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The case for non-technical meetups

A couple of weeks ago, we held an event at the office that we organized together with an agency from London. They work 100% remotely and decided to take the entire team on a trip to Antwerp to work from there and combine it with a little getaway.

The event itself was a success but that’s not really what I wanted to write about today..

Afterward, a couple of co-workers and myself got to talking with different people on their team. During the conversations, we slowly came to the realization that both our companies do very similar things, and even more interestingly: we run into the same problems and struggle with very similar issues.

Whether it’s more technical stuff like scaffolding packages from which we start projects, CSS frameworks we prefer, to how we handle support and planning, …We’ve all tried a bunch of frameworks/methods/tools, and have found things that don’t work for us and things to do. And if we shared our experiences, we both would learn a ton.

Reflecting on the conversions I had, it felt very much like what you would talk about at a meetup, for like a CMS, a programming language, or a UX thing.

Only here we mainly talked about how we run projects, managed teams, and run the actual business, and that’s not something you regularly discuss at a meetup. Maybe it’s because they are based in London and are in no way a competitor to us and the client base we target (which is probably different when you attend a local meetup), but it felt very natural to share with their team.

It would be interesting to see if we can do things with other, more local, agencies as well.

At the end of the evening, we said our goodbyes and promised to stay in touch (easier said than done).

The following Monday we set up a shared Slack channel between both our companies, we've chatted back and forth a bunch and we're also planning a sort of exchange of the CMS'es we work with (they're on WordPress, we're on Craft CMS).

So we'll try to keep this going and maybe we can visit them in London in 2023 😀