090 JSJ Users Groups

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01:56 - AJ’s Experience Starting a Users Group

  • Utah JS
  • Utah JS Forum + Mailing List 06:34 - Mailing Lists 07:23 - IRC 08:07 - Setting up Users Groups
  • Consistency
  • Presentations
  • Announcements 14:53 - The Venue 20:24 - Building Relationships 24:02 - Social Media Resources
  • Google+
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn 26:07 - Starting a Users Group from Scratch 28:56 - Sponsorships


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[Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at BlueBox.net.]  [This episode is sponsored by Component One, makers of Wijmo. If you need stunning UI elements or awesome graphs and charts, then go to Wijmo.com and check them out.]  CHUCK:  Hey everybody and welcome to episode 90 of the JavaScript Jabber Show. This week on our panel, we have AJ O’Neal. AJ:  Yo, yo, yo, coming at you from the future. CHUCK:  We have Jamison Dance. JAMISON:  Hey, friends. CHUCK:  Actually, technically we’re coming at you from the past because this episode goes up in three weeks. AJ:  That’s the future. JAMISON:  Basically, we’re time lords however you look at it. AJ:  Yes. Yes. We are time lords. CHUCK:  There we go. [Chuckles] AJ:  Both hearts. CHUCK:  That’s right. Anyway, this week we’re going to be talking about users groups, forming users groups, holding the users groups, stuff like that. And I’ve got two people that I know would do really well talking about this, since AJ started things up with the Utah JS stuff and Jamison’s in charge of running the Utah Valley group now. So I get to just sit back and relax, I guess. Put my feet up. AJ:  So first, let’s rock paper scissors over who started a group first. Have you ever started a group, Chuck? CHUCK:  No. AJ:  Okay. I started my first one in 2004. Do I have you beat, Jamison? JAMISON:  That’s some pretty epic chest pounding you got going on there. CHUCK:  [Laughs] AJ:  [makes gorilla sounds] JAMISON:  You win. AJ:  If only that kind of chest pounding would get me the ladies. CHUCK:  Or the dollars? AJ:  Yeah. Actually, it really has gotten me the dollars. It really has. So I’m just going to do a little story telling for a minute and you all can interject whenever. So back in 2003, I don’t know, I was always into computers. And I was in a vocational school my first and last year of high school. And my instructor hands me a Red Hat, what was it, it was right before Fedora. I think it was Red Hat 9. So he hands me one of these disks and he’s like, “You’re a smart kid. This is for you.” And that was when I got introduced to forums because up until that point, I pretty much just clicked around and figured stuff out and went through thousands of layers of GUIs and stuff. And then from there, I found out about mailing lists and I was like, “Oh yay. I can communicate with people in pretty much real-time about stuff that I want to know.” And so I found this mailing list. I was up in Vermont and in a college there. I can’t even remember what college it is. Anyway, their group is called VAGUE which was for Vermont Area Group of Unix Enthusiasts. And it had this mailing list that had been going for a couple of years since they had their last meeting, because I did a little bit of stalking on the group to try to find it, figure out if they had meetings and what was going on. And so I decided that I was going to make this group active again. So I emailed out to the list and I was like, “Hey who’s in charge?” And everybody was like, “Eeh. Eeh.” And so I said, “Alright, well that’s great. Everybody’s paying me three dollars and I’m bringing pizza and we’re meeting on this day at the college.” There was a little bit of discussion about how that would all happen and whatnot. But then we had 10 people show up. And so it was fairly small but we talked about what we wanted as a group, like what we wanted to learn and some goals that we had, and wrote them down. And then we emailed it out on the list and we said, “Hey we’re going to meet and this is what we do.” And so, I think the first two meetings, it was a monthly meeting and I think I bought pizza and got mostly reimbursed for the pizza. The pizza was definitely really important. And then I was living in the area for another two months after we had that meeting. And so I just talked with some of the other guys and somebody self-elected to be the next pseudo president. And that group went for the whole time that guy was in college. And I guess when he graduated it kind of fell apart again. Every once in a while, I check and see if they’re still having meetings. And they haven’t had one in a year or two, I think. It was really cool. So from that experience what I learned was to start a user group, you need an email list that people can find and you need pizza. And that’s pretty much it. CHUCK:  Yeah, that’s one thing that I’ve heard too. I’ve talked to a few people who are in smaller communities even. And all they really needed was a place to get together and food. People would show up. AJ:  Yeah. And with Utah JS, I started UJSUG, because I’m old school, because I’m from the era when they weren’t called