My name is Ed Nedin, I’m the founder and CEO of Geekle.
I want to share the story of Geekle, our events, and a message of the power of the community.
It started offline
Back in 2019, I was working on tech recruiting, creating an international recruiting agency FrontendersHub.
In winter 2020, together with our team, we started holding offline meetups for programmers in Amsterdam, Kyiv, and Berlin — cities where we helped hire developers for our clients.
These were small, cozy meetings of up to 20 people around a table with live coding sessions, pizza, and drinks.
Experienced engineers were sharing their screens on a projector and discussing their ideas.
Juniors were watching how “the big boys and girls” code, and Seniors were discussing solutions and sometimes even fighting over whose solution was better.
At the events, I saw a lot of emotional feedback and hunger for communication. It really warmed our hearts when we saw people thanking each other after the events, smiling, and going home feeling mentally elevated.
We did this for free. We sponsored this activity with the dream of combining these meetups in Zoom, where we could include top experts and discuss the coolest tech content in the world.
I also hoped that such a community would be interesting for large technology brands, and we would be able to attract them as sponsors to develop this community further.
It was so captivating that we completely focused on the community and prepared to launch in 9 more European countries. We found local ambassadors, and companies to provide the venues. The launch was scheduled for April 2, 2020.
Then, almost as an April Fool’s joke, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and it brought national lockdowns.
Five brave Amsterdam residents attended our last offline event, the rest said, “let’s do this after the quarantine”.
So we went online
We wanted to keep the community going, and sent everyone an email asking, “If we do something online, will you connect?”
A high percentage immediately answered something like, “Yes, of course! We’re playing video games here and we’re going crazy, let’s use this time to grow!”
Our team of four organised our first event in 10 days. It was a DevOps+JS Geekle Summit. We had almost 4,500 registrations, and 1,100 people simultaneously online at the peak!
It was a very rewarding and emotional event, despite the technical difficulties. A huge amount of gratitude from the audience convinced us that this is worth continuing.
Then there was the first paid event — Node.js Global Summit with 10,238 registrations. It had a paid track for Seniors, but 93% of the visitors were on the free track for Juniors.
Then we organized Java Devs Global Summit, which gathered around 10,000 registrations. And then — React Global Summit, to which over 15,000 people registered.
We keep going! We just hosted our Cross-Platform Mobile Development Summit and Python Summits this November.
Now, we are in full preparation mode for the 2021 events. In January alone, we will host Solutions Architect Case Study Festival and Java Case Study Festival. What’s coming after that is Angular, Rust, DevOps, Kotlin, Vue.js, and so much more.
We keep advancing our events organization, seeing what can be improved after every event, and taking into account the feedback from our participants.
By the way, we are putting together a blogpost to share our experience on what to do and what not to do when organizing an online event. We will publish it here on Medium soon!
We started as a community, and we continue as a community. Our events now bring hundreds and thousands of people together. And we want to build stronger cooperation and support between them, to foster technological advancement of the world.
Right now, we are working on new models of common growth: from educational programs to community building initiatives. Stay tuned, because 2021 will be something special!