Juha-Matti Santala
Community Builder. Dreamer. Adventurer.

Building a developer community calls for strong support

Almost everyone who’s been in touch with crowdfunding in a form or another or has seen a talk about it, knows the classic 4 F’s. Friends, Family, Fools and Fans. I’ve learned that in some sense, it applies to so much more than just crowdfunding.

When I talk about fools here, I don’t mean idiots or stupid people. I mean those crazy brave people who support you before anyone else. The ones who believe in you even before you really do. And those people — I’ve learned — are the most important ones when you start something new.

Our fools are the wonderful people from a local company Poutapilvi (sorry for calling you fools). When we started the meetup community a year ago, we went through our LinkedIn connections and local company listings and researched the Twitter accounts of all the software houses in Turku. Before contacting anyone, we tweeted out a simple tweet.

After that we pinged all those companies we found and asked for support. Something amazing happened. These amazing companies like Poutapilvi tweeted back: we are in. And others followed. We had a community. Within the first 48 hours we had 0ver 100 developers in the Facebook group, couple of companies on board to sponsor and we were caught by a surprise — there was a real demand to be filled.

Tomorrow is the 9th meetup of our first year. During the year we’ve had (tomorrow included) these 9 meetups with 18 absolutely fascinating talks, one hackathon and lots of new connections made. Today we did a quick tour sharing the love and thanking our partners for their bravery and trust.

With Christmas coming, nothing was more appropriate than a box of chocolates and lovely Hello Ruby Christmas cards.

None of us in the organizing team had any experience in running a meetup. We took a stab into the unknown because we felt that something like this was missing from the local landscape. Today we are 241 people strong community with regular monthly meetups that “sell” out (no cost but registration needed) in just a few hours after announced.

So thank you friends, family, fools and fans. Thank you Poutapilvi, Anders, Sofokus, Vaadin, ATR Soft, Lyyti, Walkbase and Taiste. If you are ever looking for a development job in Turku, these are the companies to start with. Because they believe in developers, continuous learning and they support the community.

Turku ❤ Frontend is a community of developers and designers interested in frontend web development and design. We run monthly meetups and organize other events like hackathons, programming competitions and projects like Turku Gives Back. Follow us on Twitter, register to join upcoming meetups in Meetabit and join the discussion on Facebook and Slack.

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