meetups. They were called user groups. So I started up the mailing list. And then Kip had this private thing that was just going on it I guess. It was called Corda and now it’s called Domo. But they just met as a bunch of work buddies and they called theirs Utah JS. And then we both started it the same month. I think we had our first meetings the same month. And then we found out about each other two months later and then started to combine forces. And I renamed my mailing list and he set up. The problem was that the company that was hosting, right after the first meeting they couldn’t host anymore because there were some organizational changes and the person that was allowing us to meet there decided not to work there anymore. And then the people that were left over weren’t as interested in the group. And so, it was perfect timing that we had similar interests going on at the same time and then meshed together. And all the communication over the mailing list really helps build the group, because people search for stuff. We have people that joined Utah JS from Argentina and Russia not because they actually intend on coming to the meetings but because they’re searching for JavaScript stuff and we have so much content going back and forth that we show up in the searches. And they’re like, “Oh wow. I’m going to join this group and participate even though I’m a thousand miles away because it’s valuable.” CHUCK:  Yeah. It’s interesting. I want to dissect some of the stuff that you’re talking about here. So, the mailing list is a huge deal just because it’s the medium where you let people know about meetings, you have discussions, you build relationships. There’s a lot that goes on there. AJ:  You troll. CHUCK:  Yeah, yeah. You do that too. Jamison, you’ve been the one that’s been booking and announcing the more recent JavaScript meetups in Utah County. How much do you use the list as far as actually finding people to present? Do you do that at the meetings or do you do that on the list? JAMISON:  Usually, it’s both. I’ll ask and sometimes I get one or two people at the meetups after they’re over. But it’s never been completely filled as soon as the meetup is over. I always have to ask. But that’s fine. Sometimes, you reach a different crowd of people on the mailing list versus who comes to the meetup. Another way to reach a different crowd is on IRC. I think most local users groups have an IRC channel. And it’s weird, because the Utah JS IRC channel, there’s not a lot of overlap between the mailing list and the IRC channel. There’s definitely different ways to reach different people so you need to use them all to make sure you talk to everybody. CHUCK:  I didn’t even realize we had an IRC channel. JAMISON:  Oh well, you can join. You can all join. It’s just #utahjs on freenode. CHUCK:  Very nice. JAMISON:  There are usually about 30 people and it’s not huge. And the activity is very spiky. Some days, there’ll be tons of activity. Some days, nobody says anything. So, it’s fun because it’s a little more real-time, to use some sweet buzz words in the mailing list. So, I don’t know. CHUCK:  One other question I have regarding setting up these users group meetings, first off do you want to just talk about what you do to get it together? JAMISON:  Yeah. So, the most important things is to be consistent. Consistency in everything is the easiest way to make sure more people come. Nothing makes people leave like not having consistent announcements or consistent meeting place or consistent meeting time. So we just picked a day. It’s the same day every month, same spot every month. And then I still send out four or five reminders every month. Yeah, so that helps make sure that people don’t feel jerked around. If you’re changing locations a lot or if you have to cancel because something changes or whatever, that drives people away. So, that’s part of it. AJ:  I was just going to say we for the first two years, people would always complain, “Oh, bring it closer. Let’s have one up in Salt Lake.” And in every three to six months, somebody would complain on the mailing list like, “Oh, we need one.” But then we did that and no one would come. Or sometimes people suggest that we swap around locations, like do it one month at this business and one month at that business. And none of that really ever panned out. The consistency really was key. And then when we got to a point where not everybody could fit in a room, that’s the point where we split up into two groups and the two groups became successful and grew on their own. JAMISON:  Sure. The other thing I think is important, at least for me, maybe it’s different in different tech communities, but I really feel like the local users groups are opportunities to help people develop at presenting. I’m interested in watching really good presentations but I’m just as interested in having someone who isn’t super comfortable or confident give their first presentation ever. I think that’s awesome to encourage people to get up there more. So if it’s a decision between the most mind-blowing technical thing ever or helping someone talk about jQuery plugins, which people might know about already, I think it’s almost