A Convenient Coincidence

I live in Dayton Ohio. I am very involved with the local web community and co-organize several web-related Meetup groups. I have a passion for the web community so, while vacationing in Texas I had a ‘convenient coincidence’ of meeting Austin Texas’ largest web group — Refresh Austin.

Our vacation included four days at the in-laws who live about an hour from Austin, Texas. Vacations at the in-laws are a little slower and more relaxed than usual vacations. I considered looking up some Meetup groups while I was in the Austin area.

On the second day in Texas, we had plans to drive an hour into Austin to have dinner with the family. Out of curiosity I looked on Meetup.com and found the Refresh Austin group was meeting that evening.

If your not familiar with Refresh Austin, they are the largest web group in the Austin area. They currently have over 4,500 members and they had 112 RSVP’s for that evening’s meeting.

I sent a message to the group organizer, Ryan Joy, and self-subscribed to their Slack team. I told Ryan that I was co-organizer of the Dayton Web Developers group. I asked if he would be available to meet and “compare notes” on organizing a web community.

My wife encouraged me to go to the meeting. She said it was fine to leave her and the kids for a few hours. (She’s dreaming of moving back to Texas one day to be closer to family).

We arrived in Austin at 6pm. I spent 30 minutes with family then raced downtown for the meeting.

Refresh Austin’s monthly meetings are at The North Door. It’s a bar in a growing neighborhood in Austin, the eclectic east side.

The evening had two presentations:

“Drive Revenue with a Data-Driven Product” by Michelle Greer and “Using the Happiness Metric” by Dan Corbin. I only heard Michelle’s presentation but would have loved to hear Dan’s presentation also.

Pre-meeting “open mic” time.

Michelle Greer is a veteran marketing consultant. She started the marketing efforts for several startups like Heroku, Volusion, and Nexmo (acquired by Vonage). She had lots of valuable experience to share with the group. I’m glad I got to see her presentation.

Good turnout to hear Michelle Greer’s presentation.

After Michelle’s presentation I had some time to talk with Ryan Joy. We spent about an hour swapping stories and comparing notes on organizing our community groups. Their group is the same age as the Dayton Web Developers group so there was a lot of common ground to talk about.

Why am I sharing this story?

If your involved with a community group you’ll find friends all around the world. Meetup.com makes it easy to look up what’s happening on the calendar wherever you are.

A Convenient Coincidence: It was “planned happenstance” that I could attend Austin’s largest web group meeting and meet Ryan Joy. We were in Austin for only three hours.

A Little Bit Goes a Long Way: The Refresh Austin group is 4-times larger than the Dayton Web Developers group. I’ve made a new friend and mentor by reaching out to Ryan Joy. He had good suggestions to bring back to my group. I also have a new channel of contacts through their Slack team.

If you’re out of town on a business trip or a vacation I encourage you to check for local groups getting together. You’ll find like-minded folks that are welcoming and encouraging.