ChicagoRuby Keeps Learning
Why does ChicagoRuby appeal to the developer community? One reason: The group strives to learn from past mistakes.
WisdomGroup assumed a leadership role within ChicagoRuby about a month after we became involved. We are grateful for the trust that the community has placed in us. Today I was reminded of a time when we almost lost that trust.
A member of our community approached me with some legitimate concerns about ChicagoRuby’s speaker guidelines. Could the guidelines be too restrictive? Maybe. In order to answer that, we have to look at some history.
A Bad Meeting
The speaker guidelines were written after an especially terrible ChicagoRuby meeting in 2010. I chose the speaker that evening, so the meeting was my fault. Essentially, the presenter came in and pitched a Ruby code generator that runs on Windows. The audience was not pleased.
Recovery and Learning
After the meeting, one of our organizers, Dave Giunta, wrote the first version of the speaker guidelines. Dave is no longer a ChicagoRuby organizer, but his document lives on. We’ve only made minor changes to Dave’s original document in the two years since he wrote it.
The guidelines are critical because they help us to build trust within the community. This is especially true of guideline #3: Attend some of our meetings prior to presenting.
How do the guidelines build trust?
- Developers trust us to deliver top-notch events full of useful information.
- We want our presenters to do well. Presenters do better when they undersand the audience.
- The best way for presenters to understand our audience is to attend a few ChicagoRuby meetings and talk to our members.
- The second best way is to watch our videos.
Filters Are Good
Yes, the guidelines serve as a filter. Certain types of presenters will never approach ChicagoRuby. Others will depart when we email them a link to the guidelines. And the best presenters, the ones who make it through, will have the time of their lives.
The result: A growing, thriving Ruby community in Chicago. A place where smart people can challenge each other to grow so great things can happen.