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Starting a Meetup Group (CLS15 Session)

Session A10 @ 1:00pm
Discussion: Strategies for Beginning a Meetup

Big Questions
How do you start a Meetup group?
How do you make Meetup groups scalable?
Can you run a conference using Meetup.com?

Q: How do you start a new group?

  • DN: Crossing the Chasm - getting from a single sustainer to a community need. It’s more work to do it all yourself, but it also isn’t sustainable in the long run.
  • DN: Have additional community building events around there event. Dinners for those who helped (not meant as a way to be exclusive, but more of a thank you for helping). This led to people having sub-committee organizing things to help foster community sharing.
    • JH: Does that lead people to feel like there is too much exclusivity in the group?
    • DN: Generally not. It’s just a way to reward participation.

Q: Should we care what communities show up for the event? What if you have people who are only there for the socializing even if they don’t have anything to do with your community?

  • PM: PDX has PLUG that sends out emails where people can get together and then do social stuff afterward.
  • JS: The giant meetups bum him out because they are filled with people who don’t really care about the individual projects. Leads to Quantity over Quality.
  • DN: Their motivation is often revenue, so no… they don’t care about who is there.

JS: How do you get people who care?

  • DN: Getting a few organizers and consistent Meetups, helps to gather people who care. Having organizers who care helps significantly.
  • LW: Solutions for large group MUGs.
    • LW: Using Google Forms that are a secondary gateway and send them confirmation codes if they are selected.
    • LW: Meetup Pro lets you use the API to narrow the mailing list down.

SP: Wants to start a women’s chapter in her company. Biggest challenge is that there are very few and they have limited time. How do I arrange logistics and speakers given those constraints?

  • D: Started his group by announcing on multiple email groups that had overlapping interests. Immediately got potential speakers who replied.
  • LW: Partner with existing groups like Girl Develop It, or Girls Who Code.
  • D: Consider providing onsite childcare like Open Source Bridge.
    • LW: PyCon did also had that.
    • KH: Linux Conf Aus also.
  • MJ: Finding speakers at conferences is a great idea.
  • BS: Create a prospectus for potential sponsors or speakers.


  1. Go to conferences to find like-minded people.
  2. Consistency of scheduling is important.
  3. Partner with related groups.
  4. Work to get self-sustaining groups running.
  5. Solidify roles where you can.
  6. Consider how you can reward your contributors.

In the spirit of today’s plenaries, thank you for being a leader, creating “Best Practices for Starting a Meetup Group”!

Thanks to for being the kind sponsor for this forum!