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How to start organizing an event for developers?

Recorded – watch the full episode on YouTube.

If someone lives in a part of the world without an iOS conference and is thinking of filling that gap, what would your advice be to them?

Carola Nitz: Do it! You can start small: get some kind of area where you can hold your talk, go to an office if you can or just some bigger space where you can get everybody in. Find somebody who's able to give a talk or two and just bring everybody in one room. Near me we’ve done some dinners with iOS developers where you can just start talking with like-minded people. It can be something small like that and then if you find somebody else do something bigger you go from there.

"Do it! You can start small. Get some kind of area where you can hold your talk, go to an office if you can or just some bigger space where you can get everybody in."

Paul Hudson: I’ve seen you tweet about the dinners locally to where you are and I am so envious. I live in the countryside in England – it's a very nice part of the countryside but there's nothing around me, so that's why I run my own conference here in Bath. There is no Bath-based iOS conference, there's no Bristol-based iOS conference; there's nothing near me conference-wise, so that's why I have my own. And you can almost will things into happening – “if we build it they will come” becomes almost true, particularly if your costs are low enough, if you can find a company with a meeting room you can use.

Even Apple actually let you use their business rooms in the Apple stores quite often, so you can make things happen inexpensively and take it from there. One thing I don't think folks realize is that you think, “I’m starting really small and I've got to fly in a speaker." No, you don’t! Just pick a video from YouTube, watch that together, then talk about it. What did we learn? Do we like this idea? Let's try and apply that idea in our application we just made. Just trying things out together immediately gets you moving, and if people like it they'll come back, and if they don't they won't – but you won't know until you've actually tried it. You've got to actually make that first step forward and get somewhere.

Carola Nitz: Absolutely. And people are always grateful if somebody organizes something.

"You’re always the person who needs to go everywhere and help out with like, “no, that TV doesn't show our sponsors any more.” But it's so rewarding."

Paul Hudson: Yes, because it’s hard being an organizer because you don't get the same conference experience everybody else, right?

Carola Nitz: Yes, exactly. You always the person who needs to go everywhere and help out with like, “no, that TV doesn't show our sponsors any more,” But it's so rewarding.

Paul Hudson: So last year someone asked me, "Did you see my talk at Hacking with Swift Live?" And I said, “no, I didn't see it, I'm sorry." I know I'm the organizer, but I was over there trying to organize the coffee for everyone else to have at the break. I think I saw one talk out of the eight or so we had on the day because you just start running around so much. And I can see why folks are very happy if you step forward and say you want to organize because it's difficult. Actually I think a scenario where Natasha the Robot is particularly talented because folks always ask how she gets such a huge range of speakers to her conferences.

From what I've seen, most folks will say “okay, I'm doing a conference in five months time, so I'm going to email A, B, C, and D and ask if they want to come over and speak my conference.” That's how they do it. But Natasha does it 12 months ahead of time – she builds a relationship with people and gets to know them, watches their videos, and spends that time sowing seeds of trust. Then when you invite someone to come and speak, they're like, "that sounds great – let's do it!” There's no sort of last-minute panic for speakers because she knows them all already; she's got that finger on the pulse of the community and that's so important.

Carola Nitz: Yes, it was the same I think with NSSpain. I remember Luis (the organizer) was reaching out and he didn't even tell me when it was and where. I mean you know where because it’s NSSpain, but he didn't even tell me when it was, He was like, “hey do you want to speak at the next one?"

Paul Hudson: I have so much love for NSSpain and Luis – it's an amazing conference. And folks if you are in Spain or any European country, you go to NSSpain at least once in your life. It's like WWDC: you go there once in your life. They even time NSSpain to coincide with a wine festival, and it's packed with people in an astonishing venue. So, it has a great list of speakers and of course a wine festival – what's not to like?

This transcript was recorded as part of Swiftly Speaking. You can watch the full original episode on YouTube, or subscribe to the audio version on Apple Podcasts.

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