Season Two Wrap-Up: Code and Community

Season 2, Episode 9 | May 31, 2021

In this episode of the podcast, Dan and Bekah wrap up season two by talking about what they've learned about community, supporting members, and trying to find the right tools to make it happen.


Bekah's profile photo
Bekah Hawrot Weigel

Front-end developer, and Org Maintainer at Virtual Coffee.

Dan's profile photo
Dan Ott

Front-end developer, and Org Maintainer at Virtual Coffee.

Show Notes:

In this episode of the podcast, Dan and Bekah wrap up season two by talking about what they've learned about community building over the last year and some lessons they've learned along the way. They talk about Virtual Coffee's mission to support its members, and how Virtual Coffee's unique approach presents both challenges and opportunities when it comes to finding tools and guidance as the community grows.

Links:

Virtual Coffee:

Transcript:

Bekah:

Hello and welcome to season two, episode nine of the Virtual Coffee Podcast. I'm Bekah. And this is a podcast that features members of the Virtual Coffee community. Virtual Coffee is an intimate group of developers at all stages of their coding journey. And they're here on this podcast, sharing their stories and what they've learned. And we're here to share it with you. Here with me today is my cohost Dan

Dan:

Thanks Bekah. Um, we have a cool episode today. We thought we'd do a little, something a little bit different. It's our last episode of season two. Um, it is our what? Eighteenth... I've lost count many? Yeah, 18th episode. Um, and. Last time we are last season one finale, Bekah and I talked about our own coding journeys. Um, and so we didn't want to do that again. Uh, so we thought this time we would talk a little bit about what we've learned, over the last year building Virtual Coffee, what we've been thinking about, with Virtual Coffee, vis-a-vis communities and, some of the struggles, challenges, things we're excited about, um, and stuff

Bekah:

Yeah, we love being available to talk through kind of our approach to what the things that we've been doing and the challenges that we've faced. And to share that with everybody, because I think that we have a lot of stuff that happens behind the scenes. And it's nice to be able to talk about that in a way, and to talk about all the support that we've had from the community, and to be able to share that as well.

Dan:

Yeah, Um, it was maybe a little bit of a long conversation, but it was, uh, I don't know, as very fun. And I think that, I think people are gonna enjoy it.

Bekah:

Yeah, I sure hope so. I enjoyed it. We start every episode of the podcast. Like we started every Virtual Coffee. We introduced ourselves with our name where we're from and what we do, and a random check in question. Today's random. Check-in question is if you had a remote control, it was only one button that controlled something in your life, what would the button do? We hope you enjoy this episode. I am Bekah. I am a front end developer from a small town in Ohio. And if I had a remote control with one button, I would do the Zack Morris button from Saved by the Bell. You can't see it, but Dan rolled his eyes. Like

Dan:

I did not I was nodding

Bekah:

You rolled your eyes. I saw it

Dan:

well, if I did, it

Bekah:

doing the timeout button because sometimes my kids need a timeout, but also I need the timeout. So I am having a pause on life button.

Dan:

Yep. Well, if I did roll my eyes because that was going to be my answer too. Although the Zack Morris part, I did not make that connection. Um, honestly that might be, that's like a good upgrade because, um, you know, he had somebody to talk to, right. Like he says time out and then he's like, talks it out with the audience, you know, the pause, the pause idea that that would definitely be mine too. There's many times where it's just, you know, whether it's like, maybe I need a break, but lots of times, uh, I would like to pause to just sort of figure out what is happening in the moment or, you know, what I'm going to say or, uh, things like that. So, or just to get a little extra time in the day, I suppose, although with the pause thing, um, you know, do you get older? Like, do you continue aging while it's paused? You know,

Bekah:

I wrote a screenplay about that.

Dan:

Well, what happened in the screenplay?

Bekah:

Well, the protagonist, she could move through the time pauses. And so for her. One time was paused for everyone else, she just sped up through those pauses. And so she kept up with everyone else, but she just had the ability to kind of like do it on her own time without anybody noticing.

Dan:

Okay. So she didn't like

Bekah:

I did some deep research into physics, so

Dan:

yeah.

Bekah:

it could happen. Also

Dan:

All right. Well, there you

Bekah:

teacher from high school was the worst, so

Dan:

I'm sorry about that.

Bekah:

I'm not a physicist.

Dan:

That's exactly it. Yep. It's the same. Yeah. I had to get actually I'd have, I liked her physics teacher, but he was cool, but I also ended up not a physicist.

Bekah:

Hmm. My physics teacher hated me. And so my lab partner would always get A's on lab reports and I would write the same thing and she would give me CS. I don't understand. Are we going to do a therapy session about my physics teacher today? Okay.

Dan:

I don't know if we need to. We can.

Bekah:

It will save that for a different time. Um, as somebody asked me recently about Virtual Coffee and like, what are the pain points that you feel what are the things that are challenging for you? And I said, well, there's not 40 hours in a day. And that's the most challenging thing for me. There are so many ideas and so many things I would love to be able to do. Um, but just cannot happen because there are hours in a day.

Dan:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean like that's, I mean, that's the biggest, the biggest issue. You know, I mean, we both work for living, not for like, not for Virtual Coffee. Right. I mean, uh, and so that's, that's, I mean, that's always going to be an issue. Right. And so one of the things that we've been working on really hard for the last, however many months is, um, trying to, uh, get people involved in, in helping out, um, you know, but in, in, in ways that both support them and support us, you know,

Bekah:

I mean, it's such a important thing, right? Because we're. Doing this thing and we're building community and we're coding along with it. Like whether it's part of the community or what, or whether it is part of a paying job. And I think like it's a real challenge, no matter where you are, if you're starting a community, sometimes you start it intentionally sometimes like Virtual Coffee, it just kind of happens authentically and then you try and go with it. And there's so many lessons that are learned along the way. I want to backtrack a little bit though, and just kind of, um, explain what Virtual Coffee is, because I also get that question a lot. Like, what is Virtual Coffee? Like, what do you do? And for me, like the hardest part of that is describing what we do at virtual. like, I think that I can describe it, but I really want to capture like that energy and like all of the beautiful interactions that we have with people and like getting to know people and to understand them. And I just have a really hard time being saying like, oh, well, we meet up twice a week and we chat and we have a slack and then we usually have a brown bag every week. And we do these events and newsletters and podcasts. And those feel like, like I'm like doing a checklist of all the things we do. And it doesn't quite capture, I think who we are. And I'm not really sure how to do that. So I don't know if you have ideas for that, Dan, but, um,

Dan:

Yeah, I, mean, I, would say, well, if I wanted to, succinctly, you know, summarize what Virtual Coffee is, I guess, uh, this is just off the top of my head, but I would say it's an intimate community for developers.

Bekah:

oh yeah. Is that off the top of your head?

