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In early 2010, I had the pleasure to give a talk about what we’ve been doing in Rio at PyCon. It was an introductory talk to inspire people and encourage the discussion on community building topics.
I had lots of interesting feedbacks, chats and questions during that conference. So I’ve put myself to work and spent the rest of the year searching for answers and ways to explain how it could be reproduced.
On that path, the community started to overflow from a local group to a country wide network. It’s impressive to see how many great thing can happen when you develop a self-organizing community. Below I’ll point some of our most popular initiatives:
“Hora Extra” means “Overtime”. This is the weekly social meeting where the nerds hang out together to drink beer and talk about geek stuff. It started in Rio, but now also happens in São Paulo, Florianópolis, Curitiba, Porto Alegre and during every conference we attend.
Is an Open Coding Dojo meeting where attendees improve their coding skills applying agile development practices and training communication skills.
Along the last 2 years it grew from 1 weekly meeting with an average of 3 attendees, to 11 weekly meetings scattered around Rio gathering at least 20 people on each session.
Also, the Brasilian Computer Society started to discuss about the Dojorio experience and professors are starting to apply this strategy on computer science courses.
Is a study group focused on developing self-taught capabilities supported by collective learning.
It works similar to a book club, but instead of discussing what the group have read, we share code and discuss the implementation process directly related to what we’ve studied.
Right now, we have ForkinRios about Python, Ruby, Erlang and Pygame.
4. Arduino Hank’n Beer
Is a mix of Dojorio with #Horaextra and tons of electronic parts. We aim to reduce the technology abstraction level so we’ll never forget how bits flows.
This is our technological circus that visits universities integrating students to the industry through Python and Open Source software. This is the event that shows it’s possible to transform passion about technology into a successful career.
The main idea is to feed student’s curiosity. It’s a full day of talks, tutorials, coding dojos and open spaces, where everybody participates sharing experiences while making good friends.
On average, we do one PythonCampus every two months.
It’s an OpenSpace meeting where we get together to talk about whatever interests the attendee group. It counts on people’s spontaneous desire of knowledge to fulfill a whole day of demos, hacks and fun.
This is our most recent initiative. It started when an attendee asked if we could explain JQuery’s work flow. Surprised, the presenter though for a while then started to explore the library with a console and a debugger with the full audience’s attention.
Since then we started to invite community members with hardcore experience about opensource projects to take the group on a hacker’s trip through code’s internals. This is really awesome!
We do this every time someone need help to build something. It’s a sprint session driven by the 3D principles:
To give an example, a lot of cool stuff was build within a sprint:
This is our big yearly event about Developers and their different interests. In 2009 we had the first edition on September 14th with 400 attendees and 6 speakers:
In 2010, the community took it to another level, gathering 600 developers on 2 full tracks of talks, openspaces and dojorio sessions.
As a consequence of all this activism, we started to wonder what we were doing right. To express what we felt, we wrote the “Small Acts Manifesto”http://smallactsmanifesto.org. It’s a set of 10 principles that guide’s our actions.
After experiencing all this for a long time, I started to think deeply about the core foundations and dynamics that makes this happens in such a nice and organic way. All the above initiatives are inclusionists. It doesn’t matter what tools or languages one prefer. It’s all about sharing and collectively building our own reality.
This is more than a showcase talk. I would risk to say it’s an ‘extreme community’ talk. My intention is to share what I think are the core strategies, dynamics and principles that enables our community to overflow. By doing this, I hope to encourage and motivate people to invest in their own communities.
Henrique Batos is a passionate software developer interested in ways of using technology to improve people lives. He is an idrealist working on turning ideals into actions.
He is deeply involved in open source community building, organizing meetings, events, sprints, parties, and many other initiatives to gather people with passion about technology and freedom.