Optimising Manchester Web Meetup

Manc Web #3 at LADbible

It has been an absolute privilege to witness the growth of Manchester Web Meetup over the last 18 months. Since our pilot event at ao.com, the Mancunian tech community has welcomed us with open arms, supporting us along the way with talks and venues; bolstered by the amazing marketing team at YLD, I can confidently assert that the group has been an overall success.

However, said success is not sustainable. Despite running with an ostensible smoothness, we often find ourselves resolving various hurdles at the eleventh hour, mostly due to venues pulling out. This has caused a great deal of stress for us, and foremost has resulted in some events not being up to the standard we want to deliver to our attendees; without you, we wouldn’t exist.

We’re therefore proposing two fundamental changes that will come into effect from January 2020.

1. A consistent base venue

One of the key differentiators of Manc Web, at least when we first launched, was that we would tour a variety of local companies that have a development team or some sort of technical offering; I can’t claim we were the first to do this, but it didn’t strike us as commonplace when we began. This provided hosts with a means of showing their work to the scene while allowing them to give back to the community; we don’t want this value to be lost, so we will always be open to external hosting.

Unfortunately, this strategy also presents problems, which in some instances are insurmountable. On multiple occasions, we’ve had hosts pull out, some of whom ultimately ghosted us. Although we’ve usually been able to secure an alternative venue, we did have to cancel February’s meetup as a result of a last-minute U-turn, with the others being incredibly close calls. Regardless, this has been quite the stressor. With this in mind, On The Beach has kindly offered to serve as our official home for 2020. If your company, however, would like to host us on a particular month, then please do reach out!

2. Our events will now occur every two months

Although the first change will enable us to better manage the meetup, finding multiple speakers for each event has also proven difficult. We appreciate that everyone has lives outside of software development and thus we are always super-appreciative of our presenters’ time. Nonetheless, lining up 2–3 talks a month takes a lot of searching, although opening a CFP has been infinitely helpful. Typically, those who talk at our group can only commit to certain dates, hence lining up enough developers across all of our impending events is a precarious process.

We considered running monthly with one talk, but having multiple speakers provides each meetup with more variety. With this in mind, our meetup will now run every other month i.e. January, March, May, July, September, November. Given the current two-month summer and one-month Christmas breaks, this is only two fewer events than our current cadence, but spacing them more evenly will help us to maintain consistency in the quality of our meetup.

We would love to hear your feedback on these changes; while they would simplify the organisation of Manc Web, we want to make sure we aren’t impacting our ability to deliver value to the web dev community in Manchester. To reiterate: we wouldn’t be here without you!

Unfamiliar with us? Be sure to join our Meetup group to RSVP to our upcoming events. You can even check out most of our previous talks on the YLD Tech Talks YouTube channel!

Optimising Manchester Web Meetup was originally published in YLD Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Written by James WrightNovember 26th, 2019

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