Today’s article comes from local curly-haired game-maker extraordinaire, Mr. Kyle Weik. When he’s not working on his globally popular game On My Own, Weik runs a monthly meet-up called the Fargo Game-Makers meet-up.
This month is the meet-up’s 10th Anniversary. In that time, it has gone from about 10 attendees to about 30-40 each month. It now plays a staple role in connecting and energizing a rapidly-growing game-maker community in Fargo.
[Right: October, 2014. Left: April, 2015]
We asked Weik if he would share some of his secret sauce for creating and maintaining a successful niche meet-up group. Here’s his 5 top tips:
5 Tips to running a niche meet-up
1. Start with a goal.
Set out with a specific goal in mind. Be focused and clear on what the meet-up objective is. From the outset of the Fargo Game Makers, the goal was connecting local artists, developers, and entrepreneurs around the common goal of making games.
2. Be observant and perceptive.
Watch and take note of what attendees seem to like and what they don’t like. They are spending their free time at your meet-up; in the end you want to be delivering a valuable experience for them.
3. Meet-up like a start-up.
The first couple meet-ups tend to be the hardest in my experience. You are still developing the flow of the meet-up, and cultivating a group of attendees. Just like in the start-up world, if something is not clicking with your group, take note and make a change. Through iteration, you can find exactly what people want. We initially started out very similar to the 1 Million Cups format, but over time the group has evolved into focusing more on small group discussion and networking.
4. Design: The Great Legitimizer.
Design is all about communication. Your group’s logo, poster, website, and Facebook page all speak volumes about the group. Think of it like a first impression; create branded content that excites and encourages new people to get interested and check it out.
5. Cultivate the group.
Making the group self-sustaining is the end goal of any meet-up – that it delivered such an irreplaceable experience, even if you can’t continue to run the group, attendees will want to continue it. By showing humility, attendees will see that the group is not there to serve your own ego, but the goals of the meet-up. By creating a goal focused environment, it will give space for attendees to show leadership within the group organically.
Thanks for sharing, Kyle!
Learn more about the Fargo Game-Makers Meet-up here!
Photos courtesy of Fargo Game-Makers Meetup