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It is easy to misstake strong attendance for success when talking about meetups, but while having people show up is an important factor it is not the deciding factor. Meetups as small as only 2~3 people can still be considered successful - depending on what the goal of the meetup is.
This article will assume that the goal of a meetup is to increase user and merchant adoption and to practically demonstrate the usecase of peer to peer electronic cash.
My view is that all people are different and I believe that we will need different types of meetups to reach the broadest audience possible. Every new user is valuable and even if a meetup does not succed at introducing a newcomer to the ecosystem - maintaining a community is also very important as it is the foundation on which new adoption builds.
One way to host a meetup is to simply bring friends and family together with the expectation of discussing the topics at hand, and announce that curious people are welcome to join if they so wish.
This type of meetup is usually relatively small and has very little maintainance.
People: Few - mostly close friends with the occasional visitors.
Location: Public or private - can be held at a café, someones workplace or at home.
Topics: Anything - the topics for discussion depends mostly on the core group.
Activities: Trusted - the activities usually assumes trust with the meetup attendees.
Swag: Rarely - there is no real need to hand out merchandise.
Imagine a group of 3~6 people who meet up at a café, usually talks about the parts of Bitcoin Cash that they have personal interests in and could get somewhat technical from time to time. When they get visitors they help out with the basics like setting up a wallet and making backups, but the discussion remains on the skill level of the core group most of the time.
Sometimes they might mix things up and play a friendly game of cards or watch a crypto-related movie, and there is a general sense of trust and companionship.
Another way to host a meetup is to focus not on the core group, but on the meetings between people and ideas. In this setup the meeting is in a public space and the topics for discussion varies wildly from one meeting to another depending on what people happen to be there.
The meetup is announced publically and attendence can be anything from a few to many.
People: Varying - usually the meeting host and mostly curious non-technical people.
Location: Public - meeting is in an accessible public space, often a café or pub.
Topics: Anything - often recent news limited to the attendees skill and backgrounds.
Activities: Trustless - any non-discussion activity is are best kept trustless.
Swag: Occasionaly - Having merchandise is great for the identity but not required.
Consider a meetup at central pub or bar, or maybe a restaurant, with plenty of room. Anyone can come and go as they please during the expected meetup time. There's multiple discussions going on between various groups of people and more often than not there's newcomers and curious visitors present.
Sometimes someone brings merchandise like stickers and tshirt, sometimes they bring new products to talk about and test out. When possible it's in a place that accept Bitcoin Cash for payment, and if such a place is not available they find creative ways to let newcomers experience payments on the spot anyway.
It is also possible to hold meetups that are more formal. With a known list of topics to talk about, projects or people to meet and products to market, this type of meetup comes with a bit more effort to set up and maintain, but also allows to bring in a different set of a people.
The main value proposition for formal meetups is the creation of new relations or marketing of skills or products.
People: Varying - An organizer, possibly speakers/representatives and enthusiasts.
Location: Public - Usually held at meeting room, conference hall or similar.
Topics: Known agenda - the topics and activities should be public before the meetup.
Activities: Varying - workshops, project and product presentations are common.
Swag: Common - merchandise helps build brand recognition and user relations.
The meetup is held in a public place but only for people who know they are invited. The attendees are more specialized, often people looking to work in the field, or representatives of companies who are interested in the field. While the meetup itself is usually free, it is not uncommon to see money being used on the meetup; be it for speculative trading, selling related products and services or engaging in business relations.
This type of meetup is a great place to introduce merchants and companies to crypto and help them get engaged in the community.
If you've read this and want to get started and host a meetup, but think this is still too vague, then feel free to reach out to me and I will help you get in contact with others who have experience with this and together we will sort out the practicalities.
If you've read this and are not sure but still would like to know more, let me know and I'll consider to make follow-up articles with more a more practical perspective for each type of meeting, with tips and tricks and other things I've learnt over the years.
If you have different expectations on how a meeting should be, feel free to share your ideas in the comments.