HowTo: Meetups in Berlin
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I get that question once in a while - and need the list below myself every now and then: How to actually setup a meetup in Germany. Essentially it all boils down to three questions: Which channels to use for PR? Where to do the meeting? What other benefits to offer to attendees?
When it comes to PR there are several options:
- Announce the meetup on relevant mailing lists
- Use social networking sites relevant to your project - in Germany Xing works best, Twitter, Facebook, Linked.In and Google+ are other options
- Ask anyone you know personally for help with spreading the word
- If you have one post information on your personal blog
Where to go for the meetup:
The venue usually is the biggest question mark. After deciding on how big you'd like to shoot for initially you can start looking for a location. For your first meetup don't rent a room - with a bit of creativity there are lots of options that are free of charge.
- If you are a student or have active relations to any university going there usually is the cheapest and least complicated version.
- Another option is to just book a table in a restaurant that has a reasonably large room. Simply choose your favourite one - knowing the owner helps in getting extra space.
- Third option is to go to any co-working space that also has a meeting area. In general they are very open to hosting community events - co-up Berlin, Betahaus are just two options.
- If you are planning a less formal event, your local hacker spaces might be an option: c-base Berlin, in Berlin e.V. are two Berlin examples. Hackers Dojo and Noisebridge are two Bay Area examples.
- Last but not least look out for local startups that are currently hiring new people: They tend to be very open to hosting events. See Berlin Buzzwords Hackathon providers list for some examples.
- Make sure attendees can register themselves - xing works for that, so do Google forms
- Setup a mailing list or some other notification service to help people track future events (Google Groups works, so does a dedicated Twitter Account)
- Provide some background online - meetup.com works but does charge a small fee. Setting up a blog on wordpress or blogger works as well, though it is not quite as interactive as the meetup.com site.
- Get in touch with attendees and local companies - usually they are quite happy to provide some financial support to your meetup for free drinks or videos.
- If you want videos: Recording audio is trivial, putting it online is extremely simple if you use soundcloud's app. Recording video also is rather simple but can be time consuming. Finding sponsors to pay for them if you offer to brand the videos is reasonably simple. For the Hadoop Get Together we usually hire Martin Schmidt. Sites to put videos online: Vimeo works but has rather low upload limits, blip.tv is a bit better in this respect.
- Sponsoring in general: Companies looking for developers related to the meetup's technology as well as those providing consulting for that technology tend to be open to supporting local events. What works best is to contact people you already know there - they will know best who to ask internally.
One final note: Being the organiser of such a meetup puts you at the center of a local community. Over time people will start remembering your face and name. Make sure you do the same - you should at least be able to remember faces, affiliations and names of your regular attendees.