Dan:

Um, no, I mean, that's, that's it though, right? I mean, it's, it's, it's just an intimate community, right. And it's, uh, I, and I, and the intimate part is, is, uh, important and distinctive part of Virtual Coffee, um, to me and all of the things that you described. I mean, some, I'm sure there's communities doing all sorts of different pieces of those, or, you know, uh, like individually. Um, but the way that we have ended up, you know, both, both through our direction and through following, you know, w the member's direction and, um, and everything is, is this commute people who know each other pretty well, we have stuck through the two days a week meet up, which is, um, nobody's really doing. Um, and it's an integral part of, uh, our community identity. Um, I feel like it is the face-to-face conversations. Um, you know, we have a slack there's. Everybody is part of a million different slacks, developers, slacks, or, you know, Discord stuff like that. Um, and one of the nice things about our slack is that I've seen all these people's faces. You know, I I've talked to them, um, you know, in, in not just like sitting next to them at some presentation or not, you know, anything like that. Right. It's the w our, our conversations, we have conversations. Um, our events our brown bags, are presentations, but they are, you know, member led things, right. They're not just us, the organizers, you know, pumping out content and expecting, you know, expecting our members to join, uh, or something like that. Right. It's, it's that the members that are doing the presentations, um, have something to share and they want to share it with our group. Um, and you know, I was. Uh, we, we just did the Magnolia conference. Um, we, we were a community sponsor for Magnolia JS and I missed a second one. My son was sick for the second day of the conference, so I missed it, but what Virtual Coffee did there was, um, did a Virtual Coffee style, lunch table, zoom meeting. Right. Um, and, and went, and we did breakout rooms with small, small, you know, I had six people in my room I think. And it was great. I, I, I've never been to a online thing that is on anything like that before, you know, we I've been to online events, uh, where there's a, there's a discord or a slacker or some sort of chat, you know, and that's always fun. And I was, I was having fun at the Magnolia one and I have fun in our slack too. Right. Um, but. And, and the talks were really, really good. Uh, I've been to a lot of good conferences, you know, over the years. Um, and this was one of them. Um, but like the lunch conversation was, I w I was just, I had, I was in a table in a breakout room with people I'd never met before. And Kayla was in my room, uh, who organized the event and she's awesome, but I had never talked to her before I chatted with her, but I never, um, I don't think she's come to Virtual Coffee. I know she's come to Virtual Coffees. I'd never had been in a breakout room with her before. Um, and it was really great. And w with the six of us just like talked, we talked about what we were learning. And we talked about, um, some struggles that we've been going through, and it was just half an hour or something like that. Um, but it, I came out of that. Like, uh, it it's one of the things, that and Kenneth, um, one of the things I'm going to like, remember about that event for a long time, you know, um, the. Like the way the Virtual Coffee's ended up with fostering these conversations, and, um, with small groups of people is I feel like that's, that is the, like, that's the key, right? Um, the intimacy and, um, to keep like people have people. Um, and we can talk about this more later, I think, but like, people have talked to us about scale and like prepare for scale and all this stuff, you can't have this at scale. And, I just disagree. I think we're going to, I think we're going to figure it out and we're on our, on our way down the path of figuring it out, um, because this community is, um, is great and we have, we have been holding onto the things that make it great. And like we have also, and I'd like to hear more about what you think about this, but I feel like over the last. Six months, um, really been trying to figure out what it is that makes us great, you know, it makes this community great. Um, besides the members who, who, who are great, uh, you know, but they could have gone somewhere else or right. Every single one of them and including us, I suppose, and why they, you know, like what, you know, finding, finding out what it is like, why they keep coming back. Why they're here is, is, uh, has been interesting too.

Bekah:

Yeah, for sure. I there's something I think of all the time and I always bring up to people like anybody can open up a zoom, right? There's um, you can start a meeting, you can start a chat with other people, but we're here and it's been such a nice thing. And. You know, Dan, you pretty sure you're the one that came up with the tagline: "An intimate community for all devs, optimized for you." Right. And early on when we were like, just really trying to figure out like, okay, like what are we, how can we define that? And, and that's right. Like, I feel like I that's, that's where I need to put my emphasis on this idea of an intimate community, because you don't really hear that ever. And if you're talking about like tech communities, but it's true. And I was asking some of our more senior people, so somebody had asked me, okay, I understand why new or early career devs are there, like networking, trying to find jobs and stuff. And that's part of it, but that's not like, that's not the essence of what Virtual Coffee is. And so they had asked me like, well, why do your senior devs come? And so I reached out to a couple of them in there and the answer was like, We're friends, you know, like I, I know who your kids are, and I know about you personally and that personal connection is, is what makes it special. I think, because it's not like, yes, some people will come through Virtual Coffee and they won't be able to come back or they'll find a new job and they'll leave. And like every time we have a person that comes and they're looking for a job and they find a new job, I am simultaneously super happy for them. And like super sad, because I don't know if they're going to be back here, but like, I don't think that I'm the only person that feels that, right? Like these are our friends and we have this time to spend with them and to share with them. And I'm like, I always defined myself as like a shy introvert and this, this week, my, my introvertedness, um, Was taxed a little bit because I had so much stuff going on, but still it's like, these are the people that I look for forward to seeing all the time. And we decided fairly early on ish. I think that if you wanted to become a member, you had to attend Virtual Coffee because there's something very special that happens at those coffees because you hear other people because, um, you can see other people in those moments and we really just try to embrace people where they're at. So, you know, like we are also say like, you don't have to participate. You can just come and listen, you don't have to turn your camera on. But for me, you know, one of the most important things is like, let's recognize every single member where they're at. And, and yet like exactly what you said, Dan, people say, well, this can't scale. I'm like, well, we'll figure it out. You know, because. We know there's something special here and we want to keep moving forward with that.

Dan:

Yeah, And that's, you know, that's a good point about how we, we decided about, the way into Virtual Coffee is through the coffees. Right. You know, we have the slack, um, and it's great, you know, but it's, it's sort of, uh and it's almost, almost, almost a side. It's not right. I mean, cause people there every day, but you know, it's, it's um, we never wanted it to this to just be a slack developer community. Cause they end up being the same, you know, a lot of times. And um, you know, that's been a kind of a struggle, right? Cause I mean, you, you, you have people, you want people to come and, and you want people to, be able to join. Um, so that's something we, you know, we've also been trying to figure out, right. Is, is, uh, how can we do that? How can we expand a little bit, you know, how can we slowly grow? Uh, you know, and we have, it's funny, we have, um, there's some annoying hoops you have to jump through. Um, I think to join right now and we have sort of purposely kept those up for, for awhile, to slow down, um, the rate of people, people joining, um, artificially just a little bit, um, you know, w. We have, we have some plans, uh, some concrete, some not so much concrete, you know, to improve all of that stuff and to improve the flow and to make it easier for people to join. Um, and, but I think that's, I think that my suspicion is that is still going to be the case for us is that we're always going to be, you know, the, the Virtual Coffee will be the entrance. Um, whether it looks exactly the same as, you know, as it does now, it might, might or might not. But, um, that's like, that's the key that the coffees for us are the key to everything else. Um, am I, am I like, in my opinion anyway, you know, and I'm sure some members will find, you know, find more value in certain parts and some members find more value in other parts, you know, but the, the, the coffees themselves, I feel like are unique. Um, the coffees and the enthusiasm for, um, being together in a room, um, is like, that's, you know, that's it right? So the coffees are like the automated always scheduled ways to do that, you know, and we have, we have other ways to do that too. Even the brown bags, um, the w the brown bags are generally more presentation style. Um, but they are still on zoom for us, um, on zoom most of the time. And which means it's still people, you know, kind of that, you know, already in a room together. Um, and then one of our members will be just presenting something that they want to share, which is, uh, which is cool too.

