it on Twitter, Slack, a Facebook Page, or a Linkedin post.

  2. Don't be a hero and think you can do it all on your own. Make sure you have at least one other person who can help and provide you with ideas and suggestions.

  3. Be persistent and keep asking people to do presentations (and remember to say thank you!)

  4. If you can, plan ahead.

  5. Finally, make sure you are having fun doing it.

RaviRavi Motha, the organizer of the London Meetup Group.

I hope these tips will help you consider starting your own Umbraco meetup or inspire you how to better manage an existing one.

If you need any further help or would like to discuss your own Meetup ideas, don’t hesitate to reach out - I will be more than happy to hear from you.

As you can see from my story, the Umbraco community is as friendly as advertised 😉 I’ve now experienced that first-hand. I can only advise you to reach out and take part in an Umbraco Meetup group close to you. Maybe there’s a New Year’s resolutions hidden in there somewhere?

On that note, have a festive season and Happy New Year!

- Ilham.

Ilham

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