better to encourage people’s participation over blowing their minds. You need a mix. It can’t all be super intense or super beginner-friendly. But I think it’s really helpful to the community to focus more on encouraging people to participate. AJ:  Yeah. And to that point, one of the things that really accomplishes both goals is there is such a broad landscape. Somebody can give a beginner presentation on any library and almost everybody in the room can learn something. Because how many people have played with Snap SVG or Snag SVG, whatever it was that we just had at the last meeting? Or there are all these different libraries that do really cool things, but hardly anybody has used them to a point where they’re expert at it. So having a beginner-level presentation on something like that is amazing. Because even if you’re really great at JavaScript, you probably haven’t used every library. CHUCK:  Well, the other thing along with that is that even people who have used some of these libraries for a while, I’m going to make a little bit of a confession here, we’ve been doing this podcast for almost two years and a month or two ago I discovered this little thing called apply in JavaScript. And nobody had pointed it out to me. Nobody has showed it to me. But oh my gosh, is it handy, right? Because it’s like call except I can set this to whatever I want, you know, things like that. So, even if you’re doing a beginner presentation on 3JS or some of these other libraries, jQuery even, and you’re just covering the basics, maybe you show off a selector that somebody’s going, “Oh my gosh, I’ve been working around that for years.” And it’s just something that they had never run across and they discover something new and interesting. And the other thing is that at a lot of these meetings, usually there are two or three presentations so you can have one that’s tailored toward beginners and another one that’s more tailored toward the advanced crowd. And then everybody gets what they want. JAMISON:  Yeah. I like this. Some people do, there’s a group here that meets in Salt Lake called LunchJS and they do more of the longer hour long, one person presenting style. I find that I really prefer the several short presentations style. It’s hard to give a presentation and it’s very hard to give a long presentation and it’s incredibly hard to give a long presentation that’s entertaining and enjoyable for the whole time. So, I feel like it makes things flow a lot better if you have shorter presentations and it forces people to crystalize their ideas. So, you’re not just getting a brain dump of all the blog posts they’ve ever read about jQuery or something like that. AJ:  Yeah, because with the longer presentations, pretty much universally people peter off about 20, 25 minutes in. And the rest of it is informational but they’re no longer on their laptop following along because they got lost somewhere. JAMISON:  Well yeah, there’s a resource that you consume when you give a presentation, which is your audience’s attention. And most people, me included, aren’t good enough speakers to just command attention for an hour. That’s a super rare talent. AJ:  And even if you… JAMISON:  If you have it though, [inaudible]. AJ:  I was just going to say even if you can command the attention it’s not just the attention. It’s also the capability. Not everybody is going to understand what you’re saying well enough, if you’re doing the demo, to follow along for 20 minutes and then end up with a working product. CHUCK:  Yeah. JAMISON:  Yeah, I think that’s really true. Yeah, one more thing I found that’s been helpful is making sure that people are really aware well ahead of time what’s going to happen. So if you’re having a meetup, you need to announce it a month in advance, and then two weeks in advance, then a week in advance. If you’re looking for speakers, same thing. It can, if you don’t make it seem like it’s going to be awesome because it’s the day before and you’re like, “Hey do you want to present?” then lots of people don’t want to show up because it’s something someone just whipped together in their free time. It might not be worth your while. AJ:  It’s still something you whipped together in your free time. JAMISON:  Well yeah, but I mean knowing that someone’s been thinking about it ahead of time is… AJ:  Yeah, yeah. JAMISON:  Helpful to me, at least. AJ:  Yeah, the worst thing ever is when somebody’s like, “Hey come. It’s going to be awesome.” CHUCK:  Yeah. AJ:  No details, just like, “Oh yeah, we’re having a meeting. It’s going to be awesome. Come to the meeting. There are great presentations.” Like, “Presentations on what?” “Oh, they’re awesome.” CHUCK:  Yeah, I definitely like the announcements that Jamison puts out where it’s we’re going to so and so talk about this, we’re so and so talk about this, and there are usually links in there and a little bit of information so you can get an idea of what it’s about. And [inaudible]. JAMISON:  If I had my way, it’d play sweet 80’s pump up music when you open the email, too. CHUCK:  [Laughs] There you go. JAMISON:  You all ready for this? Da-na-na da da-da da-da. CHUCK:  I was thinking Eye of the Tiger. Anyway… JAMISON:  