Bekah:

Yeah, well, I think it's so nice because it, because you know, so many of the people and you have seen them in Virtual Coffee, it, when you give a brown bag, it's a little bit different than, you know, so a brown bag is about 60 minutes. You can talk for anywhere between a half an hour plus, um, and you are talking about one particular topic and sometimes there's times for questions. Depending on the speaker, the questions might be throughout otherwise they're at the end, but there's always that continual relationship, that content that happens in slack. And so you can ask the questions there or it's like, okay, I know that person talked about that and I can touch base with them. And, um, you know, the, the nice thing is when you are doing these things, it feels like less of a risk because you're doing it in front of people that, you know, and that you're supported by. And so I talked about this, I don't know where I talked about it recently, but you know, for me, I give conference talks and I keep doing it to myself, but I was super nervous and anxious before and like burn out by the end because the anxiety just like consumes me. Um, But when I can see other people's faces, especially the faces of people. I know, um, it provides this more, more comfortable atmosphere, I guess. So like I gave this talk recently about my journey into tech and when I gave it, I, I, the last two times I gave it, I just like started crying from the very beginning. And I'm like, oh, that's, that's what you want from a conference speaker crying. But what helped me to be able to refocus is looking out into the people that were there and it wasn't a Virtual Coffee event, but there were Virtual Coffee people there. And I knew like, okay, like, these are my people. They're here. They've heard my story before, but they're here because they're supporting me and they're willing to support me as I grow through this and cry through this 50 minute presentation of things. Um, and it just. You know, allowed me to kind of stretch myself and to grow in that moment and to lean on them. Like I know the first time I gave the talk, I, Karen Dickinson was there and Karen just like her, she was just giving me the head nod, you know, and the smile and the affirmation. I'm like, okay. Um, I'm just going to look at Karen and I'm not going to look at anybody else because all I need in this moment is Karen. And that only happens because, you know, I met Karen at Virtual Coffee because I'm comfortable with her because I have shared with her before. And so me as a person who really struggles with forming, I think, um, authentic relationships with other people to have that and to be able to lean on that was, you know, just one of the nicest moments in my life.

Dan:

Yeah. Yeah. That's awesome. Yeah. Virtual Coffee, real strong at other people's events, for sure. As I always, I love seeing that. I, you know, I, even my, um, my, I have a Cleveland react, you know, meetup group. And since it has started, you know, since, um, photocopies kicked off and whatever, um, there's always, there's always a few people there too, which is, which is just great. I dunno. It's, it's, it is fun. It's, it's great to have your, your friends and these people, you know, um, and my like, outside of tech, aren't going to come to my tech, you know, related talk, you know, and you know what I mean? Like, uh, they don't want to hear it. Excuse me. I talk about react or whatever enough around them as it is. Nobody wants to, you know, you know what I mean? But like, so, so it's, I mean, and that's people talk about how, how important it is to have community, any, any, you know, a, I'm gonna say any community, any community of people who care about you, you know? Um, I feel like it's very important for Chicago is obviously not the only one. Um, but we do have a large amount of very awesome people.

Bekah:

I mean, we have so many great people and I think like some of the lessons that we've learned over the last year, that's, that's another question I commonly get from people. Like what lessons have you learned? So my lessons, the lessons that I've learned, like one of them is communication. I've grown as a communicator so much, and last year it was hard and it felt very terrible and awful the entire way. So I'm not saying that it was an easy process, but like. Being able to communicate with people and to talk about those hard truths. I think sometimes it's still a work in progress. Right. And, and Karen, who I mentioned before led the book club conversation on Radical Candor. And I was not going to read it just because I had a lot on my plate. And Dan, like, you kind of brought it up when we were talking about things.

Dan:

Yeah. Yeah. Well, I, wasn't excited about reading. I didn't know anything about it other than the title, like, and that's literally all I knew about it and I've judged it on the, I did I judge it on the title? I've judged the book by its cover. I did it. Uh, but the, um, I got into the intro and I read the second edition and she actually talked in the. Intro or forward or whatever, um, about how she wished she had chosen a different title. Uh, which was interesting, but no, I got, I got through the I'm maybe halfway through the intro and that's when I texted you and I was like, Bekah, wait, you need to read this to you. Like, we need to, you know, this, this is like, this is what we need in, um, in our, in our lives for the first coffee stuff. Uh, I, I just need you to appreciate it. And I appreciated it too. You know, it's a very good book.

Bekah:

so good. And it's very, very useful because I think, you know, like one of the core concepts of the book is that sometimes you don't have those direct conversations with people because you don't want to hurt their feelings or you think like they're going to grow on their own or that they'll recognize those things. And number one, like you're projecting to that person onto that person, maybe what you do yourself, but also. You help people grow by being honest with them and letting them know like, okay, yes, we've done this thing or you've done this thing. Here's how you can improve. And you don't fix the mistakes for them. And maybe this is like a grade school teacher kind of thing. But I think we kind of lose us as adults because we want to preserve these relationships with people and think that by being direct or like, okay, so I'm projecting on everybody else. This is what I think like, oh, well, you know, I, I don't want them to feel bad about all of the work that they've put into something, but when I'm not direct with people, then sometimes what happens is I ended up taking on more of the work. No, no, that's, that's what happens all of the time. Right? Like, and that's not helping anybody, it's not helping them for sure, because they're not able to grow in that moment. And so by saying things like, yes, this is awesome. Well, you know, you have a lot of reservations there about the work that they've created. It doesn't allow them to understand the process. It doesn't create clear communication and it certainly doesn't create trust because then when they see their work with a bunch of changes or if you just don't. Put their work into practice, then it can be really challenging. And so it's hard to kind of change those ways of communicating with people. And for me, I've been trying to do more of upfront. This is how I communicate. Sometimes this is how it comes across and please feel free to let me know how you feel about what I'm doing, because you know, I want to be on the same page as you. I want to work together. I want to grow together. And sometimes that works and Dan mentioned Magnolia JS. And those, I think the first email that I sent to Kayla after Gant kind of connect us like Kayla, this is awesome. This is how I communicate. And so please let me know, like if I'm overstepping boundaries or if we're not communicating in the way that needs to be, uh, in, in a way that is mutually productive. But for me right now, like I'm leaning into that until I can. Kind of be able to employ those mechanisms or to be "Radically Candor" in all of the ways that I think are useful to everyone and helping them grow. So that, that's my number one lesson.

