It is with regret and disappointment that I write this email. For many months I have been frustrated by the chasm that exists between the number of people that RSVP for our meetup, and the number of warm bodies that show up at the event. I have tried several tactics to shrink this divide: change venues to a more central location, take attendance, public shame---but, nothing seems to have worked.
Last night we had 100 people RSVP 'Yes' for the event in less than 24 hrs of posting it, and ended up with another 40-or-so on the wait list. In the meantime, several people emailed me asking if they could be "last minute adds." I obliged when I could, yet none of those people showed up. Also, 65 of all the RSVPs for last night indicated that they would coming early for pizza. By 7:30 we had a crowd of roughly 50 (if I am being generous), and about 15 came early for pizza. You don't have to go to the New York Open Statistical Programming Meetup to recognize the failure in those numbers. While we have very generous support from Revolution Analytics, their contributions only offsets the cost of pizza, videography equipment and software, and web hosting I purchase to support our meetup.
Given the current situation, I have decided to make the registration fee mandatory for all RSVPs. I always viewed this as a last-ditch option, and here we are. This is the only credible commitment device Meetup provides, and I am now forced to use it. The most immediate consequence of this is that if you have already RSVP'ed for future meetups you will have to re-register and pay the fee.
Finally, for those of you that indicated your interest in Mike's talk last night---which was brilliant--but were not in attendance; the video has been posted online: http://vimeo.com/35005701
I look forward to seeing you at a future meetup.
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