[intra-lisp-group] Promoting Common Lisp in my area

Heow Eide-Goodman lists at alphageeksinc.com
Mon Mar 5 08:29:43 PST 2007


I think this is one of those structured vs non-structured events.

I agree with Brandon that meeting first at a library is, well, not
necessarially "boring" but rather this is how I see "disaster" playing
out.

  Imagine a scene, in a quiet library in Seattle, with a guy at
  a table with the sign: LispSTL.  He is alone and the venue is
  as quiet as death.

...that's not a very comforting scene as geeks tend to run on the
shy-side.  :-)

I'd agree that it'd probably be best to meet at an unstructured place,
say a pub or a coffee-house.  It's a more friendly venue and will (most
importantly) give you something to talk about OTHER than
functional-languages.

Something else I'd do is bring along something, anything to discuss.
Print off and bring along with you the latest Paul Graham/Joel Spolsky
article.  It doesn't even have to have anythnig to do with Lisp,
probably better that it not, as if you're recruiting you'd like to make
the bar low enough so that good developers who don't grok Lisp [yet] can
still contribute to the conversation.  Also be sure to bring paper.

You've probably already done this, but I'd continue to go to your other
local geek-events and generally let yourself become known as "the Lisp
guy".  Heck, go to university events, math lectures, astronomy
presentations and maybe even a ham-fest.  Anywhere you find geeks, plus
it's fun!

Regarding geek demographics, as few years ago LispNYC had a booth at
LinuxWorld and we were approached by almost exactly two kinds of people:

  * under 25 who read Slashdot and have heard about Lisp.
  * over 50 who did Lisp and are now managers.

Also, don't get discouraged.  It may take a while to start to get known
as "the Lisp guy" in the community at large.

- Heow


On Fri, 2007-03-02 at 17:10 -0800, Brandon J. Van Every wrote:
> Patrick X wrote:
> > I'm having the hardest time getting this group together.
> > I schedule a meeting once before at the local library and it was a diaster only
> > me and a friend I invited showed up.  So I'm trying to promote now via
> > google groups
> > I was wondering if anyone could look at:  http://groups.google.com/group/lispstl
> >
> > And recommend any suggest for improving it.  I love lisp even thou my
> > knowledge it limited
> > on it for now.  Thanks in advance!
> >
> >   
> 
> A library is not a good venue.  Translation: boring.  Pick a pub or a 
> coffee house.  A place that serves some kind of food is also generally 
> preferred.  Pick a part of town that is easy for most people to get to, 
> and that has a reasonable amount of free on-street parking available.
> 
> You need to get the committments of 3 *reliable* people to have a 
> group.  That is, they promise to keep showing up to group meetings.  If 
> you've got that seed, you can grow.  Did you actually get, "Yes I'm 
> coming," committments out of people on your previous group attempt?
> 
> If you did and they just flaked, then you're dealing with exceedingly 
> unprofessional people.  My experience in the Seattle area is if 
> programmers say they're coming, then they're coming.  If they say 
> they're not coming, then they aren't.  But they don't flake.  So if 
> flakes were the problem, you need to advertize your group to a "more 
> serious" crowd somehow.  For SeaFunc, I think I started with the OCaml 
> mailing list once upon a time, and then later we became aware of a 
> Scheme group.  We joined forces to create SeaFunc.
> 
> If you didn't confirm by e-mail that 3 people were actually coming, then 
> you didn't do enough organizational work to ensure the 1st meeting's 
> success.  Do more next time.
> 
> 
> Cheers,
> Brandon Van Every
> 
> 
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