Last week, thanks to Andrea Verlicchi1’s effort, we ran the first in-person DevRomagna event since 2019. We did some meetups during the pandemic, some in 2020 and a couple in 2022, but they were all online.
In theory, online meetups and DevRomagna are a match made in heaven. The Romagna region consists of small same-size towns scattered in the vast countryside. To accommodate this, and in an attempt to encourage varied participation, DevRomagna has always been a roaming meetup. We might be in one place one month, and then, next month, we will likely move to another town. With online meetups, attendance doesn’t have to commit to a commute saving time and money and allowing everyone to participate in events that would otherwise be too far away.
But there’s value in commitment. The other day, we gathered in a new cozy venue (Ca’ Vaina2, a municipality-run youth center and coworking space) where my friend Gabriele Santomaggio talked about Kubernetes, service mesh and isolation techniques he and his colleagues adopt at Vmware. After the talk, some of us went for dinner in a nearby pizzeria. The pizza was good, and the craft beer was great. We talked about many things like our jobs, our favorite developer tools and languages, and all the nerdy stuff you’d imagine. Suggestions for new original presentations were thrown around, which is always good. Most importantly, I got to know new people, including Ugo, a fellow Microsoft MVP from my area whom I somehow managed not to meet in all these years. With Ugo, we are now planning a few hopefully engaging dotnet-centered events.
All in all, it was a pleasant, fruitful evening spent with like-minded individuals. We could have done an online event with, probably, a higher attendance. I would’ve saved some money and time (Imola, the town where the meetup took place, is a half-hour drive, which includes a highway toll), but I wouldn’t get to meet Ugo at the table or see Gabriele after two years of pandemic-inflicted hiatus.
More than one interested in the event asked if we would stream it, and my answer was no for several reasons. I suspect that in-person attendance would dwindle if we’d stream our events, as we’d be effectively discouraging active participation. Also, it wouldn’t be fair to the people who make an effort and come to the venue. Recording the session and streaming them later might be an option, but this would discourage live participation too. So, for the time being, whenever possible, DevRomagna will stay true to its roots and remain a live event. There might be exceptions, like if we have a foreign or far-away guest or can’t find a proper venue.
We’re a local meetup, and “local” hardly conjugates with “online.”