Just wondering the advantages of going to a meetup when you're starting out as a designer/developper. I've just never been to one before and the one in Boston looks interesting.
It's great to get to know the field, the people and the technologies. What I'd advice is to become a meet-up regular (go to one, once or twice a month) in that way you can have relaxed conversations every time. You can leave whenever you are bored, or speak for an hour with one person without feeling the pressure of 'networking'.
Yes there will be dozens of conversations that go no where, but every once in a while you make a friend for life, you gain an insight that might change your career, you will get a job lead that makes you millions.
Just take it easy, and go in with the expectation that you might have a few interesting conversations.
Well, it depends, really. I've been to development meetups which were an absolute waste of time, and to some others where networking was so great that every time I went home, I'd start fiddling around with something new, design or development wise!
But in all honesty, where these meetups help me mostly is to work around my fear of networking from scratch: I usually go to these on my own, and gaining the confidence to walk up to a group of people and say "Hi, I'm Ricardo!" and then take it from there - this has been where it has most helped me.
The conversations that follow are usually pretty standard or generic, but you might end up meeting someone willing to think laterally. Learning to take a serious interest in other people's work is perhaps the biggest skill you can accomplish, as this is exactly what leads you to find the right people to work with.
Don't underestimate the value of networking from a _blank state. I'm learning this myself here in London as a valuable lesson.
If the meetup mood isn't for you... then just enjoy the free beer :)
When you're starting out, meetups are great for a number of reasons, but perhaps the best reason is that you'll make connections in real life with other people who do what you do.
If the only way you ever experience learning is online it can make for a really daunting experience (people on the internet are, in general, horrible), so having part of your experience involve face-to-face interactions with real people is a great way to balance out your perspective on what's important.
You're only going to get out of meetups what you bring to them – I'm by nature a quiet, shy person, but I still go to meetups and get into conversations specifically so I can continue to learn what's going on in my 'ecosystem'.
Especially if you're looking for work or trying to sell (or research) a product/app, actually talking to your potential customers/clients in real life is invaluable.
Mainly booze, inspiration and intoxication. I run one that's spreading a fair bit. www.glugevents.com.
Mainly UK based, but people get a lot out of it I'm told.
Word of mouth referrals. Especially if you go a small business networking meetups, everyone needs a website. It's a great way to score work and promote yourself.