React is a coding library at the center of the gooWee tech stack. It’s a front-end library. Or put another way, it’s a technology that helps us to create web and mobile user interfaces. React is a powerful and popular library, and is currently one of the most sought after skills in web developers.
We’ve been gradually incorporating React into our development process over the last year, and now it’s a key component. But in this field, the learning is never over. So we’ve been eager to swap knowledge with other React developers in some kind of meetup situation.
But on searching for a React meetup in Boulder, we discovered there was none. So we decided to start one ourselves. We created the meetup page just to get the ball rolling, and within a day or so we already had 20 members. So we figured we’d better keep going.
We put a first event on the calendar and then thought about what to do. We’d never organized a meetup before. Things were not immediately obvious. Where would we meet? Who would come? Who would talk? Where would the pizza come from?
I volunteered to give the first talk, and to focus on our react boilerplate of choice–the one called react-boilerplate. Not sure what skill levels would be present at the meetup, it seemed like a good idea to focus on an intermediate topic, which react-boilerplate was. Juan agreed to MC the event. Galvanize agreed to give us meeting space. And the pizza, regrettably, would not be in attendance.
By the week of the first meetup, the group already had 80 members, and 40 had RSVPed. Based on advice from experienced meetup organizers, we estimated that half that number would actually show up. Sure enough, the attendees numbered 19. They were a mixture of all skill levels, with a handful of people actually using React in a current job. Afterward, the feedback was good. Everyone got something out of the meetup, and said they’d be excited to come back.
Since then the group has continued to grow. We had a second meetup last month with 30 attendees, 2 presenters, and this time, pizza. And a third is scheduled for this month (February 26th). It will feature a talk on building VR apps in React.
We’re also adding a second meetup event, based on feedback from the group. This will be a coding night in partnership with 2 other groups: Women Who Code, and Bootcamper’s Collective. Developers of any skill level will be able to plug into a project to learn, practice, and guide others. We’ll provide the projects and the pizza. The first coding night will be at Kapost in Boulder, on March 15th.