January Recap: The Smell of Inspiration and JavaScript in the Morning

We kicked the year off right with one of the most introspective talks we’ve ever had, and learned some JavaScript along the way.

January 2016 Recap for Columbus Web Group

We’re almost a month and a half into 2016, and it feels like there’s already a ton of stuff that’s happened. Doesn’t it?

We genuinely feel like New Year’s Eve was only last week, and Valentine’s Day has already come and gone. Come to think of it, if you have been disconnected from the world for the past month, we’d love to show you what you’ve missed, and also what we have planned for the future… but we’ll get to that later.

Let’s recap

In January, we had an inspiring Monthly Meetup led by Todd Novak that made people take a step back, reflect and truly evaluate if they were actually giving the best they could.

All the people we talked with afterwards all echoed the same message:

This was exactly what I needed to hear right now.

Standing room only for Todd Novak’s“Getting the Best of You” on January 21, 2016 at Cardinal Solutions Group in Columbus, Ohio for Columbus Web Group’s Monthly Meetup

Relive the moment

Like every Columbus Web Group event, we record them and put them online to be watched, shared, and discovered: Watch on YouTube.

January Was the Month of JavaScript

You’ll be surprised to learn that for three Saturday mornings in a row, we hosted two free Weekend Workshops that covered different aspects of one language: JavaScript.

“Node.js After ‘Hello World’” taught by Toby Miller

Toby Miller is a full stack innovator who studies patterns, writes code, hacks old things, builds new things, passes his knowledge onto others, and challenges the status quo.

With a zen-like calm, he took the students through various aspects of Node.js that make it powerful, flexible and time-saving.

“Intro to JavaScript” taught by Josh Harrison

Josh Harrison is Vice President for Improving Enterprises where he is responsible for business development, talent acquisition, and building teams that create innovative software. He speaks regularly on emerging technology and its effect on business.

Additionally, Josh has a passion for the non-profit world. He sits on the board of local non-profits including Gladden Community House and Unverferth House and is interested in ways non-profits can leverage technology and entrepreneurship to solve social problems.

This was a two-week workshop that covered syntax, best practices, HTML DOM manipulation, design patterns, and common frameworks.

When is the Next Monthly Meetup?

We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to get together some great events for the rest of the year. And we have one coming up. Fast.

This Thursday, February 18, Lauren Kinsey is presenting:

“How Men in Tech Can Better Support Women in Tech

Men in tech have enormous power to help bring gender balance to the tech industry. Once a man is deeply grounded in why gender balance matters and has the tools to be an effective ally, his daily actions have a positive ripple effect. How do you achieve this state of being?

Men in tech have enormous power to help bring gender balance to the tech industry — Lauren Kinsey

Lauren will discuss:

  • Why gender balance is a win-win for everyone
  • Core concepts you must understand to be an effective change agent
  • How to avoid some common mistakes that damage diversity efforts
  • Why the experience of belonging is so vital to human happiness and productivity
  • How to skillfully manage unconscious bias and create a truly inclusive environment

Lauren Kinsey is a champion for diversity and inclusion

About the presenter

Lauren Kinsey is a communicator and connector. She’s passionate about the power of technology and the process of cultural change. Lauren is driven by a vision of a healthier technology culture that brings out the best in all stakeholders. In 2015 she gave a TEDx Talk on “How Women Can Hack into Tech” and created a website to help women find alternative pathways into tech careers. Lauren blogs about gender balance and inclusion in the tech industry. She also enjoys connecting with diverse and intelligent people on Twitter.

Lauren is currently working on writing a book on “How Columbus Ohio Became a Great City for Women in Tech.” If you have a story to share about something you or an organization you’re affiliated with has done to support women in tech in Columbus, get in touch!

What About Workshops?

You’re in luck. We totally have a couple of workshops on deck, with the next one in March. And get ready, we’ll be releasing the tickets on Monday, February 23 at 10 am through our Twitter account.

