Published: 8 years ago

What makes a tech community?

This is part of a conversation going on among the people helping organizing a tech community. First a quote from a previous message, followed by my reply. I would love to hear everybody’s opinion and create a constructive dialog. Disclaimer: I edited my reply a bit to correct some grammar horrors (yeah horrors, way beyond errors).

We saw last time the turnout has a lot to do with the topic. If we run this as a user group (like the WordPress, iPhone, and Ruby groups, etc.), then the turn out will be like last time. If we reach out wider with more general interest topics, then we’ll get 200 people.

Well I think some tech topics in a tech community won’t hurt once in a while. We need to remember that we want to build a tech community, not just a group of people as big as possible, otherwise we could just talk about sports and I’m sure we would get even 500 people to show up. The real core of Refresh Miami, in my opinion, should be “tech” and the concept of tech should go beyond using a computer, twitter, facebook or emails, cause nowadays almost everybody does those things already. I invite you all to check the schedule of the other Refresh groups (refreshingcities.org). I’m not saying it should be all about code, because that would be wrong as well, I think the September event about copyright and venture capital was great.

Refresh should talk about new technologies and help people creating tech businesses. If this means having 100 people who can put their head together and build (build, not just talk about building) cool projects (those are what really attract VC and press, not cool people), I’ll take those 100 over 200 generalists everyday.

  • http://benbloch.posterous.com ben bloch

    Thanks for starting this conversation publicly, Davide. A sole focus on growth in numbers in a group or community will only result in dilution. Who cares if you have the largest group in the state, country, world etc? If you can’t scale the quality and relevance of the group discussions, the number of people in attendance is meaningless. It takes people like you to speak up and keep the growth in check. I have no doubt that you have the best intention of the south florida tech community in mind. Hopefully we can learn from our mistakes and have the courage to recognize them and correct our course.

  • http://benbloch.posterous.com ben bloch

    Thanks for starting this conversation publicly, Davide. A sole focus on growth in numbers in a group or community will only result in dilution. Who cares if you have the largest group in the state, country, world etc? If you can’t scale the quality and relevance of the group discussions, the number of people in attendance is meaningless. It takes people like you to speak up and keep the growth in check. I have no doubt that you have the best intention of the south florida tech community in mind. Hopefully we can learn from our mistakes and have the courage to recognize them and correct our course.

  • http://www.ulisesorozco.com Ulises I. Orozco

    I agree!

    I think that there is a place for every discipline. We have meet up groups for just about everything now a days. Refresh started off with techs getting together to learn from each other, help each other and collaborate. I wasn’t fortunate enough to be at those first meetings but that’s the spirit that (I’ve been told) brought these first members together. To that aim, I feel that the community is better served with a group that goes back to that versus just another networking event.

  • http://www.ulisesorozco.com Ulises I. Orozco

    I agree!

    I think that there is a place for every discipline. We have meet up groups for just about everything now a days. Refresh started off with techs getting together to learn from each other, help each other and collaborate. I wasn’t fortunate enough to be at those first meetings but that’s the spirit that (I’ve been told) brought these first members together. To that aim, I feel that the community is better served with a group that goes back to that versus just another networking event.

  • http://www.justhack.com Chris Saylor

    I feel like Refresh has diverged off topic somewhat. It would be a mistake to water down refresh to make it palatable to everyone. Let’s not forget the mission statement.

    “Refresh is a community of designers and developers working to refresh the creative, technical, and professional culture of New Media endeavors in their areas. Promoting design, technology, usability, and standards.”

    If there needs to be a meetup palatable to the less techy, then let’s create it.

  • http://www.justhack.com Chris Saylor

    I feel like Refresh has diverged off topic somewhat. It would be a mistake to water down refresh to make it palatable to everyone. Let’s not forget the mission statement.

    “Refresh is a community of designers and developers working to refresh the creative, technical, and professional culture of New Media endeavors in their areas. Promoting design, technology, usability, and standards.”