Dan:

Yeah. Yeah. I it's something I've and honestly, like I've like noticed you improving that, that sort of, I've noticed you're working on it. I've noticed you improving, in your communications with, with everybody, um, and including me, but I that's something I struggled with you and I, I don't know that I've turned the corner so much, but it's definitely something I'm working on. Uh, another thing that, um, that I sort of related it, you know, that I've been, that I both discovered was I was going to say discovered that it was harder than I thought. And I think the real answer is more that I discovered that I never even thought about it or how, you know, what I mean is, um, sort of when you're planning and you're communicating with, with people, um, if you're going to ask somebody for help, um, like. You owe it to them, and to yourself, um, to, to be sort of specific about everything, maybe not everything, but specific about, you know, what help you want, you know, what, like what help you don't want maybe. Um, and Kim Scott talked about this in Radical Candor, too, you know, uh, about laying expectations for things, you know? Um, so if you just give somebody a one word task and say, go, um, you know, you, I mean, if you're going to be okay. with whatever comes out of it, then great. You know what I mean? Um, but if not, then it's, you know, it's on you, you know, on me, on the person asking to improve that, ahead of time, I feel like, and that's something we've been even struggling with the times here, as well as, um, that takes work. You know, the, the outlining that stuff takes time. And, um, time is the thing that we have the least that was, I mean, that was our first both of our answers for our, uh, our remote control thing was just like, all just we need more time. Um, but anyway, it's so, so like balancing that with, um, having to manage day to day stuff, um, and, and everything else has been interesting. I feel like we, that, I feel like we are, um, turning a corner on at Virtual Coffee. We have some great new teams of people that are helping out with things. Um, we have this team that's been going for awhile that has just been helping on the coffee events, um, leading, leading breakout rooms and taking notes. Uh, and, um, it's been great having a little community of people that is just like, that's their, that's the thing they're working on. And they're excited about it. And, you know, um, we have like a slack channel that's just for that. And It's been, it's been really cool and we've improved our processes. Like we did have, we did put work into putting things in, you know, some documentation and stuff like that ahead of time. Um, but since people have gotten involved, we've been able to improve it. We've seen where things work, where they don't, you know, what, when things are confusing when they're not. Um, and I mean, that's just one piece of the whole, the whole pie, but, um, it's, you know, and this is like, we, we think of Virtual Coffee a lot as, um, an open source community, you know, like we've, we've, uh, we've used that phrase before. And, I think everybody realizes that being an open source maintainer is hard, you know? I mean, everybody sort of knows it in the back of their mind, you know, and that like a lot of the struggles that, and of course we have, our documentation is open source. Our website is open source. You know, we have open source projects, um, as well. Right. And so, uh, A lot of the same things we ended up having to work through, um, and it's, it can be hard sometimes, it can be a really great a lot of times, uh, you know, and it's definitely a learning, you know, uh, like a very large learning process. I've never, I've never maintained a large open source project before. Um, and I've never been any kind of community, community organizer, um, before, so I've been struggling and learning and, um, uh, you know, over the last I keep saying, I don't really know how time works anymore. Uh, the last six months or so months, you know, since, um, since I've been in any sort of leadership position here and, um, yeah, it's been hard. There's been some things where I've done, you know, and, uh, I, you know, I just sort of missed, uh, I had like, I missed, I don't know how to describe this. I was surprised by, uh, you know, I think that happened, you know what I mean? And it was just like, uh, the same kind of thing where it hadn't occurred to me to think about yet, you know, you know? Um, and that happens that that is, that's a common thing in my life. Uh, you know, I, I learned, I learned by, you know, falling down, um, most of all and, um, yeah, I don't really know where it's going there, but there's, there's been other times where I've done something that I thought was just like, oh, this is kind of cool or whatever, and they just kind of toss it out and it's been, you know, like, everybody's been very excited about it too, you know, that kind of thing. So it's, uh, I don't know. It's been, it's been fun. It's been, it's been, it's been a journey.

Bekah:

yeah, for sure. Yeah. And it is interesting to kind of see, so. I think because we were not an intentional community to start with some people, you know, I I've described it in this way. Like, um, well I was talking to Tom Cudd, I think recently. And he, maybe he, I'm sorry, Tom, if I am taking this and putting words into your mouth, but in my mind, what I remember is, um, Virtual Coffee is kind of like a social startup, right? And so startups are, we typically think of them as like move fast and break things. And so I like to say, like, we move slow and deliberately here at Virtual Coffee. Um, we try to at least, because, you know, we're, we're focused on the people. And if we talk about what Virtual Coffee is and what the goals are for Virtual Coffee, number one in my mind is never let's grow Virtual Coffee. Like yeah, that's on the list. But my number one is let's support the people who are here right now and figure out how we can continue to do that. As we grow,

Dan:

Yeah, I

Bekah:

just like, looked

Dan:

know I

Bekah:

were going to respond to that.

Dan:

well, I was, uh, I mean, I was agreeing with you, you know, I mean, I, I, uh, that's the, the, the top of our list is not, none of our lists have at the top of it, you know, increased growth rate, you know what I mean? Uh, and like, a lot of that is because we don't have the incentive to do that. Right. I mean, we, we want, I want more people to join because I want them, like the people that aren't members of Virtual Coffee, like should be members of Virtual Coffee. You know what I mean? Like, I want that, I want them to join for them, you know, but we don't have, like the, we're not a paid community. We're not like we don't even. Right now have advertiser, you know, we we've been talking about and sponsors and stuff like that. And I suppose, um, if you you know, some company, if you were designing a company around this, then that would be the incentive, you know? Um, and that's not ours. And that's what, like, one of the things, like way, way back when we first started talking about any of this, like first started talking about like, doing anything beyond the slack, you know, in the zooms. Um, I don't know who put the line down at first, but we, we all, I think we're agreed that we're never going to put content behind a paywall basically. Um, I guess, I guess this is all to say it to support what Bekah was saying is it's like everything that's like high on our list are things to just improve. Like what are, what we got going on right now? So we have things like improve, um, event management, improve, you know, improve our workflows for working with teams. And, um, all of that. stuff is much higher and provide more value to our V to, to our existing members, you know, as much higher on our list, then try to open up the flood gates and, you know, buy some Ad Words or whatever. And you know what I mean? Um, and just started pumping members in. We could, I think, you know what I mean? Like we, we could make a couple of little changes and, um, increase our like membership count very quickly if we want to do. I think, I mean, I'm, I'm not saying like astronomically, but like we could do that. Um, and. I think we can. I mean, we don't have very many members. We have a couple hundred, I don't remember what it is right now, active members. And, um, I think if we just decided right now, like let's double that we could do that in like two weeks, probably honestly. Uh, if that was our only goal, it's just not, you know, um,

