Get Together

Looking back on the years 2017-2019, a period etched in my memory, I devoted every spare moment to bringing people together. 

As a fervent advocate for organizations like Code First: Girls (CFG), Major League Hacking Hackathons, and MedTech Sheffield, I wore their swag proudly, ready to passionately pitch the reasons for getting involved.

I wasn’t joking, I took opportunities to tell everyone about the tech community

Yet, what made this era truly special wasn’t just the content generated (or shared) nor was it exclusive swag—it was the convergence of people, strangers uniting around common goals. I vividly recall stepping back in those spaces, witnessing connections blossom before my eyes that would otherwise not have happened.

By the time I finished my university days, I’d helped bring 200+ budding women in tech together with CFG across Sheffield and Leeds, and supported and hosted several hackathons. 

In following these connections through social media, I’ve seen individuals thrive in their tech careers, evolving into positive leaders.

Code First Girls 2018

The oft-repeated advice of “build your network, it’s always who you know” became profoundly clear during my community efforts at Gitpod in the past two years.

I often credit my career trajectory to community and which is why six years later I’m doing similar work with just as much passion and belief in them as before.

Bringing 350+ people together in person

Almost a year ago, we had an internal discussion on building out community meet-ups as an experiment. I remember feeling re-energised of the thought of what it could be. I’m proud to say that now we are fast approaching the end of 2023, that early vision was made into a reality. 

By hosting 14 meet-ups globally, with partnerships and community-driven events, we brought together over 350 individuals passionate about improving developer experience (DevX) with cloud development environments (CDEs).

The meet-ups were a mix of completely community-organised, a collaboration with partners like AWS, Elastic, Liquid Reply, Zenika and Civo and organised by us.

Even today, I’m still surprised more than one person showed up to them.

I recall in April during our Munich meet-up with Liquid Reply, a Gitpod user I had spoken to often on Discord to help with their setup had flown in from Italy.

Another, Derroylo, one of our community heroes had travelled several hours by the unreliable train services and spent a few days in Berlin just to connect with us in person. 

In our first ever community meet-up led by JP in Paris, I sat and listened to our community speak passionately about how our product reduced so many development pains for them… all in french. 🇫🇷

Our most successful community-led meet-up was by community heroes who brought together 50+ developers in the costal town of Brest.

Each of these stories is a testament to the community’s dedication and reinforces that at the heart of every product and experiences around it (e.g. events, conferences, community initiatives) are people.

Build and create for them

When others cite us as an inspiration for the budding in-person network around Gitpod and CDEs, my heart is feel the very strong community-building magic from the early days. 

I’m STILL using every opportunity to talk about community. Shoutout to Taz for this shot!

While I could share a playbook on community building, the true magic lies in our passionate developer community coupled with a revolutionary product.

For those inspired to host their own meet-ups, I recommend reading our first meet-up blog post from January, exploring our hosting guidelines, and checking out Guild as an alternative events platform to Meet-up and Eventbrite (I’m a huge fan!) 

If you’d like to experience the Gitpod community magic in-person yourself, come join us at a meet-up near you. ✨

As we lay the foundation for future meet-ups, my hope is to witness these local communities and the wider Gitpod network flourish, not only spreading awareness of CDEs but most importantly, serving as spaces for human connection to just get together1.

  1. In an increasingly colder tech world supercharged by AI, it’s more important than ever to remember we are human and connection is everything.  ↩︎

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