Yesterday we hosted our season ending meetup at Gofore. In addition to finishing another year, the meetup also marked the end of our 7th year in operation. A lot has happened and I wanted to take a moment to look back and to reminiscence these years.
In the fall of 2015, I had switched from a developer job to a position of a community manager and since it was a big leap to unknown, I wanted to make sure I could stay up to date with what is happening in tech in case I wanted to become a developer again.
Little did I know what that thought would lead to.
In the first 48 hours, over 100 people signed up which was all I needed to realize that there was definitely a need for a meetup like this.
The first meetup in January of 2016 at Poutapilvi was a nice start. We got two speakers from Helsinki, through our friends from HelsinkiJS to give talks and a nice crowd — many of whom still attend meetups regularly.
At that time, there wasn’t much happening in the meetup scene. Boost Turku was hosting some tech events and IGDA Turku was gathering together game developers but other than that, not a lot was going on. The tech events of the past like Python Finland and Agile Day had finished their regular events and there was definitely room for something new.
I’m very thankful to the companies and developers of the early years who gave us a chance. Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing. I had never run a developer meetup before I did our first one.
The Good Years
From 2016 to 2020, things went really well and smooth. We had a meetup every non-summer month of the year and mixed it up with some other events like a hackathon, brewery tour and Code in the Dark and Turku Gives Back open source campaign.
A lot of people in the community made new friends, learned new things and found new jobs. That makes me very happy, everything else is kinda extra to this core. And I’m one of those people.
Dozens of events, even more dozens of speakers — first-timers and seasoned veterans alike — and a lot of fun.
We attempted to start organizing a larger conference too in 2018 but had to close it down. I think we were bit too green and inexperienced compared to our ambition levels. But maybe in the next few years we’ll explore that idea again now that we have more experience in running, attending and speaking in conferences around the world.
The Pandemic Years
And then came the pandemic and things got rough. We had to cancel a few events, tried to do a few virtual after work hangouts and such but it never really got going. When things got a bit better, we bravely attempted to continue events, only to have to close the in-person events again for a few months.
Finally, 2022 has shown that the community survived the pandemic and the events have been full of excited developers again and we finished with a really good year.
I’m excited for the next following years again. We have good baseline of operations and a wonderful community full of lovely people. I’m looking forward to improving a few things and adding new things to our operations in 2023.
None of this would have been possible without all of you.
Thanks to all the companies that have supported us over these years. I’m so happy that you have been part of our community for all this time. If your company has an office in Turku and want to be part of our events next year, don’t hesitate to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Massive thank you to all of our speakers. We’ve had so many people over the years come and share what they know to the members of our community. We’ve had first-timers and experienced speakers; locals and international folk; deeply technical and more general topics. We’ve seen some of these speakers start with us, venture out to other meetups and become conference speakers.
And personally, I want to give thanks from my heart to my fellow organizers: Teemu M., Matias and Teemu K. Without you, none of this would exist. You are extraordinarily amazing people and I’m so happy I’ve got to build this together with you over these years.
We’ll be back in January with more meetups. Until then, happy holidays!