Conduct a Virtual Meetup

How to conduct a Docker Chapter/Virtual Meetup event

Docker Chapter events and meetups are social events organized by community members who are interested in talking and learning about Docker.

Anyone who is interested in meeting with others to discuss about Docker is welcome to organize virtualchapter events. The first step is to read and understand our Code of Conduct and then to apply to the program here to be formally onboarded by a member of the Docker Community Team.

This guide helps you to successfully organize Docker Chapter Events. It provides tips, checklists, and concepts to do your planning effectively.

Preparation

At first, make sure you answer the following questions:

  • Bootstrap or contribute: Anyone can start a Docker Chapter as long as there is not an existing Docker user group in your city. Check out the Docker community page to make sure a group does not already exist in your city. If one does exist and you would like to help out please click the contact us button on the chapter page to email the local team.
  • Team up! Try go get others involved. Spread the tasks across several shoulders, but make sure there is not just a single person responsible who manages all the important information and tasks. Life happens, it’s nice to know you have someone who can help out when you’re busy from time to time.
  • Check: Commitment: Ask yourself: Are you willing to make a long term commitment to your community? Starting a chapter is a long term responsibility and goes far beyond your first event. Organizing events is very rewarding in several aspects but building and maintaining a community requires a commitment. We set a goal of 1 event per quarter. Can you commit to that?

Structure Your Meetup Project

If you decided to start, apply to the program here and a member of the Community Team will be in touch. The Community Team can help with things like finding venues, sponsors and speakers and can provide swag for your event.

Once the group is launched, we recommend scheduling the first meetup with enough lead time for successful promotion.

Next, make yourself familiar with the three most relevant tools:

  • The Docker Community Directory: This is where you applied to the community leaders program, but it also acts as a Docker Community Directory and its built-in messaging system is the main method of communication from the Docker Team. Subscribing to the community leaders mailing list is imperative as all Docker and community information is sent to organizers this way.
  • Github.com: Resources, slide decks, sponsorship resources
  • Events.docker.com: Publish events and track attendees
  • Community Leader Private Slack Channel: Great place to interact with other community leaders, make sure you have access

As you go through the organizing process, you can use the following phases to structure your planning for a successful event:

Start with a scoping phase that shapes the general purpose of your meetup series. In this phase, you answer questions like: Do I want to organize simple, open discussions about Docker or I want to invite speakers? All the remaining phases belong to a single meetup, i.e. for each meetup you start with planning and finish up with the closing phase. Following this guide will make it easy for you to always have an overview what’s important now and next.

Scope

  • Define your scope and goal: All subsequent planning steps are aligned to the scope and goal you define. Define, what kind of meetup you want to run: Usually, Docker Meetup events are 2-3 hours long, start between 4pm and 7pm and feature 1 to 3 main talks lasting 20-30 minutes each. The agenda is up to each meetup Community, so feel free to explore different avenues to share knowledge:
  • Simple social gatherings to discuss Docker projects
  • 10-minute lightning talks
  • Docker Training
  • How-to tutorials
  • Panels
  • Presenting use cases
  • Advanced technical deep dives
  • Target Group: Advertising for students is very different than it is for employees. Define your target group to allocate appropriate ad resources later on.
  • Frequency:: Having a regular meetup date is key to an active group. Consistent meetups are essential in building a thriving community. Is there a certain time that works best for everyone? How often will you meet? No matter what your group decides, allowing enough time to travel to the meetup location and holding frequent, regular meetup events are two significant catalysts for a strong and active meetup group.

Planning

We recommend to create a single planning document, i.e. a Markdown file for each meetup. Using Github for that eases file versioning and eases editing since Github is a familiar platform. This planning document should gather all relevant information for the particular meetup, divided in categories and tasks. See the following slide as example (it’s in German, but you’ll get the general idea):

Each category contains a set of associated tasks. Thereby, each tasks ideally has:

  • a checkbox to track the progress
  • the name of the one who is responsible for the tasks
  • a deadline, if appropriate

Plan each category

Next, see the following tips for each category:

  • Advertisement: General advice: Trial and error. After the third meetup you’ll have a good feeling of which ad is useful or not. Indoor, locations that are often used is highly recommended, such as entrances to cafeterias in your company or at university.

You can help with promoting your event across Docker’s social media channels. Once your meetup page is created, we’ll add your group to the global map and include it in our meetup groups.

Docker will tweet about your meetup events and include them in the events section on docker.com and in the Docker Weekly newsletter.

Encourage members to invite friends and colleagues to meetups! Messaging through meetup.com is an effective way to encourage more communication and activity among members. The more the merrier!

Join forces! You may consider joining forces with another complementary meetup group with shared interests and goals. For new groups - perhaps in more remote locations - cross-promotion can be a great way to kick start and establish the group’s presence. You can create an event together and then share it with each group’s members to multiply attendance. This encourages and builds the community on both sides.

In all advertisements, you should reference the meetup.com event page. Changing details on meetup.com is much easier than on physically published ad.

For more advice on how to promote your meetup, check out promote my meetup group on Meetup.

  • Sponsorship The main benefit of sponsoring a Docker Meetup is visibility. As a sponsor, you can gain visibility in the following ways:

    • Giving a regular talk at the meetup or a short introduction talk (2-5 min) at the beginning (as long it is not a sales pitch!)
    • Listing as a sponsor on the meetup.com page left column
    • Listing in the meetup event page event details
    • Thanks in pre- and/or post-event emails
    • Verbal thank you in opening or closing remarks
    • Recognition in the following Docker promotional channels
      • Docker social media networks
      • Docker Weekly newsletter
      • Docker Monthly Events blog

In an effort to keep our meetup events neutral, we mostly welcome ad hoc sponsorships. If you are interested in a recurring sponsorship, please contact Docker at community@docker.com.

