Last weekend I went up to Dublin to speak at OSSBarcamp. I took the train from Limerick on Friday so I’d already be in Dublin the following morning, without having to get up at the crack of dawn.
Aidan Kehoe and I had a very small but interesting Dublin.pm meeting that night. Their first since 2004! Our wide-ranging discussions that night included me trying to understand what led Dublin.pm to flounder instead of flourish. I think a key factor was the (implicit?) expectation that members should make technical presentations.
Living in the west of Ireland there aren’t enough local Perl users (that I’ve found so far) to have a viable Perl Mongers group. So I setup the Limerick Open Source meetup instead.
Here’s what worked for us: We sit around in a quiet comfy hotel bar and chat. Naturally the chat tends towards the technical, and laptops are produced and turned around to illustrate a point or show results of a search, a chunk of video etc. There’s no set agenda, no declared topics, and no presentations. And yet, I think it’s fair to say, that everyone who’s come along has learnt interesting (albeit random) stuff.
I’d like to hear from perl mongers, in groups of all sizes, what kinds of balance between the social and technical aspects of Perl Mongers meetings works (or doesn’t work) for you.
At OSSBarcamp I gave a ~15 minute ‘lightning talk’ on Devel::NYTProf in the morning, and a ~50 minute talk on Perl Myths in the afternoon.
There is so much happy vibrant productive life in the Perl community that updating the presentation has been lovely experience. I keep having to revise the numbers on the slides upwards. There are lots of great graphs and they’re all going upwards too! (Many thanks to Barbie for the great new graphs of CPAN stats.)
I’ve put a PDF of the slides, with notes, on slideshare. Best viewed full-screen or downloaded.
I made a screencast but I think I’ll hang on to that until after I give the same talk, updated again, at the Italian Perl Workshop (IPW09) in Pisa in October — I’m really looking forward to that! I’ll make another screencast there and decide then which to upload.
After OSSBarcamp last week, and before IPW09 in late October, I’ll be flying to Moscow, visa permitting, to give a talk at the HighLoad++ (translated) conference. I’ve never been to Russia before so that’s going to be an amazing experience!