A comment left by Branden Johnson yesterday reminded me to do what I should have done ages ago, write a post on what it takes to host a Lunch 2.0.
Maybe I skipped this in the past because it’s really easy to do, by design, but it seems like a good idea. Plus, I can point prospective hosts to this primer in the future.
The short version is: provide some space and some free grub for lunch and people will come. What happens beyond that is purely optional. There aren’t many requirements, as you’ll see.
So, here goes the longer version. I like a good mnemonic device, so let’s think in terms of Ps.
This step is easy. Find me here, on Twitter, Facebook or IRL and tell me you’re interested. I like to keep Lunch 2.0 as a monthly event; this spaces them out pretty evenly, and so far, it’s been very scalable for me and the hosts. This isn’t a requirement, though, and I’ll work around a host’s schedule.
I also like to do Lunch 2.0 on Wednesday to break up the work week, but again, this isn’t a requirement. I also like to do Lunch 2.0 at lunch time, surprise. Usually 12-2 works, but that’s not set in stone.
Months are typically first-come, first-served, and I may have an interested host that hasn’t been officially announced. There’s no science here; I usually chat with prospective hosts about dates and work out a mutually beneficial one with ease.
Once a host picks a date, I announce the event here and create an Upcoming event for RSVPs. I usually remember to add them to Calagator too, and typically, if I forget, someone else remembers.
I like to take a look at the space in advance to get an idea of how many people it can fit. If it’s a smallish space, I can set expectations early, which will help people with the RSVP process, and if need be, I can close the Upcoming guest list to keep it under control.
Catering is entirely up to the host; the only ask is that the host provide a vegetarian/vegan option. Also, beer is fine. Some hosts have provided swag; others have raffled off swag. These are extras, entirely up to the host.
The last piece of preparation is what (if any) self-promotion the host wants to do. We’ve kept it very light so far, which I personally prefer; Lunch 2.0 in the Valley can get a bit over-produced. However, since the goal of Lunch 2.0 is to introduce or promote the host to the Portland community at large, some self-marketing is expected.
Again, it’s up to the host, e.g. Bjorn didn’t do anything official at the Lunch 2.0 hosted at the Eclipse Foundation other than walk around and chat with people.
As an aside, people often ask me how they can follow the Portland Lunch 2.0 announcements. There are several ways:
- Read here regularly (you should anyway). If you follow the tag “lunch2.0“, you’ll get all the Lunch 2.0 content.
- Use Upcoming and add me as a friend. You’ll see the Lunches 2.0 as they’re added.
- Check Calagator, which you should also do anyway, to keep up with Portland tech events.
- Follow lunch20 on Twitter. This account is maintained by the originators of Lunch 2.0, and they usually announce lunches in other cities.
- Follow Rick and any of the other heavy-duty Portland tweeters.
- Find me IRL and ask me. This isn’t as dependable, but it works pretty well.
I don’t do any promotion aside from blogging here (an announcement, a reminder and a recap) and tweeting. The host does the heavy lifting, so any additional promotion is optional.
We tend to attract pretty large crowds, so unlike other tech events, you can usually bank on drawing the number listed as attending on Upcoming plus 10% or so. This is due to the lunch time effect, e.g. when people leave for lunch, they often bring along coworkers who haven’t RSVP’ed. Even when the weather is bad (like it was for the Eclipse Lunch 2.0), we still can draw 70 people easily. Rick’s Lunch 2.0 at CubeSpace still holds the attendance record with more than 200 attendees.
That sounds like a lot of people, and 200 really is. However, 70-100 is very manageable, since people tend to mill in and out over the course of two hours.
The last bit is to have some fun. Portland Lunch 2.0 is a networking event, and we like it that way. Because it’s during the day and not as tech-focused as other Portland events, you’ll see new faces. But never fear, you’ll also see the familiar faces you also see at the myriad of evening and weekend events.
That covers it. Drop a comment if you’re interested in hosting or have questions, or maybe you can chat me up IRL.