It’s a common start to a meetup story, it started in a bar after a couple of beers.
I (@denhamparry) attended NDC London at the start of the year (2018) and was booked in for a Kubernetes Workshop with Ben Hall. Speaking with Ben after the workshop I mentioned that I was trying to get into speaking at events and meetups, to which he said “Well, I don’t think anyone has set up Cloud Native Wales…”.
From this point, Cloud Native Wales (CNW) @cloudnativewal was born. That night I spoke to Salman with the news, we had been working on a Kubernetes 101 workshop concept. He was just as excited as I was.
Later that week, we had our first workshop confirmed in Cardiff, Wales. We spent a number of weeks preparing for the 3 hour event which is blogged about here. 31 people attended and was a resounding success. This showed us that there was interest in Cloud Native technologies in Cardiff.
Salman and I started to plan how to create this event, the only experience I’ve had of hosting anything like this was from house parties. We attended as many meetups as we could to get the tips from the community.
We set up Cloud Native Wales meetup group and picked a ‘Cloud like’ image as the logo and used group biographies from elsewhere as a starting point. We didn’t have a venue or any speakers, yet people joined the group. Encouraging signs!
Speakers & Location, Location, Location
We stepped up the search for speakers. On Cardiff Dev Slack ‘Meetup’ channel, I noticed that Matthew MacDonald Wallace had presented a talk in Bristol on ‘Docker and IoT’. Instantly, I direct messaged (DM) him and he confirmed that he was up for it!
Meanwhile, Salman gave a lightning talk at DDD Wales in Swansea titled ‘Can a robot code my website’. It ended with a shameless plug about Cloud Native Wales. I was on a stag do in Manchester in the middle of go-kart Grand Prix and received a DM from one of the attendees saying that they were looking to set a similar Meetup.
He said that his friend James Rawlings would be interested in giving a talk on a project that he was currently working on, Jenkins X. We had found our second speaker!
Until we met Steve, co-founder of DevOpsGuys (DOG) at a WinOps meetup in Bristol, a basement in a cafe in Cardiff was our venue. I also connected with Anthony Gallagher, Head of Recruitment at DOG. Anthony and I used to push trolleys together at Sainsbury’s when we were 17! The folks at DOG offered to host us for a year. They also helped us create a kick-ass CNW branding, thanks DOG design team! Their offices are probably the most stunning offices in center of Cardiff. Don’t believe us, check out the photos. Still don’t believe us, come and check it out at the next Cloud Native Wales meetup! Venue, speakers and attendees sorted!
CNW Center Stage
Cardiff Castle Views (from the 6)
Principality stadium as seen from DOG offices
Aled joined us as a Co-Organiser of CNW. Aled is a researcher from Bristol University and is originally from Carmarthen, Wales. Aled attended the Kubernetes 101 workshop and we met up at a few meetups in Bristol. Aled is the perfect match for what CNW is about, he’s knowledgeable, helpful and easy to get along with!
The week before the meetup, Salman and I attended KubeCon in Copenhagen and promoted Cloud Native Wales. We met so many great people and were amazed by the generosity and time everyone offered to us. We also managed to get two authors to confirm that they’d be happy working with us on a Book Club initiative that we’re rolling out across Wales. More information on that here.
With the explosion of cloud native technologies, we created CNW as a way to bring together a community that would share ideas on how to use cloud native technologies more effectively. We started the book club initiative to kickstart a more in-depth learning and understanding of these concepts and connect with the authors. Our hope is that through this community, the members would introduce newer technologies at workplaces, businesses and projects and improve ourselves every single day.
Always sit at the front for a talk (or as close as you can get!)
Always sit at the front of the roller coaster
That’s it for this post, our next post will be about our first meetup.