I recently went to a Holiday Meetup Mashup sponsored by ThoughtWorks in Dallas that was centered around the idea of bringing social good and technology together to create helpful solutions to issues.
The event began with you signing in and grabbing your pre printed name tag if you RSVP’d, they also suggested everyone put a star sticker on their name tag with a color to indicate if you are a non profit in need of help (red), a technologist who can offer help (green) or whether you were there to enjoy the event (gold). I thought the process made it easier for everyone to be identified.
There was an hour of social/networking time before the eight lightning talks began. The talks varied from specific non profits speaking on how they needed help to developers who have helped non profits and continue to do so.
I especially enjoyed the talks given about The Texas Parks and Wildlife and <Bold Idea>. The parks and wildlife talk wanted to bring together technology and the outdoors since most kids are on their electronic devices. The speaker wanted to marry to two ideas together. <Bold Idea> needed volunteers and developers to help mentor kids who enjoy tech. The idea is to hone in on their skills while they are young so they have a healthy exposure to it at an early stage in their life.
After the lightning talks, it was networking time. I also had a chance to speak to the organizer of the event and give feedback and connect with some people in the non profit industry who needed tech help. They also had a wall where you can add your contact info to a post-it note and tag it on the wall and those who needed help can put there info as well so we could connect. I thought it was brilliant, especially if you were in a hurry.
The event ended when you put your name tag into one of three buckets to indicate how you enjoyed the event: Enjoyed it, somewhat liked it or hated it. I sneaked a peek and found that most enjoyed the event.
I plan to get involved with mentoring in the <Bold Idea> project and see if I can come up with some ideas for the Texas Parks and Wildlife. Oh, and organizer mentioned they wanted to schedule a hackathon in the near future, can’t wait for that!
All and all, the event was awesome and I look forward to many more!