Creating high-quality communities

Gerard runs through the key elements in growing a successful tech community around meet-ups and events.


  • Creating a community from scratch

    • Initially, you will be doing everything :) marketing, sales, design, etc.

  • Format

    • Top speakers

    • Top venue

    • Prizes

    • Drinks and Food

    • Recordings

  • Recruiters

    • You need to give boundaries/rules so folks don't abuse the meeting.

Secret formula, how the community is made.

  • Venue → contact speakers → start promotion → run event

  • Venue

    • Location!

    • Need to make it easy for people

    • Check-in and security

    • Are people going to need to wait outside? How will they get in?

    • Technical set up

    • Audio/video

      • Catering details

    • Space setup and cleaning

      • Setting chairs up, etc.

  • Speakers

    • Book developer advocates

    • Conference speaker snitcher

      • contact speakers from local conferences happening at the same time.

  • Networking

    • Use your sponsors networks!

    • Don't compromise the content

  • Promotion

    • A lot of people perceive this as annoying, but it's not actually that hard

    • Speaker update, sponsor updates (we have food, etc.)

    • Reminder - people will forget, so send a reminder

    • day-after message - this is important

  • Event

    • Pre checks:

      • RSVP/Security, speakers, catering

    • Hosting + schedule keeping

    • Making sure everything stays on track

    • Socials, etc.

  • Passion

    • A talk can be rubbish but if it gets people excited, it's good

  • Have FUN!

    • Planning is a lot of work, if you're not having a good time, you might need to change it up.


Unless you have a big team that can support you

  • You will be doing, like, literally everything.

  • You will be doing marketing,

  • You will be doing sales (almost), like closing sponsorships for the long term, so you don’t have to do the research every single meetup.


  • Meetups every 2 months

  • Recordings available

    • If you're putting in the work, you want to have a recording

  • Great speakers

    • Passion shows through

  • Great atmosphere and hospitality

    • -Dedicated teams for welcoming guests

Benefits of hiring a 3rd party to do the heavy lifting

  • You have audio, you have video.

  • They will record every single meetup.

  • They will give you people that you can call.

  • There’s also a desk walk-in that they will hand these name badges.

  • It’s like a proper meetup.

Of course, you don’t have to go for this level, but that’s something nice when you have been doing community for a few years.

Use your opportunities

  • There’s a lot of opportunities when you are doing this kind of activity, use every single one.

Driven by passion

  • You don’t want to be messing around,

  • You want to share a really strong message, so people when they go to your meetup, they know what they are going to get. And in this meetup, people, we’re going to get awesome.

And why? Well, because in my experience, passion is what makes things succeed. “This sounds, I mean, if I was a salesperson, this would be like, “Oh, my God, what are you saying, Gerard? This is like total BS.” No, I totally believe it, and I stand by it.”


  • Make sure you draw a line and make sure your organizers understand how you want the meeting to be carried out and things you don’t want.

  • Set clear goals.

Using RSVPs as a success metric

RSVPs can be very misleading. There’s a lot of people using, like, big numbers of RSVPs. When you go to the vendors, like, 15 people, like, where are the other people? What happened there?


  • Top speakers

  • Top venue

  • Prizes and raffles

    • Can be used in promotions, you can use them to just share contacts that you have with conference organizers.

  • Treats and drinks and share them in the meetups

    • Of course, this is to create some kind of hype.

  • Recordings

“If you are building your meetup, you want to match your own style. You don’t have to match mine.”

How a community is made? -- Secret Formula

  • Venue

    • Location, location, location.

      • This is obvious. If you want to get people, you need to make it easy for them.

      • You don’t want to make it, like, in them, I don’t know, in zone 5 in London, you need to do it, like, in City Center, at least.

    • Check-in on security

    • Technical setup.

      • You want to host your event with a third party because they are going to take care of that. Taking care of that takes a lot of effort.

    • Catering details

    • Space, setup and cleaning,

      • Who put the chairs there? Who took the chairs out afterwards? Who cleaned your mess?

Venue basics

Speaker guidelines

  • Top speakers

  • Developer advocates

    • Why? -- They are paid for it. The company’s going to fund the travelling. They usually have, like, really good content.

  • Conference speaker snitcher

    • If there’s a conference in your city that you know about, contact these speakers and invite them, and most of the time, they will come.

  • Network

    • Of course, use any opportunity. Use the venue, the context that you need to reach for new venues. Use the networks for sponsors.

    • They have business contacts, reach them. Of course, don’t compromise the quality of the event,

    • Check about the content that they are planning to show.

Promotion tips

  • General Announcements

  • Speaker update

  • Sponsor update.

  • Reminders

  • Day after message

    • Social media -- Just make a lot of noise.

    • If you are a developer advocate for a big enterprise company, you need to align with the strategy, etc.

    • If you are an independent developer, then you're quite free.

Event steps

  • Pre-checks, RSVPs/security, speakers and catering

    • There’s a lot of, like, admin work. Maybe you can leave it to someone at the venue. That’s the best option.

  • Hosting and schedule-keeping.

    • This is the people saying like, “Okay, one minute, two minutes.” This is important because at ten in the evening they kick you out, and they are very rude, and you don’t want that to fall into your attendees.

  • Prizes

    • You want prizes, you want to give away tickets. You want to contact organizers, you want to contact vendors, you want to give discounts. You want to give these to the people that are coming to your events and also anyone.

  • Socializing and pictures

    • Part of a promotion.

    • You need to be sensible about how you decide this and probably, you don’t want to use like stock pictures.

Top ingredients

  • Ambition

    • Bigger venue, bigger speakers, silly things happening during the event. Raffles, prizes, conference tickets to GraphQL Europe to GraphQL people. It’s awesome.

  • Passion

    • Why it’s important? Why it doesn’t matter if the talk is completely rubbish if it gets the people excited?

  • Have fun

    • Of course, this is a lot of work. If you are not enjoying having a good time, maybe there are changes that you need to make.

"Yeah. I mean, this is myself. This is my personality. Just don’t listen to me, I’m a little bit crazy, but totally go and create a community that will benefit everyone in that community" -- Gerad

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