the best laid plans of rodentery and sapients go flying out of the window like a simian with its genitalia immolated
There were always going to be issues...
So, sometimes the best laid plans of rodentery and sapients go flying out of the window like a simian with its genitalia immolated.
What did we do that was wrong, well we arranged to have a social meeting in which the following events played a part in affecting turn out:
On the same night as our social Manchester United wold be playing Barcelona in (I think) the Champions League final, so the whole of Manchester was filled with rowdy, drunken surface pond matter by the early afternoon, and the general mood was already exuberant with a touch of aggression. This would only become worse as the evening went on, and if Manchester United were to lose (which they did) that mood would darken. It is natural to presume that a lot of people would be put off by this, also we have to consider that some people would be out watching the match as they may be football supporters. In fact had we thought about it (or if anyone who followed the football at all had mentioned it) we would have changed the night. We did in fact end up leaving the venue about twenty minutes into the match as the mood was getting very dark from the people gathered in the pub to watch the events. We moved to a different pub which locked its doors once United had lost to ensure that they were not involved with the aggrieved mourning.
Hearing the message
There is still the feeling that we need to promote the message about the group being in existence and that we don't all sit around cursing Ruby/Python/PHP programmers and spitting. I mean some might do that, but we don't -all- do it :).
People missing the train
There was the fact that some people, and I wouldn't mention the name of my co-leader Ian in this, managed to miss the train to Manchester and the next one from their remote location would be long in coming.
level of work - with a bank holiday
Then there was the fact that there was a bank holiday weekend the weekend before. Which meant of course that everyone came back to work after a long weekend to, no doubt, a backlog of things to do and one less day in which to do it that week. That kind of pressure often puts you off socialising.
So the turnout may not have been as high as we would have hoped for, but that isn't always a bad thing. To begin with there was a new face who hadn't been to a meeting before so the less people wasn't as much of a shock and allowed them to get a good deal of attention. Also the smaller group allowed for a conversation where everyone could say more and get to know each other a little better. I think this made us all feel a little more committed to the cause of getting the word out about our fledgling group.
Part of that was the feeling we all went away with that we need to be a little more pro-active, using the tools such as Facebook and Twitter to pass information on about nwe.pm and the Perl world in general, and to actively talk more about Perl/nwe.pm on our blogs.
After leaving the meeting I started to Twitter under the name of shadowcat_mdk and Graeme started the #northwestengland.pm irc channel on irc.perl.net.
Another bonus of a small meeting group for me is that I got to wax lyrical about the merits of Enlightened Perl and the EPO and I think I may have persuaded more people to join the cause.
So...my actual feeling is that I am glad it was a small meeting, to be honest. I certainly want big meetings, but from this little meeting there was an instant reaction and that's a positive thing. Oh well, the next meeting is a Technical Meeting and I am hoping we see some more new faces along with a higher number of the regulars :).
If anyone has feedback (and until we have a commenting system) please don't hesitate to email me at: m.keating [at] shadowcat.co.uk, if your comments are useful, fun, or just plain interest to me, or if I think will be useful to others, then I will add them to the end of this post, let me know how you would like to be named (anon, nick etc.).
Mark Keating is: Managing Director of Shadowcat Systems Limited
Director and Secretary of Enlightened Perl Organisation
Co-Founder/Co-Leader of North-West England Perl Mongers
Work Blog: Mark Keating on Shadowcat
Public Blog: Mark Keating on Vox
LinkedIn Profile: Mark Keating on LinkedIn
My Homepage: Mark Keating's Personal site