Columbus Web Group Weekend Workshop: The Definitive Guide to Content Strategy taught by Andy Stiebler is March 5 and March 12, 2016.

“The Definitive Guide to Content Strategy” taught by Andy Stiebler

Andy Stiebler and his best Wolverine impression on top of a mountain

What is at the heart of EVERY digital experience, but is almost ALWAYS overlooked? Content.

This workshop is an introduction to Content Strategy and how teams can use simple techniques to champion content. The activities in this workshop are applicable for people in business, UX, Visual Design, and anyone who wants to better understand how to champion a content-first approach on their next digital venture.

About the instructor

Andy Stiebler directs the meaningful production and positioning of content. He does this through collaboration with the teams designing the content and the people enjoying the content. His role is to help maximize the commercial impact of content by connecting the content to the needs of the audience.

I Heard You Say Something About Future Plans…

You’re right. Here are some topics for both Monthly Meetups and Weekend Workshops we’re looking into (not all are set in stone):

  • Introduction to native iOS for developers and designers
  • Collecting insights about users to create better experiences
  • An exploration into animation and prototyping
  • A joint event with IxDA Columbus
  • Intro to JavaScript: 102
  • Some kind of job/company fair?
  • And many more Weekend Workshop announcements (we’re hustling)

All these topics are based on what we hear from the #CbusTech community, so if there’s a topic, application, language, or methodology you’d love to learn more about, let us know. We’ll find the right person to teach it. It may even be you!

Inside Baseball

This is where we’ll show off some of the behind-the-scenes activity that not many people see.

Presenter Slides For Everybody

In our Columbus Web Group Slack community, we had a smart request from Jax Garry to have presenter’s slides easily available. We’re looking to put them on GitHub, but if you have a better suggestion — we’re all ears!

One YouTube Channel to Rule Them All

To make things a bit more consistent, we now have a dedicated Columbus Web Group YouTube channel. So from this point forward, when we have a Monthly Meetup or a Weekend Workshop, that’s where you’ll want to go to re-watch what happened.

We briefly considered re-uploading all the old videos from Kevin Mack’s personal account — and figured it’d cause more harm than good. If we had done that, we would’ve also had to make all the videos unlisted so they wouldn’t show up in searches, but not delete them to keep the link alive. But that could lead to some confusion down the road.

The simpler the better.

By the End of 2015, There Were Only Two Shirts Left

To fix that, we worked with the fine folks at Traxler and snatched up some new shirts with the colors swapped and a bit lighter grey. Rumor is that the first edition shirts are going for a pretty penny on eBay…

Official Columbus Web Group T-shirts in all their old and new glory

Event Planning is Hard

Since we have been planning out events far advance, sometimes we get blindsided by what’s happening in the real world.

There’s a site that lists all upcoming events in the Arena District. Like good little organizers, we check the site before we schedule an event, because we don’t want to battle the traffic of large events. It’s not so great when an unexpected event pops up on us like it did for the January Monthly Meetup with Todd Novak.

We promise to do a better job of this in the future, and triple check any sources out there. For February’s Monthly Meetup with Lauren Kinsey, the coast is clear!

On that note: Do you have a great site that lists major events in Columbus? We’d love to know 😊


This isn’t a Columbus Web Group event, but it IS an awesome event that has a focus on creating startups that do social good.

GiveBackHack 2016 in Columbus, OH • February 19–21, 2016 • CCAD Mind Market
GiveBackHack is a weekend-long event that brings together passionate community members to develop sustainable, technology-based solutions to some of our most pressing social issues.
We are the launchpad for social innovation you need to turn an idea into a reality. We bring together community leaders, designers, developers, and other concerned citizens to create solutions that will help make a lasting impact.

What are you waiting for? Sign up right now to be a part of something bigger than yourself.

When you register, be sure to use our promo code for a discount:
CWG (That's short for Columbus Web Group)

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