Yeah. CHUCK:  Yeah. So, one other thing I want to ask about is the venue. Like the Utah JS that we all attend in Utah County, it’s been at Stevens-Henager College and then it was down at [inaudible] woods. I don’t remember that place, the name of the place. But anyway, it’s been at a couple of different offices. It’s moved around a little bit. Have you found that hurts attendance to move it around? JAMISON:  Yeah, a little bit. We moved it around because we couldn’t have it in the same place one week. It’s at a college and they were having an event. And I found that it’s better to be consistent than to have an amazing venue consistently. CHUCK:  That month, I went down to the college and I actually had to pull out my phone and look it up. I was figuring out where it really was. JAMISON:  Yeah. You lose people in every transition you make. So if you’re switching back and forth a lot, there’ll be people that are coming for the first time or for the second time maybe that don’t know to check the mailing list and stuff. It’s also a balance though. If you can find just an amazing venue, maybe it’s worth it. But I don’t know. CHUCK:  So, how do you figure the venue? It was at Domo for a while because the Domo guys were running it. And then they moved offices and we couldn’t do it there anymore. JAMISON:  I think it’s almost always just a friend of a friend. I think somebody knew somebody at the college and they were willing to do it. And it’s definitely a beneficial thing for a company to host a meetup in their space, even if they’re not providing food or any other sponsorship. Just to have people in there, I think lots of people want to do it. So you just ask around. Somebody will know somebody that has space and someone will want to host it. I haven’t found that to be a big problem, really. AJ:  Yeah, you want some SEO? Have a user group post your link to your location every month, you know? JAMISON:  Yeah, if you need to sell it, too. That’s all you have to say. Everyone needs to hire developers. You’re going to have 10, 15, 30, a hundred, whatever developers here every month in your place and you can send in some of your employees to do sneaky recruiting if you want. CHUCK:  Well, you don’t need… JAMISON:  I think everyone that’s hosted it has hired people actually, from there. CHUCK:  You don’t even have to be sneaky about it. They walk in. Usually it’s in a conference room. You have to walk through the office. You get to see the working conditions. You get to see what kind of equipment they have sitting on their desk. You get to see the decorations and get a feel for the environment there. And so by the time you get to the conference room, you already have an idea as to whether or not it’s a place you’d want to be. AJ:  And their plan for the next six months, drawn out on the whiteboard and all their secrets. CHUCK:  Yeah, I don’t know about that. And it works out really well because you get in there and it’s like, “Yeah well these guys have really nice hardware.” Those are things that I look at when I walk through and I’m not even in the market for real jobs. [Chuckles] But I notice that stuff. JAMISON:  I guess if you have really a crappy setup, it could work against you too. Like, “Wow these guys are all Apple 2s. That’s weird.” CHUCK:  Yeah, but at the same time, if I walk through a place like that and I know that they’re a startup and they’re scraping things together and that’s my cup of tea, it works out that way, too. Because then you’re like, “Hey. Are you in this stage? And I really like working for companies at this stage.” And you talk to some of the guys that work there because somebody let you in. That could work out, too. AJ:  One thing I actually think is to me I don’t like, is when I see the foosball table and the really faddish stuff. It’s super trendy now. Like, “Oh look, we’re rock stars here.” Just as a tangent, that’s one thing that just puts me off personally. CHUCK:  What, you don’t want to work for a place that you don’t have to work? AJ:  No, not really. I definitely want to have fun, but sometimes that superficial image of mega fun-ness is a little too much. Having a stocked fridge, yes, definitely. Having the Xbox station and the foosball table and ambiguous rules about hours and breaks. CHUCK:  I don’t know. I work for a company out here in Utah and they have a garage band and a bunch of other fun stuff around the office. Everybody knew who would slack off and who wouldn’t. But a lot of times, we’d all go back there and play a couple of rounds of garage band and stuff and it was a good way to build company camaraderie. So I can see it both ways. And really, what it boils down to is, like I said, you go in and you could figure out whether or not it’s a place you want to be at. But I like some of the ideas of these places that you can go in and they have a gym [chuckles] with showers, stuff like that. So it’s like, “Oh I need to just get away from this problem for a little while,” so you go and you run for an hour and then come back to the problem or things like that, and that you can just do that. You can bike into work. You can be all sweaty when you walk in, have a shower, go get to work. No