    If there needs to be a meetup palatable to the less techy, then let’s create it.

  • http://morewillie.com Willie

    In quality vs. quantity, I always choose quality. So yes, agreed…despite being new to the tech community down here.

  • http://morewillie.com Willie

    In quality vs. quantity, I always choose quality. So yes, agreed…despite being new to the tech community down here.

  • http://bakedweb.net Ivan Acosta-Rubio

    It is paramount for a tech community to discuss topic related to technology, but not just once in a while… Always. Business and marketing topics should be left out and discuss rarely. Marketing and Business are big subjects and I would think they can have a dedicated meeting.

    The core of Refresh Miami is not tech anymore. It is a a mix of several communities. It diverged for good to accomodate a wider audience. This is good for the tech community, but the name has fallen short. Maybe it is time to change it?

    I am 100% tech, but I can go to so many social media marketing or business meeting. If you get bored with code, don’t understand it or just don’t care, you ought to be in any community, but Tech.

    By making the topics wider the real tech people will just stop going as I have done this myself. Let’s be sincere. If the topics are using a computer, twitter, facebook, emails, installing wordpress, etc you are not building a tech community…. you are building something else.

  • http://bakedweb.net Ivan Acosta-Rubio

    It is paramount for a tech community to discuss topic related to technology, but not just once in a while… Always. Business and marketing topics should be left out and discuss rarely. Marketing and Business are big subjects and I would think they can have a dedicated meeting.

    The core of Refresh Miami is not tech anymore. It is a a mix of several communities. It diverged for good to accomodate a wider audience. This is good for the tech community, but the name has fallen short. Maybe it is time to change it?

    I am 100% tech, but I can go to so many social media marketing or business meeting. If you get bored with code, don’t understand it or just don’t care, you ought to be in any community, but Tech.

    By making the topics wider the real tech people will just stop going as I have done this myself. Let’s be sincere. If the topics are using a computer, twitter, facebook, emails, installing wordpress, etc you are not building a tech community…. you are building something else.

  • http://www.lorimarietodd.com/ Lori Todd

    Thank you for writing this, Davide. I would love more tech focused events and would love for Refresh to return to that. I’ve only been a part of the community since the beginning of this year, but that being said – it’s exhausting going to social event after social event and not necessarily getting much value out of it (aside from those friendships that have already been established).

    More geek, please.

  • http://www.lorimarietodd.com/ Lori Todd

    Thank you for writing this, Davide. I would love more tech focused events and would love for Refresh to return to that. I’ve only been a part of the community since the beginning of this year, but that being said – it’s exhausting going to social event after social event and not necessarily getting much value out of it (aside from those friendships that have already been established).

    More geek, please.

  • http://brianbreslin.com Brian Breslin

    as the person who started Refresh nearly 4 years ago, I’m glad you posted this out in the open. There needs to be more conversation going on, where anyone and everyone can have input.

    When I started refresh, I had just come back from SXSW and met a bunch of people who were starting Refreshes in their towns (austin, phoenix, and dallas come to mind), and I thought it was a great idea to bring this energy and community spirit to Miami. I was looking for a place to connect with other designers and developers and web entrepreneurs. I really had no agenda, no goal of X # of people. Heck I have lost money running Refresh all these years, so I clearly didn’t start it to make money from it.

    The beauty of it all is that we now have used Refresh as a catalyst to forge these other movements throughout the area, and to drive the growth of offshoot groups and niche groups. But a tech group has to retain some of its focus to be effective. Otherwise you might as well be throwing a generalized cocktail party for everyone in Miami/S.Fl, and there are cocktail parties going on that serve that purpose every day in every part of our region.

    I’d love to know what people want out of the group(s) so that we can tailor them better, so that people can derive a lot more value out of them.

    Thanks for sparking the discussion Davide.

  • http://brianbreslin.com Brian Breslin

    as the person who started Refresh nearly 4 years ago, I’m glad you posted this out in the open. There needs to be more conversation going on, where anyone and everyone can have input.

