Meetup - with local strength

(Robin) #1

I’m working on a meetup at the moment and I wanted to quickly brainstorm here on what sort of cool formats would you suggest for an out of ordinary meetup conducted in a peer-to-peer manner?

Quick context:

We are quite well known in very short time in our region. We have become more and more the face for creative intitives and bringing people in our region. We stand representative for the ‘cool kids’ with an entrepreneurial heat and mindset (‘doers’ rather than ‘talkers’). We have found ourselves increasingly being approached by young people to middle aged people requesting advice and consulting:


  • Photographer wanting to make a living
  • A young guy who’s building a corssfit premium gyms
  • People who want to start a foodtruck business


The problem I want to address here, is that the city supports a ‘start-up meetup’ on a two monthly basis. A meetup at which less than <10% are actual entrepreneurs or doers. To these events it is mostly politicians and organizations who do back rubbing without creating value for the people who need it.

The idea:

Use the current connections and popularity to create a monthly or weekly meetup with a strong peer-to-peer approach. Get the local ‘doers’ into one room ( foodtruck owners, cafe -owners, internet - entrepreneurs and self -employed publishers ) to share their experinece with one -another in order to create relevant support from the people who have walked the walk and talked the talk.

Any suggestions?

(Salim Virani) #2

Back in the day in London, we ran Minimum Viable Meetup:

  • 3 speakers, each gets 15 minutes.
  • 5 minutes to present a challenge.
  • 10 minute fishbowl where the audience offers advice (typically the other 2 speakers will jump in)

Another idea might attack this more on the political level of your situation. You could run the new Immersion there! :slight_smile: It’s only a one-day event, and will be good for that audience. By the end, they make money so will quickly build a sense of being the real deal. You could also do it with AIESEC, so showing support from the student crowd.

Another simple format is Deep Dive:

  • Expert speaker tells their life story in 10 minutes
  • Post up, affiinity map and dot vote of topics that the audience would like to learn (20 minutes)
  • Then you go from most popular to least popular, with the expert telling specific stores on the current topic

(Salim Virani) #3

Oh, a few people organise braintrust meetups. You actually facilitate them for an hour every two weeks. You can even take attendance. That’s a good way to get people going. And you can celebrate progress publicly to position your community as the achievers.

(Robin) #4

Hey Sal,

thanks for this input. Helps massively.Really!

This is of course the idea on a long - run. I can’t offer this at the moment out of the blue, but would want to soften - up the community for that based on what you wrote:

  1. Guiding Policy: Identify the corporate or regional strengths, and propose “what the world really needs” responses, starting them as grass-roots initiatives if necessary. Proove ourselves on our own terms, make the right people know about it, and invite their support to our programmes (rather than bid to support their programmes.)
  2. Next steps: Identify the strengths in the communities we want to support, design programmes to address them, and write one-page descriptions to share.

I was wondering if a format would work as a mini P2P - conferences with one main expert per table and two rounds of half an hour where people can choose what they want to learn from whomever is relevant to them ( sort of like 8 people per table ) and have 1-2 slots + 2 tables where a certain challenge is discussed ( dot - voted at the beginning ).

What do you think?

(Salim Virani) #5

Actually, that strategy discussion was more of WIP that I was sharing for feedback. It’s not what I expect us to be acting on, but rather feeding back on. Since I didn’t hear anything back, I’m surprised if you’re acting on it. tbh, you probably shouldn’t at this stage.

(A side note: I’m not sure working so openly is helping, since it leaves things so open to misinterpretation like this. cc @bart )

That said, your idea sounds good. Basically, that sounds almost exactly like the Lean Coffee format, except with Lean Coffee, the sessions go on as long as they have to. There’s less of a rule of 2 feet though, so people can feel stuck but feel they have to go along with it because the dot-vote said everyone else wanted this topic.

Another simple option is to just run it like a source summit, and have tables instead of rooms. You probably won’t need to dot-vote there since you’re facilitating. That allows you to spot the needs in the room, and make room for the less popular, but still very valuable, topics.

So, in short:

Dot-voting vs facilitated topic selection: Dot-voting makes most people somewhat happy but creates a sense of having to go with the crowd. Facilitated schedules rely on you more, but you get to make room for the strongly-needed but less-popular topics. In this case, you probably want to encourage the rule of 2 feet, rather than a go with the crowd mentality.

Timed sessions vs as-long-as-it takes: The short timing at Leancamp comes from the perceived overall value of multiple topics. Keeping it short makes people feel they learned a lot, longer and they start to feel like it dragged on. Though, when a topic gets going, sometimes it needs more time. I’d suggest stronger facilitation at the tables if you go as-long-as-it-takes.