Talk about building a community from the ground up! DevTO is certainly a great example for how to do it right.
Me and Ginny at the first anniversary
I attended my first DevTO just over a year ago at Richmond Day, which was their second event. I am on record as being the first female techie to attend apparently. There were about six of us, sitting around a computer where we were being shown by Chris Brooker how Epilogger was created. I’d seen it in action a few days earlier and was familiar with it, but it was great to hear the in depth development of the project. I had also just started learning WordPress, so I brought my first site to them in hopes they could help me understand one or two things about a problem I was having. They gave me some great direction and I was happy to report at their next meeting that thanks to the advice I received, I was able to resolve the issue. This next meeting had over 20 attendees, including quite a few women. This event was going places!
Over the coming months, they had more great presenters, including Wes Bos, Xtreme Labs and most recently, Paul Laberge of Microsoft and Sachin Monga Facebook. The venue changed from Richmond Day to the ING Café, with their One Year Anniversary held at CSI: Annex. The latest one was held at Polar Mobile. The beauty about the change in venue is that they keep getting bigger. They are making sure that they have room for everyone and are changing with the demographic.
Wes Bos showing off HTML5
Don’t think that this is just the place for developers! Oh no, this meetup is designed to be for everyone from marketing and HR to the developers themselves. They pride themselves on bringing everyone together that has something to do with developing and puts them in the same room with beer and pizza.
They have grown to have some great sponsors including Headstart Solutions with Sue Varty and Marc Roginsky, ThinkWrap and ThirdOcean with Carolyn Van and Karim Kanji. They have numerous giveaways from FITC and many other sponsors using an app developed by one of the founders, Nael called Twitter, Twitter, Chicken Dinner which picks winners based on your criteria for giveaways. Great little app that he designed after one of the other founders, Jo, brought the opportunity out. Jo hosts a lot of events and does a number of giveaways, so this was a great solution.
DevTO has only been around for just over a year, but their events are now selling out (they are up to 100 attendees) within minutes of them posting the event on the first Monday of the month. The events are held on the last Monday of every month and can be accessed here on Meetup.com. You can follow DevTO on Twitter and of course, each one of the founders is a joy to follow, so add them too (See below). Their next meetup is on Monday and I hope to see you there!
The DevTO Team: Nael, Jo, Kevin and Chris
Joallare (aka Jo): @clickflickca
Chris Jones: @jonezy
Kevin Kelly: @kevincodes
Nael El Shawwa: @naelshawwa