Yesterday afternoon I happened to be meeting a chap, Jo, who helped to set up Mobile Monday, a community of people involved in the world of mobile technology (whatever the heck that means these days).
Jo was recounting the work and effort involved in getting the group off the ground, and how much work there continued to be in managing such a community (who now have thousands of members across the globe). This was not a conversation I needed immediately ahead of the first gathering of the Freerangers. Jo had had speakers and a proper venue and a big invite list and sponsors and all sorts. I had a handful of tables booked in a pub and some badges.
Thankfully, even though I was 50 minutes early to the pub (the quite lovely Blue Lion on the Gray’s Inn Road – a big thanks to Cheryl for providing us with the space for the evening), I wasn’t first to arrive. Someone else had turned up. The relief, well – I can’t quite tell you. I had had visions of spending half a night in the pub, morosely telling people every so often “Nah, my friends are turning up soon” as others tried to take chairs and tables.
In the end, though, Freerange Gathering 1 more than met my hopes. Twenty-five people came along, about another half-dozen had to miss it at short notice. We had people from HR, Operations, Digital, Marketing, Finance, and IT backgrounds, visitors from as far afield as Antigua (which makes this a global thing already, I think you’ll find) and continuous, happy, useful, funny, interesting conversation all night.
Diverse backgrounds, diverse professions, but all with the common factor that we work in the sometimes haphazard, sometimes scary, but ultimately rewarding and exciting free-range way.
There’s going to be another gathering in London in May – if you are interested in being there or being a part of the group, you can join the LinkedIn group at https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8424705
But if you’re further afield, why not organize a Free Range gathering of your own?
Here are the eight easy steps:
- Tell everyone you know who works freerange that you’re having a gathering
- Fix a date about 3-4 months in the future
- Find a pub that has some space you can use for free
- Nag people about it about once a week for the six weeks leading up to the date
- Get some badges made. I cannot possibly overstate the importance of the badges. Here’s some “artwork” if you aren’t feeling creative.
- Turn up, and wait nervously for some other people to turn up
- Give anyone who turns up a badge (don’t give badges to everyone in the pub – that’s a bit needy)
- Have a drink, have a chat, enjoy!