Will and I drove down to Atlanta this past weekend for the Code Newbie Atlanta Mixer. That was a great trip. We left at around 5:30 am to get down there by noon local time. On the way I drove while he had his laptop out taking notes. We had our best strategy meeting for Complete Developer Podcast ever. This was in part because we didn’t have anything to distract us and he had created a good outline of topics to discuss.
One of the problems we’ve had in the past with these types of meeting is that neither of us thinks very linearly. Our minds tend more to function like a mind map, check out the image for an example. Because he built the outline to allow for this we were able to cover all the topics and plan out the next two quarters for the podcast in just the drive down.
We arrived in Atlanta about an hour early, some not following directions on my part put us at our destination 45 minutes early. Well, more like poor reading of the ETA on the GPS. I forgot that it gives local time and Atlanta is Eastern whereas Nashville is Central so they are an hour ahead. Since we were meeting at a Mexican restaurant Will and I headed in early and sat at the bar while we waited on the rest of the group to show up.
I was most excited about meeting @SaronYitbarek founder of Code Newbies. I began listening to coding podcasts around the time she started the Code Newbie Podcast. If you haven’t listened yet, you should check it out. That podcast has been one of my biggest inspirations in my learning process and in creating Complete Developer Podcast with Will.
Since this was a mixer with an introductory ambiance Kim gave everyone a sheet of legal sized paper with some fun instructions. On the left half of the page we were to draw out our coding journey. She even included markers, crayons, and colored pencils. You know I chose the crayons, because when given the option you always choose crayons. The right half was further divided to top and bottom. On the top we wrote what we are currently doing or learning and on the bottom how the community could help us in our journey.
Not only was this fun but it had everyone sitting around chatting and joking about it and our invariable lack of artistic abilities. After the wait staff took our orders we went around the group telling our own stories from the images we drew and what we are working on as well as how the group could help us out. It was an interesting mix of professions and experience levels from the very new all the way to Will and another guy that had been coding for years. This was such a fun way to get to know each other that didn’t involve awkward ice-breaker games.
By the time everyone had finished food was out and everyone took to eating and socializing with the people at their tables. After most of us had finished eating there were a few announcements and then most of us stood around talking.
This was such a great example of how to setup and run a mixer and I’m going to be stealing some of Kim’s ideas. If you are reading this and live in the Atlanta area check out the Code Newbie Atlanta group. They have some great people and I know I have several new friends from the experience.