Meetup exists to help everyone, everywhere spread real, local community. Today, over 20 million people create community as members of local Meetups, and tech is our fastest growing category. In the United States alone, there are nearly 3 million tech Meetup members participating in 11,000 tech Meetups spread across 1,100 towns and cities.
Through tech Meetups, millions of Americans have learned new skills, started businesses, and created jobs and opportunities that ultimately change lives.
That’s why Meetup is excited to support President Obama’s new Tech Hire initiative, which launched today, and aims to help people gain tech skills and greater access to tech jobs. As a technology company, we know it’s critical to prepare people for jobs in the new economy, and higher education is not the only way to get there. We’ve seen firsthand that the best way to become a developer or an entrepreneur isn’t a specialized degree, but knowledge exchange with peers. A tech Meetup can be transformational for a person, a company, and a city because it opens a space for innovation through collaboration.
We applaud President Obama for recognizing the power of these communities and for opening more pathways for people to get the opportunity they deserve.
On Thursday, February 26th, the St. Louis Board Game Meetup will get together at local hobby shop Game Nite for an evening of games. The Meetup heads to Game Nite every Thursday after work for games and conversation, but this Thursday is different—this is their ten year anniversary. The St. Louis Board Game Meetup is made up of over 2,000 members who get together more than fifteen times a month to play games. Today, it’s one of the most active communities in St. Louis, but organizer Timothy remembers scheduling their first Meetup, exactly ten years ago.
Timothy is a self-described avid gamer. “Gaming is in my blood,” he says. “I’ve been a gamer all my life, pretty much. My father had been interested in board games since before I was born, and our family summer vacations would always include the new game that dad had bought and kept secret until our arrival.” When Timothy moved from the U.K. to Saint Louis in December 2000, he quickly set out to find local gamers. He connected with a handful of locals online, but was discouraged to find that the group rarely got together. In 2005, Timothy resolved to give it another shot and RSVPed for a Meetup with the St. Louis Board Gamers. “I went,” he recalls, “and brought a small box of games with me so I could easily be identified. But no one but me turned up.” Shortly thereafter, the organizer stepped down, leaving the Meetup leaderless. “I decided that I could make it work,” says Timothy. On January 29, 2005 he stepped up as organizer, and scheduled his first Meetup. “I was more excited than anything.”