big deal. And so, I can see working out either way. JAMISON:  Yeah. I think some of it’s just personal preference, too. CHUCK:  Yeah. JAMISON:  But as far as, I mean, that’s the kind of stuff you could figure out if you go to meetups, right? You’ll see [inaudible] if they have foosball tables. If don’t want that, then maybe you don’t want to work there. CHUCK:  Yeah, the other thing that’s fun with some of those places is that you get to play with some of that stuff while you’re there. So if you they have some widgets that people do stuff with or some of those games, a lot of times you can go and you get to take advantage of it while you’re there. So the stocked fridge is always one that seems to pay off for the users groups. Everybody gets as much soda as they care to drink. AJ:  Yup, I love it. CHUCK:  But anyway, so have you guys had any experiences where you went to a users group and it was just kind of a dud? AJ:  Like Jamison said, if it’s not well planned, or if it’s the first couple of meetings, sometimes it’s when you… JAMISON:  Yeah, actually, yeah. There’s been one. There’s been one and it was just because there wasn’t a good plan and then you could tell that they were just scrambling to figure stuff out. A good all-purpose emergency backup plan is just to have a hack night on something. That’s been fun before. If you don’t have anything to do, just hack on and then maybe you pick a project or pick some technology or whatever. Because there’s always people that know enough about it to guide other people about it and then teach you to make cool stuff. Now you don’t need any preparation, but you also don’t just sit there and goof off. But that could, I don’t know, that could backfire too sometimes. But it’s better than having terrible last-minute presentations. CHUCK:  Yup. AJ:  One thing that we haven’t really done with Utah JS that would be cool to try is like a shop talk night. That’d be cool. JAMISON:  What do you mean? AJ:  Just to get into smaller groups of three or four or five people and just talk about whatever comes up. Somebody is going to be the Angular expert and somebody’s going to be the Node expert and somebody’s going to be the Mongo expert. And there’s going to be this conversation that’s like what happens at the end of the meetings but it peters out really soon because by the end of our meetings, most people want to get home because we have three presentations and it’s 9 o’clock, 9:30 sometimes. Well, usually not 9:30 but sometimes it’s 9 o’clock, people want to get back home to their families and stuff. It would be kind of cool just to have a round table. I don’t know. I guess there are other groups for that. There’s the SLC hack night which is basically what that is, is you get 50 people in a room, they all around tables and talk shop for an hour, and then maybe twiddle on some code. And you got three people that are actually hacking. CHUCK:  Yeah, but that’s the other thing that’s really cool about the meetups or the users groups or whatever you want to call them. It’s the same thing with the conference in my opinion. The best part of any conference or any users group meeting is meeting people. And I really, really enjoy going out to the conferences and talking to folks and getting to know what they’re using JavaScript for or when I go to a Ruby conference or a Rails conference, find out what they’re doing that’s interesting or cool. Because everybody’s got something that’s a little bit different that is just kind of wow. And the other thing is that a lot of the developers out there are just neat people. And so just get involved. Talk to people. And it doesn’t even have to be about code. I’ve talked to some people about ideas I’ve had for conferences and stuff. And I see them the next time and they’re like, “So have you done anything with that conference?” “No.” But you know, you get those things going and it’s just a lot of fun. And really, that’s as much what the users group are about as the actual learning code and learning libraries and things like that, is building your, and I’m going to gag on this word, network, which really to me means building relationships with people that mean something. That you can help them, they can help you, and we all make the world better that way. JAMISON:  I thought you were going to say building your brand. I’ll forgive building your network. CHUCK:  Yeah, but when I talk about a network, that’s what I mean. I don’t mean that you get somebody’s name and then you email them when you need something. “Can I get a job?” It’s really about building that relationship and serving each other. And when you do that, the whole community benefits and a lot of awesome stuff happens. That’s why I go as much as for the exposure to some library that I might be interested in learning. AJ:  So tangential to that, another important tool I think now with the user groups is Google Plus. Google Plus has definitely not taken over the teenager space which I’m very thankful for. It seems to be much more of a business space, kind of like a LinkedIn but successful. Well I guess, successful for tech people, because tech hasn’t really caught on in LinkedIn. I’ve been in a couple of