I love meeting people. This is probably most evident in the number of meetups and conferences I have attended over the years, especially back in 2008 when I was travelling somewhere every other week it seemed. Slowly that changed as I moved locations and jobs, but I have been trying to get back in the pattern over the past few months.
Today I went to the Boulder Open Coffee Club (BOCC) for the first time in over a month. BOCC is just 100+ people shoved into a little tea/coffee shop talking tech and funny news. A perfect environment to have a laugh, get caught up on events, and meet some interesting people. Today I ended up talking for almost a half-hour with a local who is currently unemployed between start-ups after working as a cell phone engineer for many years. I don’t think there is a better way to laugh and meet complete strangers than meetups like this.
Hopefully over the next couple of months I will be introduced to and attend more local events like BOCC. When I lived back in SLC, I was a regular at 7 different spread throughout the month. From coffeeshops to breweries, they each offered a interesting and fun crowd and a great atmosphere. And who knows, maybe I will just attempt to start my own.
As for conferences, I have been an attendee at a range of them over the year, from Google I/O to ESRI to An Event Apart. With the move between jobs, I sadly have missed out on many events that occurred the past 6 months. This year, I hope to be back at it again. So far I am confirmed at DrupalCon in Chicago (March) and VidCon in Los Angeles (July). I am also looking forward to attending Google I/O in SF (May), An Event Apart (TBD), and many others if I have the time and money.
For someone as social as me, attending meetup and conferences always seemed like a no-brainer as an easy an fun way to make connections, travel, and learn. I would, however, hope that every person at least take the opportunity to attend even a local meetup or event to expand their horizons. There is no knowing what you will learn or who you will meet.