Last year we organized 29 meetups ourselves and co-organized 40+ events with other sponsors and at commercial and community events. Here are some highlights and numbers.
- Locations. The user group visited Amsterdam (16), Bunnik, Den Haag (7), Haarlem, Hilversum, Rotterdam, Schiphol-Rijk and Zwolle. We aim to visit more locations outside of Amsterdam and The Hague in 2020. If you could help us organize meetups in: Utrecht, Den Bosch, Eindhoven, Rotterdam or anywhere else, please contact one of the organizers near you.
- Popular Topics. Quickly reading through all meetups tells us the following topics are very popular: Serverless, Kubernetes, Security, Machine Learning, re:Invent, DeepRacer, and a little bit of: VMware, RDS, ECS, Well-Architected Framework. For 2020 I hope speakers talk about a wide range of other topics, and also a more high level or business side of AWS.
- 2 Year Anniversary. November 8, we hosted a special meetup because the User Group started exactly 2 years ago. We received a very special video message by Werner Vogels. Unfortunately, but understandable, I didn’t get permission to share the video. Our 3 year anniversary will be on a Sunday, so maybe we should celebrate our 2,5 year anniversary on Friday, May 8.
- 2500+ Members. We now have over 2500 members and we are still growing. When we expand to other cities besides Amsterdam, it’s easy double the size next year. More members means: more sponsors, more speakers, more meetups and more choice.
- Links. Most meetups were organized in Amsterdam and Den Haag. We aim to list all meetups on AWSug.nl.
Besides all these positive numbers and highlights, there is also something else I need to address. We normally have 30% no-show, which is already a very high number. But there are outliers to 50% and even one meetup only a handful of people showed up, while 30+ reserved a seat. This makes me really sad. To remember you why this is so bad:
- Most meetups have wait lists, and because of these no-shows or late sign offs, somebody who really wanted to attend had to miss the event.
- Sponsors reserve a lot of time to prepare the event and order sufficient food for the expected number of attendees. Food waste is bad for the sponsor, and bad for humanity. To have a successful meetup group in the future, sponsors are critical.
- Organizing these events is normally really fun, but I can recognize by name and face people who sign-up for meetups, and almost never show up. If I catch you, you will be blacklisted immediately. Even people who think they are friends. You remain a friend, but you didn’t stick to the rules and not act as a friend to the user group.
So how to behave? Well, just like how you meet with friends. They expect you, and it’s normal to let them know on time you’re not going to make it.
In 2020, I think we will organize more meetups. A lot of new sponsors approached me already that they want to contribute. And when we get better grip on the no-shows and abusers, 2020 will be an amazing year for the AWS user group.
Please contact me if you want to speak or sponsor.
Photo made by me at the Talpa Networks meetup with on stage Mark van Holsteijn.