What’s Meetdraw? I hear you cry, well cry no longer. Meetdraw is a series of informal get-togethers organised for and shaped by digital people. Basically its a meetup for anyone work in or interested by digital; whether designer, developer, blogger, UX practitioner, search specialist, twittaholic or student.
Meetdraw was born out of the desire to bring all the people passionate about digital on the South Coast together. A bunch of us got talking about the lack of a solid community in the area and decided that the best course of action was to simply set a date and then organise an event that would hopefully start the ball rolling.
The inaugural event
The date we ended up picking was Thursday 12 March 2009, last Thursday in fact. The venue ibar in Bournemouth. We wanted to make sure we had a venue that suited the event:
- big enough that we could fit everyone in comfortably
- small enough so that we didn’t rattle around or have to share the space
- close to transport links so that people from outside of Bournemouth might be tempted to come
- free of charge to keep the cost down
- and somewhere not too polished so as to nicely match the ethos of the first event (and the ibar certainly isn’t polished!)
A nice little bonus to using the ibar was that there are multiple screens all around the room so we were able to setup visuals, have a #meetdraw twitter feed on rotation and allow people internet access (which invariably ended up having porn splashed across it).
On the night
After weeks of mild panic, worrying that we wouldn’t be able to get everything sorted in time, the night was upon us. Frustratingly I had to head up to London during the day, unable to do more than simply sit back and watch as hundreds of emails flew between Meetdrawers hectically setting up for the night ahead.
By the time I arrived at 5pm the venue was setup and looked fantastic, then as 6 of us stood around silently hoping that if we all concentrated really hard we might just be able to control the barmaid through the power of our minds into opening the bar it started to dawn on us… ‘what if no one shows?’
Thankfully by 6pm sharp our minds were put to rest as if by magic people started to poor in to the ibar. Half an hour later we had well over 50 people chatting eagerly and networking their little hearts out.
By 8ish we peaked at around 100 people successfully reaching the maximum capacity for the venue! Although we tried to play it cool I don’t think a single one of the Meetdraw10 could hide their excitement at the number of people that turned up to the first event.
Thanks have to go to everyone who showed up including all the students from Bournemouth University and AIB, Strange, Redweb, Refreshed, Strawberry Soup, Clickfire, Higher Sites, Experience Solutions (sorry for not getting a chance to speak to you!), BoysToys magazine, Adido, Mallmus Media (thanks for the photos) and everyone else… if I could list you all I would. But more importantly thanks to everyone who had a part in organising the first event you’re all legends. If you want to know more about the people behind the event head over to meetdraw.com.
It seemed that the main question being asked of us on Thursday night was “so what next?”. I don’t think you could possibly ask more from a first event that the majority of people there want to know when the next one will take place, what the format will be and most of all how they can get involved.
Throughout the night we pimped out feedback cards so everyone could help us shape the next event. Money was put behind the bar as an incentive if one was needed but thankfully everyone chipped in and gave us their tupence worth.
Next week we’re getting together to work out what happens next and to trawl our way through over 100 f**kin’ feedback cards! Moving forward we really want more people to get involved in running Meetdraw.
If you’re interested in helping out in anyway please leave a comment below, send a tweet to Meetdraw or speak directly to one of the ’10’!
if you don’t want to help out but are interested in attending the next event follow Meetdraw on Twitter for all the latest guff.