We won’t lie to you: starting something is always hard. This might not only be hard, but also very frustrating at times. Please don’t give up! It is very important to us, so please contact us when you get stuck and we’ll see how we can help you.
This is a handbook – or a blueprint, so to say – on how to make it easier to get an OpenTechSchool started in your city. Although this documents how we did it, it might be subject to change and you may find that your city has different requirements. If you have any notes, ideas or remarks, please let us know (even better: create a pull request).
Alright. You’re still reading this, so that means you are really interested in getting something started. Way to go! The first thing to do is let us know about it. There might already be people getting started in/near your city whose efforts we know about, so we may have contacts who can help you. This is crucial: get in touch with us!
Get a team together. Good team members?
- Someone who’s excited about organizing tech events
- Someone who’s already organizing (or organized) some tech events (e.g. meetups, usergroups)
- Someone who knows how to code and is enthusiast about coaching at a beginner level
We generally recommend using this discourse to get organised. Start by publicly announcing in the new chapters category where you’d want to start a chapter. Don’t forget to include some info about you, what you’ve already done and what you are up for. We’ll then use our social media channels and mailing lists to spread the request to the community, give you exposure and assist you in finding helping hands.
But we also need to you to spread the word and convince people to join - after all, it is your cause!
You have a team? Great. Now: meet. In person.
Meeting – in person
Team building is important. And meeting is essential!
- We suggest you to meet with your team regularly. How about meeting every four weeks over breakfast, in a place that leaves you room to gather together, talk and plan upcoming events?
- The very first meeting (and any time a new face joins): invite the newcomer to introduce her/himself and talk about her/his interest in joining the team.
Know your city
Get the widest possible overview of the tech scene in town. Places, people, institutions you might want to reach out. Make a list of all:
- co-working spaces, hacker spaces, start-ups, tech universities and research centres;
- tech-related usergroups, movements, meetups.
Map them out. On a real map. This will help you to define the character of the tech buzz of the city and identify where its (geographical) core is. Precious information when it will come to networking and finding the right partners and places to organize you events.
Network is key
You have a list of people and places, you’d like to get in contact but you don’t know any of them. That’s not a problem.
- Start contacting people who are already interested in organizing tech events or maybe are already organizing (or organized) some (e.g. meetups, usergroups). Talk with them about your ideas – they might want to join and organize or coach!
- If you’re not a programmer and you’re looking for coaches – ask a programmer team member to join you. This will make the conversation way more clear for both sides.
- Join meetups as a speaker yourself and give a presentation about what OTS is (just contact us and we’ll provide you presentations and slides we use for this purpose).
Social network is social key
Social networks are a great tool to promote your events and get in touch with more tech enthusiasts every day.
- OTS has its own (global) Facebook and Twitter profiles and in addition to this, we’ll provide a localized OTS Twitter account for your city.
- Our blog is your blog. Write posts about your events and announcement and we’ll be happy to publish them!
- Document everything: pictures can be tweeted, posted on Facebook (new event, new album!) and uploaded to your Meetup page.
- Share share share.
You’re almost ready!
Just a couple of wise words before you get started.
- For whatever meetup/workshop you do, it is ten times easier if you’re joined by someone from the organisational team who has already participated coaching/hosting that event before and knows what it is like, what is supposed to be and how to get there.
- Different city might need different approaches: don’t push something because it worked somewhere else when it doesn’t work there. Every city and every organisational team is different - and that is a good thing. Focus on the events you really want to do and are passionate about. That makes everything much easier and people are more likely to join you in your cause.
- Have fun!