This site is an archive; learn more about 8 years of OpenHatch.

[Events] OpenHatch Boulder?

Tim Kellogg timothy.kellogg at
Sat Apr 28 23:36:48 UTC 2012


I think that lots of people want to contribute to open source projects, but
few actually do. I ran a survey ( and found out that the main
reasons for not contributing to open source are (1) time, (2) the project
is too large and/or complex and (3) my code won't be good enough. I think
we can address all three of those concerns.

I'm proposing starting a meetup group in Boulder that's oriented around
breaking down these barriers. The bulk of the time for each meeting will be
pair programming on designated projects. Ideally, most people will be
working on the same project, maybe even the same bugs/features. The goal
for each meeting is to have each person leave with a sense of direction and
confidence to dive deeper into that particular project. The goal is not to
compete to finish bugs first, nor to write programs that make unicorns
dance across the screen. We're just focused on building confidence and
providing guidance.


The target audience is junior to mid-level developers, older college
students, and people who want to learn a new language. There's something
different for each of these people. Junior to mid-level developers can pair
with older guides to learn new skills and get tips at how to get better at
their jobs. College students can network and get a feeling for what work
might be like after college. Everyone will get a chance to learn new
technologies and techniques through hands-on pair programming and problem

In order to reach the target audience we'll need a rich pool of
senior-level developers and architects to be guides. Guides will pair with
the one or two other people to show them the ropes. By coming to these
meetings, guides will gain experience in teaching and guiding younger
developers. They'll also get a chance to network with other senior
engineers and architects to learn about new technologies and techniques -
all while giving back to open source projects.

I think there will be quite a bit of organizational work to do for each
meeting. The organizer(s) will have to select projects that will be easy to
contribute to, contact mentors to make sure there's enough experience in
the room to accommodate the target audience, and find a facility to use
that has enough chairs and tables.

I think there is also value in getting corporate sponsorship. Companies can
provide facilities, pizza/beer, and encourage attendance. By being
involved, companies also get their name out, enhance their employees'
skills, and engage in useful networking. I also think that many modern open
source projects exist because of companies - just as much as companies
exist because of open source software takes care of most of the hard
problems (my opinion). I would like to try banning recruiters from
attending because I don't think they have much value to add to the group.

This is still a work in progress, we'll probably experiment some before
settling in. For now, lets say we'll hold the meeting once a month, on a
weekday night. It will last 2 hours. Of course, I'm wide open to
suggestions. Here's the schedule (times are offsets from the beginning of
the night):

0m-15m: people arrive, find a seat, make sure they have a computer and tools
15m-30m: short introduction to the project of the week, directions for
setting up with source control, ensure guides are distributed evenly and
that groups know what to work on
30m-90m: pairing. Mostly working toward understanding the code base and task
90m-100m: break to get people to mingle and see how they're doing in
relation to everyone else, share pointers and eat more
100m-120m: wrap up what you're doing. Goal is to make sure people are
comfortable going home and finishing the task on their own.

I live in Boulder, Colorado so I want the group to happen downtown
somewhere. Since the goals of this meetup line up so neatly with the goals
of OpenHatch, I would like to have OpenHatch sponsor the meeting in name.
Mostly, I want to have my group be part of a bigger network, so it's easier
to spread. Also, I just like succinct and catchy names like "OpenHatch:
Boulder". I'm writing to you for two reasons: (1) I want permission to use
your name and (2) I want your support. For support I mean that I want
people to help with organizational activities like finding projects,
networking with companies, launching new meetups for new languages or

I should also mention that I want to focus on C# initially. The reason for
focusing on one language in particular is just that it would be too
overwhelming to organize if it wasn't. The reason for C# is because it has
the worst ratio of open source consumption to contribution, so it's low
hanging fruit. I don't want to exclude other languages, but I also don't
want to plan for them either, initially. From talking to people, I know
there is already interest in expanding into JavaScript, Ruby and possibly

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Events mailing list