Bekah:

for sure. And I think like, and that's the thing that like, I keep coming back to, and sometimes I get super frustrated with people who are asking about like, okay, well, what are your metrics? Like I know about metrics of community building, but I'm not interested in a lot of them because they don't include so many people. And so for me, it's about making sure that we get it right for our people and for people who are underrepresented. And, you know, there's a trend in tech that everybody who talks the loudest are the people that get hurt. Right. And we have so many amazing developers and our community at all stages, and they don't have 40,000 Twitter followers or whatever, you know, they participate in the ways that are meaningful to them. And that's like so many systems of judging, like, who are your top members? They just like focus so much on like, um, I guess, quantity over quality. I don't know. We had Courtney on earlier this season and Courtney is not ever going to be the loudest person in the room, but she provides so much value to everything that we're doing at Virtual Coffee, you know, by mentoring, by, um, you know, giving talks by supporting other members and like, that's great. And that's missed in so many metric systems, but also like. There are valuable community members who listen, right? Like, why are we placing value? Why are we saying a community is valuable? Cool. Only if you have people who are out there, um, speaking in all of the channels and doing all of the things, right? Like we should not be discounting the quiet people or the people who just choose to listen because they, they deserve to be served as well. They deserve to be part of a community. And this is me getting myself box now. Um, but like, this is, this is how changes are made, right? Like you allow people to participate as quickly as slowly as they want to participate. And you. Say it like you're a unique human being. You are doing things in the ways that are more comfortable to you. And like, we are here for that. Like we're not here for that. If in the future you decide to give a talk. Right. Like, that's great. If you decided to give a talk, but also it's great if you decide to be here and, and just listen the entire time, like that's okay. It's okay for you to be there with your camera off. It is okay for you to not drop something in the chat. Um, yeah. Will be maybe a little bit more challenging to be interactive, but maybe that's not what you're looking for four. And so I don't know. I feel this like consistent struggle with that question of, well, how has your community impact people? Because I think that it doesn't quite capture that and I've been like slowly working on this Virtual Coffee. Um, model for community building. And one of the things that I have there is that, um, well, I'll just read, it says the goal of Virtual Coffee, the Virtual Coffee model is to have a lasting impact on your community. It's create ripples that extend far beyond your community. And so like this idea of ripples to me is really important because it, it is, um, supporting people where they're at and allowing them to feel comfortable in the ways that they feel comfortable and then taking that forward in the ways that are meaningful to them. And so what's meaningful to me as not meaningful to every other person in the community. And. That, you know, sometimes that requires me to learn a lot about how other people function, but also to just embrace people. Like where are you at right now in your journey? And that's totally okay. And so I think that personal connection is so important and also why people say, um, well, you can't scale or you don't have enough members. Like never, I don't, I don't need a certain number of members to be meaningful because it's, it's one person, all I need is one person

Dan:

Yeah. Uh, I mean, I love all of that and I agree with it, you know, I mean, w w the, and I don't know, sort of changing the subject a little bit. Well, not changing the subject, but related segwaying, I guess. Um, anyway, the that's one of the struggles that I've found with learning about community building and, um, especially the tooling around community building is that it's almost entirely set up on the premise that you want to make money from your members. Um, w whether it's, whether it's, uh, you're a company trying to sell, you know, um, sell things to your members, or whether it's, you know, just trying to take, uh, getting, um, event fees or membership dues, stuff like that, making money from your members directly. And, um, you know, we're not there, right? Like that's not us at all. Um, and so this is what I was saying before our, all of our incentives are different. And the, if your goal was to make money in some way from your members, then the incentives are to ignore those, the people, the quiet people, or the people that aren't, you know, there's a, um, We started using a service called Orbit, um, which I like a lot actually. Um, but I'm going to pick on him a little bit, but, uh, one of their, one of their things, so orbit is, um, sort of a community. I don't know what to, how to exactly describe it, but it's a way to, um, to,

Bekah:

management

Dan:

yeah, it's not so much for managing, um, w what it is, is a way to keep an eye on what your members are doing across your different services. Right? So we have slack and we have GitHub and we have Twitter and we have whatever, and it's hard to know, you know, it's, it's hard to like, know what people are doing, um, when it's all spread out across different services. Right? And so what Orbit can do is you can just, um, have one thing and then add your services in, and you can, uh, and then it'll track events and, and say where they happened and who did them. And it will sort of identify, you know, or you can add them in. But, uh, so if we have a member, um, I can usually find on orbit there, their Twitter and their GitHub, you know, and their slack are all like in one person, you know? So you can see if, oh, this person commented on slack and then, oh, they liked something on Twitter, that sort of thing. But one of the things that I don't like is they have a metric called "reach" and that is all what you were talking about before. was the high, um, Twitter followers, you know, uh, that sort of thing. And that's like, that's a metric I'm not interested in at all, for Virtual Coffee, um, I would be interested in it if I was incentivized to, you know, like, like I was saying, like, if those are the like orbit is trying to say, those are the high value, um, members, but we knew, we just know that that's not, um, you know, that that's not true for us. Right. Uh, I mean, my, I don't know. I have, like, I have a followers on Twitter, you know, I'm not even saying that I value, but like, man, remember, but you know what I mean? Like it's just like, not, not a thing. We don't, we don't. It's great. If people want to talk about Virtual Coffee on Twitter or whatever, to their friends, uh, when do you want people to do that? If they want to, you know? Um, but not because we want to make more money, if that makes any sense, you know? Um, and so like, that's, that's been a struggle with that. All the, a lot of the, um, event management stuff is, you know, sort of based around ticket sales, um, things like that. Um, community management stuff is like a cheap, you know, free tier. And then after that, it's like, they're taking a percentage of your member dues, for instance, you know, we just know we're not gonna have member dues ever, you know, so I don't know. It's, it's been, it's been interesting.

Bekah:

Yeah. I mean this idea of, I mean, we're not, we're losing money on Virtual Coffee, right? Like we're paying things out of our pockets and we're taking time out of our day. But also like, what we want to do is, you know, support people where they're at, especially so many people that have come to Virtual Coffee have said things like, I never felt like I belong to a community until this one. Right. And I would, I'm going to just guess that our average age is about. 35 ish, metal, thirties. Yeah. Anyway, that's me. And also same. Like, I never really felt like I belonged to a community before this. And it's just so nice to be able to have such a diverse group of people. And we've gone back and forth about like what expansion for Virtual Coffee means. And like, should you be able to have Virtual Coffee React or Virtual Coffee? Um, that belongs to a particular group of people. And I think, you know, like it depends, but also what we love so much is the diversity of people, people being at different stages, people being here to support each other. And so, you know, when people ask me like, okay, well, if you had to choose a metric, what would you choose? And like, well, authentic connection. So go ahead and figure out how you describe that. But I like one of the things. People ask questions in slack and they get a response, right. There is almost never a time where nobody gets a response. Um,

Dan:

And one of the, this was, I had thought about this before, but one of the things that happens with that is that I love is, Um, lots of times there's the response is:"I'm not really sure. Let's jump on a zoom and talk", you know? Uh, and it's just, it's not a Virtual Coffee official thing, you know, it's just one member talking to another member and th they just throw a zoom link in and they're like, Hey, let's, let's go talk. yeah. And, um, that almost always works out too.

