Q&A With Joe Devon, Organizer of various Local Tech MeetUps

The tech meetup scene in LA has blown up, resulting in a thriving community of passionate users. Thanks to the tireless efforts of committed organizers, more specialized user groups continue to increase thought leadership of even the most obscure technologies. We’re bringing the exclusive insights from one such meetup giant, Joe Devon –  organizer/co-organizer of LAWebSpeed, LAMySQL, LASemWeb, LAMongoDB, LAPHP, SaMoTech.

Fun Fact: Domain names are being registered at a rate of more than one million/month.

Since you guys run a few different meetups, which group is the most popular and why?

LAPHP is the most popular. One third of the internet is powered by PHP. LAMongoDB is the up and comer. It’s pretty new and people need to learn it. It’s easier to get MySQL DBAs to a Mongo meetup because they feel they know all there is to know about MySQL, but not about Mongo.

What do you think members are most interested in? What type of topics drive higher attendance?

Big names tend to attract people, but I can never totally predict. However, we’ve never done this with the goal of getting higher attendance. It’s more about providing smart people a venue to share their knowledge, and of course the socializing and networking that happens.

How do you pick your topics and find speakers?

Sometimes a speaker approaches us. But usually the way I find them is by reading a blog post that interests me. Or I’ll stumble upon a really cool company, for example Dwolla. I’ll go right to the contact page and invite them to speak.

What does the average attendee get out of a meetup?

I don’t like to speak for others, but from the feedback I’ve heard it sharpens their knowledge, helps them get a job, or rather create a pipeline for the next job. Improves their industry outlook.

How can the local tech community help you further grow your meet up groups?

Offer to speak at meetups. Offer to sponsor them. It’s easy to get a sponsor for food, but if we had a travel budget, we’d even kick it up a notch in terms of quality of speakers.

Do you have any advice for aspiring technologists who are new to the tech industry in LA?

Come to the local meetups!

If someone is interested in creating a meet up, any suggestions?

If the topic is covered, offer to help out as a co or assistant organizer. Otherwise, just start a group. Nothing is stopping you!

How has the LA Tech community changed in the last three years, what are your hopes and expectations for the next three?

It’s grown far beyond our expectations. There’s also a bit of a startup bubble in my opinion. My hope is that when the bubble bursts, people realize that Los Angeles is a great city for tech. Silicon Valley gets the glory, but from what I hear there’s a lot of groupthink there. Whereas in Los Angeles you better have a good business plan or you won’t last long.

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