Saturday, May 31, 2014

San Diego UX Speakeasy Report aka Dealing with Issues

Today's post will be of most interest to those of you who are part of the San Diego UX Speakeasy/IxDA group. To the rest of the world, perhaps less interesting. With that said and out of the way:
Ready to go to work

Last night the Speakeasy Committee (i.e. Board) held one of its periodic planning and plotting meetings. A cohort of our enthusiastic Volunteers joined the meeting as well. We had serious business to discuss that required the energies and creative input of many. We met at Intuit in a building that assaults you at the entrance with the sound of happily chirping frogs. I think the frog sounds are pre-recorded, but nonetheless it is pretty cool to come out at night and be serenaded with happy croaking.

Our big task of the evening was to tackle the list of Issues that you all (meetup members) assembled at the April meetup. A few additional Issues were added. Here is that list:

Issue: With the size of the group it is hard to find large enough venues
Issue: People have a hard time coming to events from farther away (N. County)
Issue: The group is so large that it is difficult to navigate and initiate meaningful connections
Issue: Some people want more learning opportunities
Issue: We have a hard time retaining new members
Issue: We should have more conferences
Issue: We should have a yearly conference with big names
Issue: There is a lack of perceived value to the groups activities (conferences are too expensive)
Issue: We need to promote UX more externally (to businesses)
Issue: We need to find better ways to involve Colleges and Students
Issue: Planning Monthly Meetups is hard/time consuming  
Issue: We need more variety in our Meetups
Issue: We need a way to find out more about members (either member-to-member or managing)
Issue: We need more focused topics (e.g. Remote  Research, Wireframing) rather than one-size-fits-all
Issue: We need more engagement and interaction at our meetups
Issue: We cannot cover our current costs
Issue: We need ways to cover beer and food for meetups
Issue: We are not getting enough national exposure to attract big name speakers
Issue: Waiting Lists for Meetups are keeping people away
Issue: It is too easy to NoShow and they are keeping Active or New Members from attending
Issue: There are some many varied backgrounds (or non UXers) that we are losing focus
Issue: Many people who join are looking for mentors
Issue: There is an overall lack of involvement (helping) in the group (present company excepted)
Issue: We need to have a way to promote design/UX in San Diego
Issue: We do not want to lose the culture that made the group successful but the larger it gets the harder it is to maintain
Issue: There may be people who want to help but don't know how
Issue: We need a way to prove our value to sponsors
Issue: We need a website and branding to help promote ourselves, are people, and our sponsors
Our Fearless Leader Means Business

Fearless leader Bennett led us in a modified KJ Technique, which was most interesting because
Serious Business
this activity requires periods in which no talking is allowed. None. Imagine this group being told they couldn't talk? Yeah, sometimes it was a
challenge. Nonetheless, Ben cracked the whip and waved the Sharpie and yelled as needed to keep things in order and moving right along.

Several steps later we had arranged, condensed and organized the above list into
the following

Categories (ranked highest to lowest):

Mission of the Organization 
(sticking to what has made us so successful while we grow)

Keeping the Lights On 
(aka Finances. It costs money to run our meetups)
(this also subsumed Waitlist Problems)

People Interaction Issues
(this also subsumed Volunteer Opportunities &  Beginning UXers)

Name in Lights 
(our larger local, regional, national, international & extra-terrestrial branding)

Planning Meetings/Finding Suitable Venues 
(easier said than done)

We formed teams to cogitate on each of these categories and come up with recommendations for the organization's Board to consider.

Sound good? We think so. We're working hard, even on a Friday night, to keep UX Speakeasy fun and responsive to evolving times.

We also spent time plotting and planning great meetups and events for the remainder of the calendar year. Stay tuned. Also, we always need people to help out. Contact any of the Committee members if you can lend a hand, even if you have no idea how. You can do so through the Meetup site. We'll find something for you and we are a fun bunch to hang with.

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