So you want to host an event at Solid State Depot? Great! This page will help you get started and tell you everything you need to know to host an event at SSD.
First things first, what kind of event do you want to host? Events are grouped into three different categories:
- Informal Get-Togethers
are formal events where you, the instructor, teach the attendees about a specific topic. This most often consists of lecturing (often with a slide show) about said topic while others pick your brain. More often than not, you will want attendees to bring a laptop to follow along/take notes, especially if you're covering something that is software related, requires downloads, needs an internet connection, etc. If the attendees need to bring or buy other materials, then you are now hosting a workshop....Workshops
are similar to classes except what you're teaching requires additional materials to be present. This can be materials that you bring or materials that the attendees need to purchase prior to the meetup. Examples include Arduino, soldering, lock-picking, arts and crafts, etc. This also encompasses workshops where tools at the space will be needed to teach. This can be 3-D printing, sewing machines, wood-working, etc. If you need to use tools at the space, please give the group fair waring so there are no conflicts come event day.
Workshops can be a little more difficult to setup than a class, but we're here to help. Acquiring the correct amount of materials to meet the demand of your workshop can seem daunting, but it is much easier with a few tools. One such tool is Meetup.com. With Meetup, we are able to track the amount of people planning on attending with the RSVP feature. We are also able to collect money from attendees prior to the event taking place, eliminating (for the most part) the problem of you fronting the money to buy all the materials. It is up to you, the event host, to determine how much to charge and how money is collected for your event: either beforehand, at the event or both. More on this below.
Lastly, informal get-togethers
are events where a specific topic/theme is present throughout your event but there is no one person leading the charge. This could be a music night, python enthusiasts, or an Arduino hack session. These events still need hosts to guarantee that someone will be present to open and close the space and maintain the space before and during, but the stress of having supporting materials and getting up in front of a group to teach is eliminated. If you're interested in a specific topic, but don't feel confident in running a full-on workshop/class, this is the event for you.
Once you have decided what kind of event you want to put on, the rest is pretty simple. Just remember the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How Much mantra.
- Who: Decide if this is for paying SSD Members only or if this event is open to the public as well. Don't feel bad if you make it members only. That's more incentive to get people to join ;)
- What: Decide what you will be teaching and what (if any) materials will be necessary for others to follow along.
- When: Decide on a time and date. This can often be the most difficult. No one time or day is perfect for everyone. Pick a time/day that works well for you and others will find a way to attend. Setting a date is often the best first course of action for actually making your event a reality. It's often best to announce your event at least two weeks before it is to occur to give people plenty of time to work it into their schedule.
- Where: Decide on a location (more often than not, this will be the hackerspace, but events can take place anywhere: a coffee shop, CU campus, even your basement/garage.)
- Why: Why do you want to teach this particular topic? Is there a demand for it? Is this something you've taught before? Is it something you want to teach and need a guinea pig crowd to test your materials? Is this strictly to bring in extra income for SSD (or yourself)? Do you just love sharing your knowledge?
- How Much: Events can be Free! However, money unfortunately rules the world. Thus, people are not always willing to do things for free. This is totally understandable. Time = money, and we want you to spend your time with us, teaching us, helping us. If you want to be compensated for your time that's fine by us. However, it is up to you to decide how much your time is worth. Pricing is usually broken up like this:
Schedule Your Event
- Events for SSD members should always be free. Members help keep the space running with monthly dues, and, in return, the least we can give them is some free education. In the case of workshops, where materials need to be purchased, it is acceptable to charge members the same rate for the materials that you purchased them for. That way you can break even, and members can still have a relatively cheap experience.
- Non-SSD members can be charged whatever you think is an acceptable price. Just remember that hackers aren't the richest people around, and the price you set could dramatically affect the turn out of your event.
- The general rule of thumb is that money earned at events goes back to help support the space. However, if you feel the need to be compensated for your time, feel free to skim a little off the top.
- Money can be collected in many ways. As I mentioned, Meetup offers the ability to charge people through PayPal when they RSVP for an event. You have the option to make paying mandatory to RSVP, make paying not mandatory to RSVP but still an option, or you can opt to collect all payments the day of the event. A combination of the above can be used as well.
- Should you decide to collect payments the day of an event, we can accept payments in cash, check or credit card (we have a square capable of accepting credit card payments). The credentials for the square will need to be acquired by you before the event.
Meetup allows you to schedule a meetup without asking for permission or jumping through any hoops. Simply go to the SSD Meetup homepage
, click on the SCHEDULE A NEW MEETUP button, and post your details there. Once posted, your event will get announced to the entire group, and you will be well on your way to hosting an event.
Also, it's always a good idea to have at least one person to help you out. Feel free to ping the SSD group and ask for help from available members. Helpers can assist you in classes/workshops (there's usually more than one person who's having difficulties at any given time), and they can prep the space before your event to make sure it's clean and that all the materials you need are present i.e. projector, snacks, drinks, seating, etc. As event coordinator, I (Joel
) am often willing to help you host your event. Feel free to ping me as well.
One last word of advice, announce your meetup in multiple locations. Not all of our members are on Meetup. Many lurk in the Google Group
. Others are present only on our Facebook
. And some prefer the traditional website
approach. Don't hesitate to plug your event on these and other social media outlets. If you don't know how, again don't hesitate to ask.
With that, you should be ready to start sharing your knowledge with the world. Just remember, Don't panic and carry a towel!
If you have any more questions, comments or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me