  • Speakers: In general, good speakers are rare, often busy themselves, but important for a good meetup series. Even if the speaker’s content seems very good, some speakers cannot properly deliver their content. Try to see the speaker once in advance, e.g. on other meetups or do a dry-run with them.

Message members in the group to see if they would like to present or if they know of any speakers from their network. Is there anyone from the Docker Team in the local area who could give a talk? Find local developer conferences, review the speaker list, and identify if anyone could be using Docker. Conferences can be tracked on lanyrd.com. If members feel that a full presentation with slides is too much of a time commitment, a shorter lightning talk of 5-10 minutes or a quick demo is also great! Everyone can learn something from each other. Tips for selecting appropriate speakers: talks should not be a sales pitch, but can however showcase a company’s tech and how it uses Docker. We also don’t expect speakers to “oversell” Docker. They should “be themselves” and formulate a talk they feel would be relevant to Docker users.

Have a moderator (can by anyone who feels good in doing this) that leads through the talks. Start with a warm welcome, announce each talk and wish everyone a good safe home. It’s that easy.

Ask Docker for an employee to come by. If it’s possible to align this to their travels, this is a big plus for the agenda.

Don’t hesitate to ask Docker community managers for advice!

  • Timetable: Prefer to run the meetup outside of typical business hours - evenings tend to work best for most groups. Weekdays like Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday work best: meeting during the workweek gives your group its best chance for a higher turnout (especially in North America and Europe). Note that in Asia, meetups scheduled during the weekend also tend to be very well attended.

When considering the date for your meetup, conduct a thorough search of other meetup groups in your local area that Docker users may already be attending. Consider, for example, when the Go or DevOps user groups meet and try to avoid scheduling your meetup events on coinciding days. You don’t want to force your attendees to choose between events - they (yourself included) may want to attend both!

Are holidays coming up or conferences happening close by that your members might attend? Consider scheduling the meetup so that both you and your members can participate in the event, or better yet, create a complementary meetup around the conference dates. Being flexible helps both you and the group maximize the time you have together.

Unsure about dates and times? Poll the group!

  • Event description on Meetup.com: On the event’s page, providing enough information about the program is conducive to higher attendance. Haven’t finalized all of the details? Don’t worry - post the meetup anyway so it is on everyone’s radar. Update your post as details come. Just note if there are significant changes to the event (like cancelling a speaker); they may be infrequent, but it can affect turnout.

Post the agenda if you have one. List start and end times, what time the presenter will speak, as well as any other details to let attendees know what to expect. Does the presenter have a biography and photo to share? What’s their Twitter or GitHub account? How about a brief abstract and/or talk title? Let your group get to know both the speaker and topic(s).

  • Misc: Here, put everything that does not fit into other categories, e.g. brainstorming ideas.

Kick-Off Preparations

In this phase you basically start to do what you planned, e.g. buy equipment, drinks, cups, etc.

Visit the venue and think about directions you need to provide, get in touch with responsible of the venue.

Check the presentation equipment.

Lauch: Meet up!

Plan to be finished 15 minutes before the meetup officially starts. You’ll need this buffer anyway :-) Let the moderator start starting the show, e.g. by asking the audience where they come from etc. Manage the speakers’ time by two simple methods:

  • During his talk, sit in the first row. Five minutes before the speaker’s time is over, stand up and move to the front in a way that you don’t disturb the talk, but the speaker recognizes you.
  • Move closer to the speaker the more he is overdue.

Closing

This phase is all about getting feedback. Really good feedback requires asking for it. Use offline and online channels to do so.

With your co-organizers, discuss the event and gather ideas to improve.

Document all your feedback and ideas for next time.

Don’t forget to distribute the slides for attendees.

If applicable, write a blog post about the meetup with pictures and its highlights. If Docker retweets it or includes this post in the Docker weekly, you meetup receives attention bonus points.

Online Resources available to Meetup organizers

The Docker Community Directory

The Docker Community Directory is a simple communication & directory tool for us to share events, activities, and programs with groups of active community members. All our members can easily reach one another. You can open discussions among selected members, send direct messages, share ideas and experiences, get help finding sponsors and speakers and help other members succeed and run great meetup events. When the community supports each other, everyone wins! The Docker Community page.

Docker Blog

The Docker Blog is a great resource to find content! We post the latest Docker news including new releases and events like DockerCon there. For our curated collection of content from the community, check out this page: http://www.scoop.it/t/docker-by-docker.

####Docker Weekly Get the latest Docker news straight to your inbox! This weekly newsletter highlights content from the community along with the latest Docker news.

Docker Docs

Get all the info on the different Docker projects with our docs.

Slideshare

Another great resource for finding content! Docker’s Slideshare account has slide decks from Docker presentations - you’re welcome to use and/or modify these slides when presenting to your own meetup group.

YouTube

Check out our YouTube page for videos of recorded talks from DockerCon, webinars and other meetups.

Social Media

Follow us on Twitter, join the Docker community on Google+, like Docker on Facebook and join the Docker Users Group on LinkedIn


Last modified 07.07.20207: Update config.toml (bbe6bcb)