Bekah:

Yeah. And I want to say, like, you know, as I'm working through my own Virtual Coffee model of doing things like there, there are two major tenants here, right? And there's this idea, this is, this is my idea of like a person centered approach, I think is kind of what I've been talking about this entire time and why it's so important to recognize each person where they're at, but also like there there's this. Second part of like the tools and the structures that are there in place to support the people. And so you can see each person individually and you can recognize them, but if you don't have support in the tools, in the structures, you're not going to get very far. And Dan, I know like you've worked so hard on that. And the, the co-working room especially has just like taken off as one of the most important things I think we've ever done in Virtual Coffee. So, um, if you want to just give an overview of the coworking room or, you know,

Dan:

yeah. yeah. Excuse me. This was another, um, this was another instance of, um, our members were just doing this, like. On their own, um, just posting in whatever general or, you know, just posting in slack. Hey, um, I'm just working, just sitting here working if anybody wants to work with me and posting that zoom link, you know, from their own Zoom. Um, and they're just doing that often and it seems like people were, um, enjoying doing that, you know? And, um, we talked about, I don't remember who shoot, I'm sorry. I can't remember. Who's somebody shared an article about a way that somebody had done this before with Zoom and, um, who's Joshua, uh, sorry,

Bekah:

of

Dan:

I'm gonna, I'm going to have to look it up. I'm gonna have to look it up. Cause I wrote it down, um, a while ago. Um, but so so yeah, so we thought, um, well let's, maybe we can just make a coworking room. That's just like basically a conference room, um, that people can go in and work and leave and whatever, you know, no pressure. No, no. Um, you know, I don't know. Yeah, no expectations, you know, and, um, and it turns out you can. And so like one of them, one of, I mean like, so, so this is combined, um, a bunch of different, a few different services, uh, but, um, in zoom and we can, you can create a, uh, sort of ongoing recurring meeting. So it's actually really funny. It's, it's a recurring meeting and it recurs at any select, uh, "no particular time," right? So this is a meeting that has the same ID or whatever, you know, it's the same meeting, but it has a bunch of instances that just start when somebody joins and stops when they leave. Um, cause that's what we wanted. We wanted to be able to, to have members join. Um, we wanted to not have to have a host, you know, cause that's one of the struggles we have with, um, other, other events, right. Is, uh, having to have a licensed user, be a host to start them into two controls, but for the coworking room, um, you know that we did, we didn't. We wanted members to be able to start them. Right. And so obviously you can have, uh, zoom meetings have people joined before the host. Uh, and so what we ended up doing is creating a licensed user that is just a bot that is just like, not any person. Right. And, that user just has one meeting. It's just this meeting and that person is not a person, right. That user never joins, never logs in never does anything, but, um, they just own that meeting. And so when somebody has the link and they join, then a new instance starts and then people can join. And then when the last person leaves, that instance ends, um, and then to tie that into slack, you know, we want it to, um, like creating the room was, was cool. We did want to have some, it, you know, the, the next part was like letting people know when people. were in the room or not. Right. Cause there's no way to do that with zoom. There's no way to just like look. Um, and, and so we, I ended up, uh, zoom has, you know, web hooks are and, um, slack, you know, we created a slack app, um, awhile ago, Mike Rogers like was, was, was the one that pushing that like pushing the slack app. Um, you know, when we started, we have the slack app, uh, does like event notifications, stuff like that. And so we use that slack app to, um, between the zoom web hooks, the slack app, and, um, Netlify functions, uh, basically notifying our slack room. We, we created a coworking room and then, um, notifying that room when the room opens and closes, you know, when people join and leave that kind of thing. Um, and it was, it was kind of fun. I have a blog post that is a. Planned and not at all written about this, about this, you know, the technical details of this, because it was kind of fun, but, um, but yeah, so, uh, and people have been using it pretty regularly. Very

Bekah:

All the time. It's constant. They're constantly people in there.

Dan:

We, uh, we, I do wish that you could do, there's no way to do breakout rooms, um, which is a bummer. Uh, it would be nice to cause, cause sometimes, you know, people are, it's like, if you imagine you're in a room, you know, in a co-working real life room working with somebody and you're like, want to have like a chat about something like, okay, let's go step over here and talk to me. Don't bother everybody. Um, I wish we could do that. Uh, unfortunately there's no breakout room control right now in zoom, um, through the

Bekah:

feel like the, the, like the, um, easy way to do that is just mute. Like if people come into the room and they're chatty and you're working just

Dan:

you can just mute. Yeah, sure, sure. But then you won't know when the conversation stopped, whatever to you it's like. The breakout rooms would be cool. It's not like a deal breaker. Obviously people are using the coworking room a lot, um, and, and seem to enjoy it. So that's been kind of fun. I don't know if this is a thing that would grow our members. Like, you know, if we were focused on, on profits or whatever, um, I don't think this would have ever happened or it would be on the bottom of the list, you know? Um, but since our members were doing it already and then our kind of goal is to support them, it was, it was a pretty easy choice, um, to just kind of go and set it up, um, spent a couple days on it. Yeah,

Bekah:

Yeah, I mean, it's been nice. I wish I can spend more time in the coworking room. Like I just low key hover over and see like, oh, they're all in there having fun without me. So there's some FOMO there, but, um, I think it's been nice to be able to go in and I've been in both situations where I come in and somebody is working quietly and they say like, well, this is where I'm at in my Pomodoro session or, or whatever. You know, like, okay, cool. I can work. And then there are other times where I just start talking to people or they start talking to me and we just deep dive into things that I want to be able to talk about with community members, but just don't have that opportunity to all the time. And it's been really, really nice to have those conversations and to be able to think about like, okay, like, you know, how do we keep moving this forward? How do we keep pushing? How do we do things that people need, and that are not being done right now, or at least like, not in ways that I can see. So it's, it's been really, really nice to be able to have that. And I think like two in one way, or looking through these things, or we're talking about community and we're talking about code and we're talking about tools, um, There's this like very fine balance of automation of things, right? Like, um, I was in this community building conference recently and, or maybe it was made up, I don't know, whatever. And they were talking about, oh, well we automate all of these things, man or not, man. Wow. That feels really impersonal. You're asking people to give of themselves personally in their responses and you are collecting that data, very impersonally. And to me that just, just doesn't quite match up. And I think that's just in general, like a problem with tech, but something that we try and figure out like that balance of automating things to make it easier on a very small team of volunteers. But also recognizing that like the personal interaction is super important.

Dan:

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Um, you know, there's. I mean, yeah, we we've stepped into the automating stuff and, another one of the challenges, um, is since we're a developer community, you know, everybody, everybody gets very excited about, um, wanting to help and wanting to have, uh, and having ideas and things like that. And, um, and I love it, but it's like, it's, it's never, there's so many moving pieces, you know? Uh, and it's, uh, I don't know, it's not always simple. Um, or, you know, if you have one event or one problem, you're like, oh, here's an easy fix for this. Right. But it, it kind of all kind of cascades together. And the other side of that is that every single service that's out there I'm like, that makes it makes things easy. Like, like Zapier is Zapier as a cool service. Um, but it's so expensive. Um, if you want other people to help and that's how all of these, all of the, uh, all of the, like no code and stuff is set up for that. Right. So they're set up to like pull in, um, somebody who's just working solo. Right. But then they assume that if you're, if you have a team that you're like a startup that has like, started up and have money coming in, um, and that's not, obviously not the case, um, for us. And so that, that's another struggle too, is, is, uh, trying to find services that we can add. Like have people help, you know, I can't add any, like, we have a couple of things happening on Zapier and, um, I've been trying to get off of it because of this. Um, and I can literally, like, my choices are to pay a large amount of money that we can't like, I'm not going to do, um, to add people to a team, you know, or, um, share my password, which like, I don't really, we don't tell anybody, but we do this on a couple of services and it's not fun. It's like a pain, you know? Uh, so it's. That's. I mean, that's another part, like that's another struggle too. And so we, we we've actually been on the tool side. Um, I have been working on some in-house some in-house tools to, uh, solve some of these problems, you know, and, and build on top of that. Um, and that's, that's kinda fun too. I I'm going to be doing a preview, I think in a couple of weeks. Like we're not quite there yet, you know? Um, but to get off of some of the extra services that we're using, um, and use our own stuff, um, will help us, because it'll solve our own problems and, you know, scratch our own itches or whatever, but it'll also, um, be cool because we can open source parts of it and, get the community involved, um, things like that too. So that's, uh, that that's coming up, uh, some sometime in the next. Whatever, I'm not making any promises. So it's coming.