    When I started refresh, I had just come back from SXSW and met a bunch of people who were starting Refreshes in their towns (austin, phoenix, and dallas come to mind), and I thought it was a great idea to bring this energy and community spirit to Miami. I was looking for a place to connect with other designers and developers and web entrepreneurs. I really had no agenda, no goal of X # of people. Heck I have lost money running Refresh all these years, so I clearly didn’t start it to make money from it.

    The beauty of it all is that we now have used Refresh as a catalyst to forge these other movements throughout the area, and to drive the growth of offshoot groups and niche groups. But a tech group has to retain some of its focus to be effective. Otherwise you might as well be throwing a generalized cocktail party for everyone in Miami/S.Fl, and there are cocktail parties going on that serve that purpose every day in every part of our region.

    I’d love to know what people want out of the group(s) so that we can tailor them better, so that people can derive a lot more value out of them.

    Thanks for sparking the discussion Davide.

  • http://www.saltriverstudio.com Robert Murray

    As one of the attendees to the very first meeting, the purpose was to have a place where we could collectively discuss the things we were doing as a local community and feed off each other. And it was about the industry as a whole.

    In the last few years, the industry has evolved tremendously. The group as also evolved, and continues to evolve. I consider this group a second home, personally. It’s a place where I can find like-minded folks and discuss the challenges we all share being involved in tech. It’s a place where I can feel human again because everyone understands what I’m talking about. If it were to morph into a more general purpose social group, it would completely loose that sense of purpose for me.

    My vote is to keep it tech focused. The size doesn’t matter so much to me as does the sense of having a true community.

  • http://www.saltriverstudio.com Robert Murray

    As one of the attendees to the very first meeting, the purpose was to have a place where we could collectively discuss the things we were doing as a local community and feed off each other. And it was about the industry as a whole.

    In the last few years, the industry has evolved tremendously. The group as also evolved, and continues to evolve. I consider this group a second home, personally. It’s a place where I can find like-minded folks and discuss the challenges we all share being involved in tech. It’s a place where I can feel human again because everyone understands what I’m talking about. If it were to morph into a more general purpose social group, it would completely loose that sense of purpose for me.

    My vote is to keep it tech focused. The size doesn’t matter so much to me as does the sense of having a true community.

  • http://www.worstpizza.com lapp

    Excellently stated young man! Diluted is how I feel our tech community is getting. There is an event every night about sh*t I don’t even care about anymore.

  • http://www.worstpizza.com lapp

    Excellently stated young man! Diluted is how I feel our tech community is getting. There is an event every night about sh*t I don’t even care about anymore.

  • http://www.blancastella.com Blanca Stella Mejia

    As someone from the non geek side who has met a lot of tech people through the various social media events, I agree with all the previous comments. Maybe a good idea would be for Refresh Miami have a joint meeting with a group like Social Media Club South Florida every quarter or every 6 months to introduce business people to the tech community. That way you stay focused on your niche and have the opportunity to possibly meet new collaborators from business entrepreuners who possibly will invest in a tech start up.

  • http://www.blancastella.com Blanca Stella Mejia

    As someone from the non geek side who has met a lot of tech people through the various social media events, I agree with all the previous comments. Maybe a good idea would be for Refresh Miami have a joint meeting with a group like Social Media Club South Florida every quarter or every 6 months to introduce business people to the tech community. That way you stay focused on your niche and have the opportunity to possibly meet new collaborators from business entrepreuners who possibly will invest in a tech start up.

  • http://montgomerystudios.com Michael Montgomery

    The question begets the answer: What makes a tech community?
    Seems obvious to me: Technology. And community.

    “Fear not the technology.”

  • http://montgomerystudios.com Michael Montgomery

    The question begets the answer: What makes a tech community?
    Seems obvious to me: Technology. And community.

    “Fear not the technology.”

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