LinkedIn groups, but Google Plus seems to have a following with the tech groups and it’s got a lot of great tools. Like if you don’t want to spend any money on something like hardware to record presentations, Google Hangouts now support HD so you can actually record screen in a way that people can read what you’re typing, whereas a few months ago, that wasn’t possible. And then Google Events is also a really great announcement platform that can send out reminders at arbitrary intervals, unlike Facebook groups where you don’t really send out reminders. You have to post something and then it bumps back but it gets lost in the feed. The Google Events operate much more like a calendar meeting like you’d expect. CHUCK:  I know that the Salt Lake CocoaHeads actually works off of Facebook events. AJ:  Really? CHUCK:  Yeah. AJ:  I’ve never seen any tech group utilize Facebook, at least not successfully. I started a Facebook for Utah JS and I think two people joined. CHUCK:  Yeah, I think it depends on your audience and where they want to engage. But all those people are on Facebook. It’s just that’s not where they’re looking for that kind of stuff. A few other resources you could look at is creating a LinkedIn group. And LinkedIn is becoming one of my favorite social networks groups just connecting with people. And so I think that would actually be pretty cool. And it’s focused around professional whatever. AJ:  Well, I’m glad to hear you say that you’ve got such a good experience with it. CHUCK:  [Laughs] AJ:  I’ve had people contract hire me off of LinkedIn and whatnot but I hardly ever use it, really. That’s cool that you’ve got a lot of success with it. CHUCK:  Yeah, well it just depends on how you use it and whether or not that’s where the people are that you want to connect with. JAMISON:  I have a question. I just went through RobotsConf. And I’m saying this not to namedrop. But RobotsConf is all about making stuff, right? And 3D printing and hardware hacking and stuff like that. And I’m definitely a beginner at that stuff. But it was really awesome and exciting. I want to get more into it. So I’m at the point where I’m a noob with this stuff but I want to meet with other people that do it. How do I start a users group that does this? Do I just email my buddies and see if anybody wants to meet up? What’s the best way to get it going from scratch, especially if I’m not an expert in the field? AJ:  So, what I did when I was starting a mailing list for Utah JS is I mailed out to all the other user groups. So I emailed the PHP and the Ruby and the Python and a couple of other groups makers. And I just let everybody know, “Hey. I know this isn’t a JavaScript group, but some of you are probably interested. Here’s a JavaScript group that I’m starting.” And then content drives traffic, so you have to have some sort of, even if you know that there’s only two other people on a list and they can’t answer your question, type out a question and send it off into the ether. And let it not get answered. And then when you find out the answer, reply back to your own message, just so that content gets there, because the content will drive the people. If you build it, they will come. JAMISON:  So, I like the idea of hitting up other groups, just saying that you’re starting something. CHUCK:  Yeah, the other thing is I’ve heard what we’ve already said and that is: have a place, have a consistent time, show up every time. For the first few times, it may just be you and a couple of other folks, but it seems like the ones that stick to it are the ones that make it continue to happen. And really, you just have to be that force that just keeps it plugging along. AJ:  If you get two people to show up to your first meeting, it’s a successful meeting. It really is. Pretty sure that the first Utah JS meeting, once we had combined, only had seven people, and it was me, someone else, and then the five guys that were at Domo. And the meeting that we had before that, we actually had a really good turnout, but that’s because it was centrally located in Draper and everybody from Salt Lake and Provo was happy to meet in the middle. CHUCK:  Alright, so just to summarize things, we’ve basically said have a mailing list, meet in a consistent place, hopefully have some food, get interesting people to talk about interesting stuff, make sure you get the word out, possibly to other users groups. AJ:  Share content. CHUCK:  Yup. AJ:  Videos, blog posts, questions, get the content there. CHUCK:  Awesome. JAMISON:  So I got one more thing to say about food. Maybe this is going to sound really entitled. But I feel like I’ve eaten about all the free pizza that I really want to with my life. CHUCK:  [Laughs] JAMISON:  So, if you have a more established group, if you have a way to get food sponsorship, a pizza’s the cheapest way to feed a bunch of people. But if you have the means, don’t get pizza. Get something else. Everyone’s had [tons of pizza]. AJ:  False. CHUCK:  I have to say, that is one of the best things about the Utah JS group… JAMISON:  Yeah, yeah. CHUCK:  Is we’ve had wings, we’ve had sandwiches. We have pizza on occasion. AJ:  I prefer pizza every time. Actually, one