Bekah:

Well, and it's, it's a challenge like to be at this stage. I think of growing where, like, there are lots of ways to do things when you're really small. And like, I don't want to say we're middle because we're not, we're not really middle, but where we're at this point where there, we certainly feel those growing pains. And so it's like it's with tooling, but also we have a lot of people that are excited and want to help. And that's great. We love that. But also we know that that's a challenge too, because when you are onboarding new people to help, like you're onboarding them and you, there has to be processes set up, there has to be structures set up, right. Otherwise, it's not going to go bad. It's not going to go, well, it's going to go badly. Like you're, everybody's going to feel let down in that situation. And so those growing pains of like, okay, like there's tools that we wanna be able to use, but we can't use these as a team. And also like, hey, we want to be able to onboard new team members, but we have to be able to have these things set up for them. Otherwise we're not setting them up to succeed. We're not setting them up as partners, as teammates or in a way that allows them to understand like, okay, like what is the goal? And can we accomplish this thing? And so like when you're in that like middle spot that we're in now that it requires just so much work and effort to be able to support people and like yeah, long term, it's going to be better if we're able to do those things. But like right now in the midst of it, it is a challenge because like, like we said, in our random check-in question, there's just not enough time in the day to be able to do all of the things that we want to be doing with the knowledge and understanding we have of who our community members are and being able to support them in the ways that they want to support us. And so it's, um, it's a good problem to have for sure. But also it's something, again that like we're working really deliberately to do, to be able to empower all of these people in for them to, um, be able to succeed in, in what we're handing off to them or what they're, we're asking them to do to support us. And so that's, it's just like the, the middle ground of growing pains. I think of that's where we're at.

Dan:

Yeah.

Bekah:

think we're at

Dan:

Yeah, no, I agree. I agree with that. You know, it's.

Bekah:

we're 11 years old. That's the growing pain age. I got an 11 year old. That's how it feels. And a little smelly.

Dan:

Fair enough. Um, the, yeah, I mean, I, I agree though, it's, it's, we're in an interesting phase, um, you know, but it's exciting too, you know, we've just created some of these teams, um, to do some cool stuff. I'm, I'm very excited to see how that goes. Um, we, you know, we have a, an ideas team, you know, I think that we started, right.

Bekah:

we, we do have the

Dan:

yeah, we kicked it off. Cool. And a, um, but what are, what are the teams that we do with the monthly, the monthly challenge

Bekah:

monthly challenge team is rocking it right now. So shout out to all those people because you're amazing

Dan:

Um, but it took a long time to get to that point. You know, we we'd been wanting to do it. We started talking about teams in like, exactly like this, except well, yeah. months and months and months ago. And, um, we had a couple false starts and, um, I, you know, I mean the only thing to do from that is learned. Right. And, um, we have, you know, and I feel, I feel really good about, uh, you know, about like, about what's going on right now. Um, and, and the direction we're moving forward. I feel like it's a little bit of a new phase, you know? So, um, I don't know. I'm excited.

Bekah:

2.5. Oh, how that works?

Dan:

I don't, I, it, isn't a major version of, I feel like it's still just a minor version now,

Bekah:

We're in the middle. I feel like the Hacktoberfest for me, like kicked off Virtual Coffee 2.0, and we're

Dan:

Yeah. So

Bekah:

halfway to next version.

Dan:

that's, that's another thing I was going to say that I'm excited. Speaking of things I'm excited about is, I mean, it's, it's still. Farther away a little bit, but like it's getting closer and closer is Hacktoberfest and, and, and, you know, we don't have any specific new plans, um, for that yet, but we have had some ideas pop up and, um, I'm like, I am, I'm pumped up. The Hacktoberfest was a blast last year and for, for Virtual Coffee. Um, and for anybody who doesn't know, this is, um, oh shoot. Who does, um, who does

Bekah:

Digital Ocean and Dev I think

Dan:

and Dev is partnering with them. Okay.

Bekah:

last year.

Dan:

Well, either way, um, you know, they've done that for years and, um, we sort of thought it would be cool to get our members, you know, involved. Um, and it was cool. It was so much fun last year. And, uh, I think this year's gonna be even even better. So that's another thing I'm excited about that is on the near, near horizon for us.

Bekah:

Yeah, for sure. It is. It's October about like, we're already talking about it now, which is nice. Like last year when we were doing Virtual Coffee, Virtual Coffee started in April. So at this point I thought like we would be done by the time summer rolls around and then we were not done and we're still going today. And so like, it's nice to be able to think like, this is what we did last year and this is how we can preplan for all of these things. So it's, you know, last year we started planning Hacktoberfest and it was amazing. But now like knowing we're going to do Hacktoberfest again, it's just extra exciting because I know we have so much time to work through some plans and ideas and to do these things.

Dan:

it's gonna be awesome. Um, another thing that our community members have been doing on their own, that we've been enjoying watching, uh, is, is something that we, we eventually identified as interest groups. Right. Um, but this, this is our members. Um, there's been a few different ones where members have basically started talking about something that they're interested in and then, um, started doing more regular meetings with people, um, things like that because other people weren't interested too. Right. And so we have, um, Marie has been doing a tech interview study group. Um, and it's been awesome. Like there's been so many people that have been, um, I feel, I feel like I've gotten a lot of value in, you know, um, and they've made some friends, things like that, you know? Um, Karen's been running the book club and we were talking about before. Um, that's been amazing. Um, Ray has been just like killing it with, uh, he's created a, uh, React sort of help support group and, um, also an, uh, an indie hackers. Um, I don't know what you want to call it support group as well. Um, And that's been a really cool thing to watch. It's been cool thing to watch happen. It's it's been something that we've been trying to figure out how to support, um, while not getting in the way or anything like that. So right now, uh, these, these, our members are doing are doing these all on their own, you know, and it's very cool to see

Bekah:

Yeah, it's been really nice to also be able to go in there and listen to the things that they have to say and to learn from them. And, you know, in, in those groups too, I'm going to just like, Go back to the soap box on metrics of community building, because Ray has been here for awhile and he's watched things and Karen too, um, Marie's been pretty active since the beginning, but we have members that have been here for awhile and just took these initiatives and went with them. Right. And so if you look at traditional metrics of how communities are measured, I think that, um, some of these falls through the cracks and they are not weighted as high in points as other people. And this is like, this is the whole thing. Why these systems are not great or they're. Not open to people at different stages of where they are, because sometimes it takes like sitting back and listening. Sometimes it takes a moment in your life to open up to these opportunities, to be able to do these really great things that are impacting so many members of the community. And like, yeah, they are, would be weighted right now in this moment. But prior to doing these things, you know, we, we have quieter members and I that's like a totally valid and great place to be because the value should be placed on like what you're getting from the community, not what the community is getting from you. And I know like I've learned so much from each one of these members and I couldn't. You know, possibly I like try to say how much I've learned from them. And I try and talk about how amazing they are and the words just can not capture how I feel about them as people and what they're doing. Like they're just amazing.

