We are invited to the White House today because the people in this room are forging the future in a non-obvious way. People here are opening doors for people who are opening doors for each other. (I stole that line from Seth Godin, and I love it.)
And speaking of doors, Megan, thank you for opening the doors to the White House to us today, and for seeing the potential in people. You, your team, and the President are making a difference by hosting us today.
We are here to talk about opportunity. To see and imagine how Tech Meetups will create more opportunities for more people.
There are 30,000 Tech Meetup organizers in this country and we’ve gathered 50 of the best here today. These Meetups help people get training, get jobs, get funding, launch businesses, and help companies take off. They inspire and change lives.
I became a Tech Meetup organizer a couple years after we started Meetup, the platform. (Meetup was used by people like Illinois State Senator Barack Obama in his run for the U.S. Senate. Whatever happened to that guy?) Meetups were booming, but there weren’t many Tech Meetups.
I was inspired to start the NY Tech Meetup having heard that Steve Wozniak (Steve Jobs’ co-founder) said that if there were no Homebrew Computer Club, there’d be no Apple. Homebrew was a community where you could demo technology. It gave them opportunity. Maybe Silicon Valley wouldn’t be what it is today without that community back then.
So I started the NY Tech Meetup, and at our first Meetup, only one person showed up. I asked her to be my co-organizer. Her name was Dawn Barber, and she helped it grow in its early days to where it is today, with over 40,000 members.
Dawn is here today. Dawn, you created opportunity for people.
Now there are Tech Meetups everywhere, and I’m so excited to see you all here, from Alabama to Alaska—poised to grow your local tech economies. I’m excited to see all of you.