of the sandwiches was really good. JAMISON:  Maybe I’ll get a little slice for you, AJ, next time. AJ:  Aww, you warm my heart. JAMISON:  I like variety. CHUCK:  Yeah. JAMISON:  Sometimes, it can be more expensive. And if that’s the case, if it’s too expensive, then yeah pizza’s [inaudible]. AJ:  And also, for people that don’t have a sponsorship for food, you can get people to contribute two or three bucks. They just got to know ahead of time, and especially now with Venmo, super easy, super easy. And when people know that you stick it out, they want to pay you back. Nobody wants to rip you off. So if you say, “Hey I personally bought this pizza. If everybody that comes can contribute. Oh we’re eight people so if you can pay $2.50 each,” people do it. Do carry change though, in those situations, if you are serious about getting people to pay you. It would be helpful to have a handful of ones. CHUCK:  So, the deal that I’ve seen usually work out with most of the corporate sponsorships is best case scenario, they pay for the pizza and somebody says company such and such paid for the pizza, and that’s it. Go tell them things. And so everybody thanks them after. And if they’re recruiting or whatever, fine. The people who are interested will talk to them and the people who aren’t wont. You know, the worst I’ve seen is where they basically come in and they’re like, “Okay we’re going to give you three minutes,” which I can sit through three minutes for you to pay for my pizza or my sandwiches or whatever. And I’m totally fine with that, too. You just do it right at the beginning and it just works out. But yeah, that’s my take. I have seen it where some recruiter has paid for the meal and then thinks that he can monopolize the meeting and that just makes everybody angry. AJ:  Yeah, that’s the problem, is that if it gets to the point where the company thinks that the group is part of their company. CHUCK:  Yeah. If you’re direct though with them and just say, “Here’s the deal. You just sponsor it. We’ll recognize you for it or we’ll give you a couple of minutes to pitch the guys on your product or on your come work for us or whatever.” Nobody’s going to care. But at the same time, you should also be willing to signal them from the back of the room, “Hey we’re done. Your time’s up.” And if you have to cut them off, then do it. And the thing is everybody will appreciate that and if you lose a sponsor, that sucks, but what you’re really after is for those interactions and code conversations and stuff like that. So if you wind up not having food one month, then tough. That’s my opinion. JAMISON:  Here, here. CHUCK:  Alright, well it sounds like we are pretty much out of ideas. If you have ideas, go ahead and post them in the comments at JavaScriptJabber.com. JAMISON:  Oh yeah, that’s a great idea. I’d love to hear from people that have done this for a long time and have maybe done some different things at meetups. That’d be cool. AJ:  Somebody who started their first one before 2004. CHUCK:  So, let’s go ahead and do the picks. JAMISON:  Oh man, I can’t hear myself think from the thumping on your chest. AJ:  [thumps chest] Can you hear it? [Chuckles] CHUCK:  [Laughs] Alright, Jamison what are your picks? JAMISON:  So, my pick is going to be your local Makerspace. There was a talk at RobotsConf about starting or joining up with a local group of makers. There’s one in Salt Lake City. There are thousands all over the world. So there’s probably one by where you are. And they usually have meetups and they also usually have cool equipment that can be a little bit expensive, like 3D printers or laser cutters and stuff like that. [It sponsors] to group of people that’s excited about making cool stuff and the kind of language agnostics that are more focused on hardware. So if haven’t been to one, you should totally check one out. And if there’s not one by you, then maybe you could start one using some of the helpful advice that we provided. Yeah, that’s my only pick. CHUCK:  Alright. AJ, what are your picks? AJ:  Believe it or not, I managed to find more. So first of all, I’m going to pick Venmo because I love Venmo. I live with roommates. We pay our bills with Venmo. I just don’t carry cash on me and so sometimes I borrow $3 from a friend for something while we’re out because I’m at a place where I have to have cash for whatever reason. I just Venmo them back instantaneously. I love Venmo because the person that you’re sending the money to, they can’t say, “Wah wah wah, I don’t have a Venmo account. Wah wah wah,” because as soon as you send the money to them, they do. You send it to their phone number or their email address and it creates the account, it transfers that money in their account. It is in their account. It is no longer in your account. It is now in their account. So, the money is gone. And I like to force people’s hand that way because I’ll just be like, “Yeah, I Venmo’d you the money.” And they’re like, “Oh I don’t have Venmo.” I’m like, “Well now you do and I’ve already paid you and it’s already there. So I can’t undo it. Oops. Guess you’ll have to sign in and figure it out.” And I also love Simple. And I think Simple and Venmo