For all of us at Elastic, community matters. Our users and contributors have helped to ensure that Elasticsearch, Kibana, Beats, and Logstash are more than just code — they are open source projects that people love to use and love to talk about!
Organizing or participating in a meetup group can be an incredibly rewarding way to contribute not only to the Elastic Community, but also to the community in which you live or work — whether you're looking to gain public speaking experience, wishing to network with like-minded folks in your area, or hoping to "level up" the local community's knowledge base. As an added bonus, you can earn points for the Elastic Contributor Program by organizing events!
In this blog post, we’ll cover a few things you’ll want to consider when organizing an Elastic meetup.
First, you’ll first need to do a little bit of research on the tech user groups in your area. If there’s an Elastic user group near you, reach out to the community organizer or firstname.lastname@example.org to express your interest in organizing an event. If there isn’t an Elastic user group nearby, look for general tech user groups or Java user groups and reach out to their organizers. It’s a good idea to give yourself at least two months to put the event together and promote it.
Next, you’ll need to find a venue for your meetup. If you’re planning a virtual meetup, we have some good news: the Elastic Community team has a virtual venue ready for you to use! We’re happy to help you with the technical setup. For live events, we most often host meetups at either the event organizer’s or speaker’s workplace. Libraries, pubs, and coworking spaces have worked well for us in the past as well. Note that we don’t have a budget to pay any venue fees. Our organizer guide has more tips on selecting a venue.
After identifying a target date and securing a venue for the event, it’s time to find a speaker. It’s most effective to start within your own network. Do you have a colleague or friend who has a unique use case? Maybe you can even do a technical deep dive into a part of the Elastic Stack that you use yourself. Another good strategy for finding a speaker for a live, one-off event is to look at speakers from past events at other tech user groups in your area and reach out to them through Meetup, Twitter, or LinkedIn. If you’re organizing a virtual event or plan to host a “watch party,” you can find potential speakers all over the internet! Try searching on YouTube, Medium, GitHub, and SlideShare for folks who are creating Elastic video tutorials, writing articles about their use cases, or committing code to the Elastic GitHub repo. After you’ve found a potential speaker, be sure to send them our speaker guide.
Once you’ve identified a speaker, you’ll need to get a bio and abstract from them. With this in hand you’re ready to publish the event on our events platform and meetup.com! Reach out to us at email@example.com for support with entering these details. It’s a good idea to put together a rough agenda for the meetup at this stage. Capping speaker’s presentations at about 25 minutes each helps ensure that the audience is able to remain engaged. For a virtual meetup, we like to open the Zoom room about 5 minutes before the start time, and kick off the presentation at about 3 minutes past the start time to give folks time to arrive. Be sure to ask the speaker to include a few “warm up” questions for the audience ahead of their presentation. After the presentation is over, budget about 10 minutes for Q&A. At a live event things can vary. Usually we like to reserve the first 30 minutes for networking, arrivals, and food and drink. Then the organizer introduces the speakers, the presentation is given, and finally we leave room for about 30 minutes of networking and Q&A at the end.
Now that the event is published and the agenda set it’s time to promote it! Share on the event on social media and with your network. The more you’re able to spread the word, the higher the attendance will be.
If you’re hosting a live event or a live watch party, you’ll need to order food and drink for the event. We provide a budget for this and are happy to help you place the order. You’ll need to provide the delivery address and your phone number.
About a week before the event it’s a good idea to check in with the speaker and run through the meetup’s agenda. Have the speaker send you a copy of their slides just in case they’re running late to the event. On the day of, it’s a good idea to show up at least 15 minutes early to set up the food and drink if it’s a live event, or to test out the virtual environment if it’s a virtual event. During the event you’ll play the role of MC: introduce the speaker and make announcements to the group, including a reminder that attendees are expected to comply with our Community Code of Conduct. Introduce yourself to attendees as the organizer and help attendees network with one another. Once the presentation has ended, help the speaker field questions from attendees and thank everyone for coming!
After the event, send a recording (if you have one) along with a brief report (how many people attended, was there enough food?) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to sign up for the Elastic Contributor Program and submit the event you organized to earn points!
We hope these steps help you get started organizing your first Elastic meetup. Our community is part of what makes Elastic unique and we are truly grateful for your participation! If you have any questions along the way, please reach out to us at email@example.com.