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the importance of meetups in it and fintech

Meetups are becoming progressively present and important, especially in the tech world. They are different from big conferences and create a much more intimate atmosphere between speakers and the audience. 


the Importance on meetups in IT and Fintech

The IT and fintech industries are constantly developing because technology is rapidly developing and it is sometimes difficult to keep up. There are new professions emanating steadily. Just to give an example, you couldn't have heard of a UX/UI professional since 10 years ago. Therefore, there are no or not many professionals with decades of experience in certain areas that have recently emerged.

That is why it is always a good idea to go to meetups and get some advice and news on all things concerning. Meetups can be easily attended. You can check out some of them on meetup.com whether you're interested in tech, botany or fashion.

They are organized by individuals or by companies, in formal venues or cafés, with or without attendance fee or goodie bags, but what they share is connecting people, communicating knowledge, and creating a community.

Leading in Tech

We started 2020 by participating in one such meetup called Leading in Tech which deals with the topic of leadership roles in IT. For the 10th event, our Head of IT Operations David Llewelyn took the podium.

David mostly talked about his 30-year-long professional experience and all the events that led him to the role of a leader. Being in a leading position in Mercury PSI wasn't his first time as a leader, but on his long career path, he said he learned so many things that he can now use in such a dynamic and challenging industry.

No one in the audience resisted his funny stories but the truth is that beyond the humor, these stories had some very valuable lessons. David didn’t just talk about his successes but all of the mistakes he made along the way that strengthened him and taught him a lot. 

After the Q&A session with David, the organizer announced some discussions and roundtables. The audience divided into teams discussing change management. In the end, groups told everyone what they gathered out of their experience in change management and some conclusions on how to handle transformation.

When the roundtables ended, David commented on the conclusions made by saying: "many of the ideas and comments emanating from the groups’ discussions demonstrated a clear maturity of thinking and interest around organizational development.“

If you haven't attended meetups before or if you asked yourself whether you should go to a meetup, here's what David has to tell you: 

„Do it! In technology, many if not most of us are introverts and run away from the idea of such events. But this was different – the relaxed and friendly environment was completely open and welcoming. And this was very evident from the groups’ discussions. You can also turn up and sit in the back and listen, however, I guarantee that soon something will be said that strikes a chord or which you have an opinion on and the relaxed nature of the event will mean that you will find yourself joining in. And after all, with pizza and beer served at the end, what more could you want!“

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We asked one of the organizers of the Leading in Tech meetup, Srđan Stanić, about his views on the importance of meetups revolving around IT and his experience in organizing them:

Why did you start organizing Leading in Tech meetups, what was the motivation behind it?

My co-organizers Petar and Andrea and I participated in a panel discussion on the topic of technical leadership at a small one-time event. We received a lot of positive feedback and interest from the audience, which started the idea of making this a regular thing. There were plenty of meetups already on a broad range of technical topics. You could name any programming language, development platform, or even software topics like agile processes, project management, and product management, and there was a meetup for it.

But there was one topic shared across all technical teams, and more often than not, an area that needs improvement, and that was teamwork and team leadership. And it was completely ignored. 

So we decided to start the Leading in Tech meetup and make it a place where people from all areas of tech can come and discuss how to work better in teams and how to be better leaders.

What do you think is the importance of meetups, especially those revolving around IT and fintech?

It's easy to get wrapped up in a bubble of a known environment. We get used to doing things in a certain way. And we are reluctant to question and change our approaches, especially under the pressure of daily to-do lists and deadlines. 

Conferences are very effective at throwing us out of the saddle a bit and exposing us to new ideas and different ways of solving problems. They are also great for meeting new people and starting new relationships. But conferences are often expensive both in terms of money and in terms of time commitment, so we rarely attend them. And even when we do attend, we feel spread thin between numerous interesting talks and people we want to meet.

Meetups, on the other hand, have all the benefits and none of the drawbacks: they are either free or cost a small entree fee, they last for a couple of hours, they are happening after work, they are fairly frequent, and they are more intimate than larger events.

In summary, meetups are a very efficient way to expose yourself to some new ideas and build relationships within your industry.

What was your experience in almost two years of organizing Leading in Tech and what are the most important lessons learned in your opinion?

I am an introvert, as many people are in the tech industry, and it takes a lot of energy to organize and host an event, even if it's just a couple of hours long.

But the energy that we get back from our guests and the audience more than compensates for the effort.

It's an incredible feeling to see our audience shower the guests with questions, then hold discussions among themselves, and finally enjoy a slice of pizza while casually discussing their most pressing challenges at work. My co-organizers and I always go home pumped to organize another event as soon as possible.

We've learned over the last two years that with a little bit of effort and consistency, you can make a significant impact in the community.

What is the feedback of people attending the meetups?

One of the things that we hear a lot from the audience is how much they enjoy the opportunity to discuss matters among themselves. Usually, meetups are organized around a guest talk or two, followed by some food and drinks. But in the tech industry, people are not so keen to network and start conversations with strangers.

That's why very early on we introduced semi-formal group discussions to the mix. With guidelines and prepared topics, this format makes it very easy for the attendees to start a conversation and get to know each other. People love it, and we hope more meetups start incorporating some form of guided discussions.


3 Key Reasons To Join A Fintech Meetup

Meetups are a great way to not only network and meet new friends, but also to engage current and potential new customers, increase brand awareness, and generate sales leads. As for fintech meetups, the following are the key reasons to join one or even start one.

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Here are some fintech meetups to join all over Europe:

  • Paris Bitcoin Meetup – Paris, France
  • Finance Meets Fintech – Hamburg, Germany
  • Fintech Meetup Frankfurt - Frankfurt, Germany
  • Fintech Meetup @Budapest – Budapest, Hungary
  • Fintech Aviv - Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
  • Holland Fintech Meetup – Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • NewFinance Ljubljana- Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Fintech Zagreb Meetup – Zagreb, Croatia


Read more on Fintech meetups here:

https://mercury-processing.com/blog/fintech-meetups-importance/.