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January Wrap-Up and Speakers/Topics

From: user 1.
Sent on: Monday, January 25, 2010 3:39 PM
Hey Austin Drupalites,

First off, I want to thank everyone who came out to the January meetup at Mangia. We juggled topics and venues pretty late in the game, but the response was extremely positive and there was a ton of extremely valuable feedback we were able to pull in. Also, there was pizza, beer, and a number of new attendees, so altogether it was a successful month for everyone involved. We had a great time discussing community collaboration and the future of the meetup group, and I think we're going to benefit greatly in the long run from this process.

I wanted to quickly summarize some of the conclusions we reached at the January meeting and what this means going forward. I also want to solicit feedback from everyone with regards to the items mentioned below - so please, let us know what you think!


  • Shorten the length of individual presentations. Instead of a single 60-90 minute presentation, we're shooting for two ~30 minute presentations and/or a collection of 5-10 minute lightning talks. Ideally we will have at least one medium length presentation per meetup, and can schedule the rest of the time depending on availability of speakers and topics.
  • Shorter presentation times will let us accomplish a few goals: it will be easier for community members to prepare presentations, it will broaden the range of topics we can discuss (since some topics don't necessarily merit an hour-long discussion), it puts less of the burden for "carrying the meeting" on a single speaker, and it broadens the appeal of each individual meetup session. Instead of having a single topic that you may or may not care about, there will be at least 2 items of interest (along with socializing/lightning talks) which may pertain to your interest in any given month.
  • Lightning Talks are generally 5-10 minutes long and cover a single topic. These can be as simple as "module highlights", bug discoveries/fixes, tips and tricks for newcomers, or anything else that a member comes across and thinks could be worth sharing in a short presentation. This allows even relative newcomers to contribute to the meeting in a highly positive way and can be easily added after the full-length presentations finish OR in lieu of a presentation if several people have an item to share.


  • We had an excellent experience at Mangia on Mesa and Spicewood Springs, and have booked this venue for future occasions. The owner was extremely friendly and helped us set up, and venue has plenty of seating and room for presenting.
  • There is PARKING


  • One area we had total consensus was the need to organize and host special events. The Drupal community in Austin is composed of many different subgroups: Technical people, designers/themers, freelancers, and business owners/end users, among others. Special events (Drupal Camp Austin being the most obvious and successful example) give a reason for these groups to interact in meaningful ways, in addition to providing fantastic content and opportunity to learn for users of all types.
  • Special events can be as simple as weekly "meet and Drupal" dojo settings to quarterly theming workshops to bringing in guest speakers and hosting a convention.
  • We need to start gathering ideas, suggestions, and volunteers for these types of events to get an idea of what we can do. We're already juggling plans for Theming workshops and are also looking into a twice-yearly conference-type event in the mold of Drupal camp. Ideas for speakers and topics are requested :)


  • Lynn Bender will be hosting a weekly "Drupal Hack Night" session on Wednesdays. This should be a great place to gather and Drupal, and will be held at the same location as the montly meetup. A great excuse to hang around other users, network, work work, and learn!
  • Full details at

Finally, I want to conclude this wrapup by saying WE NEED PRESENTERS! We need volunteers to present - and since you no longer need to have an hour-long presentation for us to fill out the time, it should be much easier and less stressful to put together an informative and interesting presentation for an upcoming meeting!

We are looking for speakers who can present on topics relating to Theming, Development, and Business-facing aspects of Drupal. Topics can be virtually any length, though specifically 20-30 minute presentations and lightning talks (5-10 minutes) are great timeframes to shoot for.

Let me know if you have a topic or suggestion, so we can start scheduling the next few months in advance and get our calendar filled out.

Thanks a lot everyone, and keep on keepin' on!

-Kerry LaRose

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