just partnered together recently. So I think if you get one, you get the other now. But Simple is a bank, kind of. It’s a user experience in front of a no-name generic bank. JAMISON:  You sound just like Jony Ive. Oh, not anymore. He doesn’t say no-name generic, but he says user experience a lot. AJ:  I don’t even know who he is. Is he one of those Apple guys? CHUCK:  [Laughs] JAMISON:  He is. He’s the [inaudible] guy. [Inaudible] AJ:  I feel dumb now. I feel dumb. We can edit that part out. JAMISON:  [Laughs] No, I like it. It’s cute. CHUCK:  Yeah. It’s cute? AJ:  Thanks. CHUCK:  It’s not cute. It’s sad. AJ:  Thanks for calling me cute. So anyway, [chuckles] Simple is just really great. And it’s a way that I can link all of my bank accounts together, which I have a couple because I have separate ones for different businesses. So for my consulting business I have one. For my DJ business I have one. And then I’ve got the one that I’ve had forever that’s just all whatever. And so I’ve got Venmo and Simple and PayPal all linked together and I can transfer in any direction through Simple and I love it. And then Square just came out with Square: Cash which is kind of like Venmo. And if the rumors are true, which maybe I’m just starting a rumor, but I’m getting a hunch from something Jamund said. I think it was Jamund. He tweeted me on Twitter and said something about his work at PayPal. And so I think that they’re coming out with something like that as well. So I love this movement of cash via email that’s actually simple, not like PayPal as in the way that PayPal has been where you have to have an account and the person has to sign up and they have to be verified and yadda, yadda, yadda. It’s like if you know this person, you trust this person, and you trust your fingers not to typo their email address or their phone number, and it’s only the first time because after that they’re in your contact list, then these new things are great. And then I’ll pick the presentation recorder that I picked two weeks ago. I’ll pick that again because I just talked about it. and so I just got a blog post outlining if you want to build your own presentation recorder for three or four hundred bucks, I found a bunch of pieces that work together and identify kinks in the system. Like do you want to record Mac? You have to have a HDCP stripper which those, you can’t search for one to find one. You basically have to find a faulty HDMI device that happens to not re-encode the signal properly and by not re-encode it properly, I mean leaves out the copyright protection. And so I’ve identified a couple of those that will work so that you can record your straight from HDMI as a pass through. You plug it into the laptop. You plug it into the projector. You hit the red button in the center and you turn the mic on and that’s it. And then also, last thing, another self pick. So, I started this site DateProvo.com which is for date ideas not for dating. New Year’s is coming around. People are making resolutions and stuff. If you’re into dating, if you have some interesting ideas, I’d love it if you’d submit it. I’m just trying to build a repository. Mostly local. Everything that comes in, I’m going to adapt to how it could be done locally here in Provo. But I think that it’d be cool to have a date site and I’m willing to fork this. Right now, it’s a private repo, but I’d be willing to fork it off to somebody that wants to have their own for their city. But something that’s categorizable, sortable, where you could say, “It’s winter, it’s rainy, I’ve got $10. What should I do?” kind of thing. CHUCK:  Alright. Well, I’ve got a couple of picks. My first pick is Discourse and you can find it at Discourse.org. We have just launched our membership site. And basically what it is, is it’s just a paid forum. And really, we’re just asking enough to keep the trolls out. So it’s $10 a year as the lowest payment setting and then you can go $5 a month, $10 a month and $50 a month, I think, and any of those will get you access. But it’s just a place where we can have discussions. You can have discussions with our guests. All of our past guests will be in there and we’ll just have these conversations about JavaScript and awesome stuff. So, if you’re looking for a great place to have these discussions, then by all means go to JavaScriptJabber.com. And if you click on the Jabber Forums signup link, then you can pick which plan you want and sign up. It’s a subscription service. You just enter your credit card information and then you get signed up and it all gets managed. Anyway, we’re going to put that out there and I’m really excited. I’m really excited for some of the conversations that we can have. We’ve been doing this for Ruby Rogues for over a year and it’s been a ton of fun. And we’ve had some awesome conversations. And I’m really interested to see what the group from this podcast will come up with. So anyway, if you want to chat with us, if you want to chat with our guests, then go do that. And that’s all I’ve got this week. I’ll guess we’ll wind this down. Hope you had a great holiday and we’ll catch you all next week!

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