Lately Meetups have become boring. They have become too vendor-driver, too product-centric and could literally send you to sleep. These are supposed to be events where the tech community can come together and share ideas and help each other overcome challenges. It shouldn’t be all about pitching. So, I decided it was time to shake things up....

I didn’t want to organize community events to support vendor products, I wanted to create a competitive, fun and interesting environment where engineers could get a taste for different tools and technologies that could support their work. And where vendor products could be freely compared and criticized for their weaknesses.

So, I started formatting Meetups as debates, rather than vendor presentations. This meant tools and vendors are still present, but they have to earn their keep by defending themselves on their own merits! It also allowed the community to ask questions, take sides and have their voice heard by voting for a final winner.

If you are deciding on a tool, why go to loads of separate sales-pitch Meetups where they are all going to say that their tool is the best? Why not go to one event, where these vendors have to square up against each other?

This is why we recently hosted a ‘Container Management Debate: Rancher v Kubernetes v Docker Swarm v Amazon ECS' in Sydney, to give each team the opportunity to sell their tool, but also face questions and criticisms that highlight their product’s weaknesses. 

Obviously, deciding which tool is best depends on your environment and the problem you are trying to solve, but by the end of the night the pros and cons of each were clear to the audience. Plus, at the end of the evening the winner of the debate was put to an audience vote. This allowed the community to decide who took home all the glory.

I won’t ruin the surprise, but if you’d like to know who won the debate, you can watch it here:

The community is thirsty for events like this. There were 730 people that registered for this debate, which is more than 10x the attendee number of the average Meetup event.

The good news is we’re running a similar debate in Melbourne on 25 October. To find out more and register to attend click here.



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Gerhard Schweinitz

Head of Talent (APAC)

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