Dan:

Yeah. I absolutely agree. I've started talking to, um, the members that are doing these kinds of things, you know, to learn just a bit, um, is, is how we can support them, how we can make it so that they can do this easier or whatever, or how we can make it, um,if another member has something similar that they want to do, you know, but don't have the tools, maybe we can come up with some sort of process, you know, um, to, to allow that to happen with less friction or, or just, you know, less, less worrying about the details, you know, and, and more just concentrating on the good stuff, right? The actual talking, the interactions, the learning stuff like that.

Bekah:

And I think that leans into the authenticity of the group, you know, like these things just come about naturally Virtual Coffee happened naturally. And like, if you look five years this is part of it, you know, just being able to support people and what they want to bring to the organization and like, yeah, that makes it challenging because you're. Constantly pivoting, but if you're not, then I don't know what kind of community that is. I mean, it's not really a community that, that I would be a part of because I like that idea of growing and learning from each other and being able to go with what the community brings and support them where they're at.

Dan:

yeah. no, that's an interesting point, you know? And I, I don't feel like we've been constantly pivoting, we've been doing course corrections. Um, I feel like that's a little closer to, to what we've been doing and that's part of, and that's part of, one of the challenges that we've you and I personally like specifically have struggled with, right. Is sometimes, you know, how far do we steer one way or the other, do we steer at all? Right. Like that sort of thing. And I, you know, I know I've had long nights where I've just been, I don't know, stressed about that, or, you know, like community members want people like want us to even be steering at all, you know, that sort of thing. And I mean, I say steering is, I'm just like leaning really hard into this metaphor because there's it cause it's easy to talk about. But, I personally feel like we've done a good job, you know, w with this overall, and that doesn't mean like, we have definitely made missteps too, you know, along the way. Um, and it's been. You know, th th this is why I'm so excited about the interest groups for instance, is, uh, that it's like a very clear, like, signal, like, Hey, steer this way, you know, um, you know what I mean? Uh, and the people have floated off. I mean, we get, I mean, like whatever our members are excited, we're excited all the time. You know, we, we floated ideas, people, other people float ideas, but, um, you know, like we always want to take into, and we do take into account, you know, the health of the community, how we can support them, um, things like that. And, um, Yeah, it's, it's been, I don't know. It's been, it's been wild. It's been, uh, it's, uh, it's been cool and I'm still, I'm still very, very excited about it and where we're heading, you know,

Bekah:

Yeah, for sure. It is very nice to see people comfortable in our community and being willing to grow and to support each other. And that's the biggest thing for me. So if you're going to ask me, what metric do you use to tell whether or not your community is healthy? It is the supportiveness of the community for every member that's here.

Dan:

Well, did you have anything else you wanted to cover? We've kind of gone for the traditional amount of time,

Bekah:

here's your last question of the day: Virtual Coffee in five years? What does it look like?

Dan:

Hmm. Yeah. I don't know. Five years. All right. So in five years, um, that will be 2026. I mean, what I have to do for any of these kinds of things is place myself, right? So like? I'll be even more old. Uh, Ben will be 10 and Samson will be seven, that's going to be,

Bekah:

different,

Dan:

be something.

Bekah:

or

Dan:

And, um, yeah, I don't know. Hopefully, I mean, hopefully it looks kind of the same, you know what I mean? But I mean, feels the same is I guess, more more what I think, you know, um, I imagine Virtual Coffee, having a, sorry, a larger presence as a platform, you know, um, you know, we've, we've talked about different satellites. We talked about a million different options for everything, you know? Um, but the essence of it is still, I feel, I feel like it's important for us to, um, hold onto, you know, the intimacy and everything like that. And so I just hope Virtual Coffee, it looks like a place that you can go and have real conversations with real people. And, uh, um, that's, that's it? Yeah. You know, I, I can't, I can't even picture it five years from now. Um, like on a, on a low, on a practical level, you know, I have, no, I have no idea. I mean, who knows even what kind of frameworks or whatever will be out there, you know, maybe it'll all just be AI stuff and it'll all just be, uh, us learning how to, um, you know, feed datasets to things or something. I don't know.

Bekah:

and like, I set you up to fail. I think the idea of, you know, the real relationships is the best answer. So you got that.

Dan:

Um, okay. So speaking of Hacktoberfest and, um, awesome members, I literally just got this Twitter notification that just popped up on my phone, um, from Lucia who's one of our like long-time, uh, OG members and she just like, this just happened. She said, "woke up this morning, looking forward to Hacktoberfest. Yes, it's May. Thanks to Virtual Coffee IO." And, uh, I don't know. That was, that was awesome. Um,

Bekah:

notes.

Dan:

I, um, yes. And that this is what I'm talking about though, is like, you know, she is, she's a person who like came, I feel like she was in bootcamp, um, and, and starting the job search and, uh, Hacktoberfest is like this great experience that we all did together. And, um, Lucia is just like woke up this morning, thinking about how Hacktoberfest It's awesome. Well, well, cool. I think that was, I don't know that I think that was really fun and really great. Um, this is the last episode of season two, right? Um, We did it Yep. We did it. When are we going to be back? We'll be back in

Bekah:

three weeks.

Dan:

three weeks. with three weeks, whatever. I can't do math. We'll be back soon. Um, we're gonna take a little break and went back and with the new lineup of, you know, um, members and episodes.

Bekah:

If there's anything you'd love us to talk about, or you're interested in hearing about Virtual Coffee, please feel free to hit us up on Twitter @VirtualCoffeeIO, or you can email us at podcast@virtualcoffee.io, because we are here for what you want to know.

Dan:

Okay, cool. Um, well have a good few weeks and we'll see you in June. Yeah. Is that what you said? We'll see you the end of June.

Bekah:

sometime in June, we'll see in June.

Dan:

That can't be right.

Bekah:

Thank you for listening to this episode of the Virtual Coffee Podcast. This episode was produced by Dan Ott and Bekah Hawrot Weigel and edited by Dan Ott. If you have questions or comments, you can hit us up on Twitter at VirtualCoffeeIO, or you can email us at podcast@virtualcoffee.io. You can find the show notes, plus you can sign up for our newsletter to find out what Virtual Coffee's been up to on our website at virtualcoffee.io.

Dan:

Please subscribe to our podcast and be sure to leave us a review. Thanks for listening. And we'll see you next week.


The Virtual Coffee Podcast is produced by Dan Ott and Bekah Hawrot Weigel and edited by Dan Ott.