Founding a Perlmongers group

Ovid publiustemp-londonpm at
Wed Feb 17 13:19:23 GMT 2010

--- On Mon, 15/2/10, James Laver <james.laver at> wrote:

> From: James Laver <james.laver at>

> As I shall shortly be leaving london
> for somewhere with no PM group, I
> thought it might be nice to create one.
> How do I go about it?

I rebuilt from scratch. We had a "group", but they hadn't met in over a year and when I took over, I made a few mistakes.  However, it's now one of the strongest, most active groups in the world. Here's what I and my successors did:

1.  Never miss holding a meeting.  Ever.  If you don't have a technical, have a social. We had technicals followed by socials.

2.  Try to arrange to have chromatic, Allison Randal, Schwern, Ingy, Randal Schwartz, Tom Phoenix, Ward Cunningham, and Jeff Zucker move to your city.  It makes for fantastic presentations.

3.  If the above people live in your city, encourage them to leave.  Other people wind up being too intimidated to give presentations.  That's a hell of an audience if you're showing off your thalidomide-baby Perl.  Fortunately, they were also a very respectful audience.

4.  If the above people live in your city, encourage one of them to not show up falling down drunk at a technical meeting.  The comedic value is astonishingly short-lived. [1]

5.  Coordinate with other user groups in the area for cross-disciple presentations.  Don't get into language wars with them.  Respect means a lot.

42.  Always know where your towel is.  Towel is a euphemism for "projector".  Crowding around someone's laptop makes for a lousy presentation.  Make sure this towel works with your laptop.

6.  Always have a back up presenter.  Randal was great for this and he saved my @$$ more than once.

7.  Always have a back up *presentation*.  Staying up late the night before to write one because your presenter dropped out is no fun.

8.  If there are local companies which use Perl, see if they'll donate meeting space.  If they do, they'll often have towels.

9.  Try to get the presentation sent to you beforehand and make sure you can display it on your laptop in case your towel doesn't plug into their laptop.

10.  Make sure that some presentations appeal to newer programmers.  This was one of our biggest weaknesses at (I don't know about now).

11.  Try to make sure your group leader is named Joshua.  It helps, really.

12.  Open up every meeting with an amusing video.  People really like this.


[1].  Don't email me offlist and ask who this is.  I'm not telling.  Period.

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