starting a virtual rust meet-up

by Hayden Stainsby on Tuesday, 31 October 2023

Today we had the first Rust for Lunch meet-up.

I was really happy with the result.

As a bit of a post-mortem, I thought I'd write up the process.

We'll start with the obvious question.

Why create some new Rust meet-up?

why a new meet-up?

I like meet-ups.

Or rather, I like the idea of meet-ups.

Get together with a group of like-minded people.

Hear interesting ideas on your common topic of interest.

Ask questions directly.

Socialise, meet new people, enjoy yourself.

But I've always found it hard to fit them into my schedule.

Bad enough when I lived in Berlin and could often walk there.

(pre-pandemic when we met in person without thinking about it)

Now I live in a small city.

I don't know many people here outside family.

And family makes attending a meet-up more complicated.

Especially in evenings and when they last 2.5 hours.

(and that goes for virtual meet-ups too)

What I wanted was a meet-up that fits in a lunch break.

Unfortunately, such a thing didn't exist.

So I had to create it.

does anyone else want this?

I had a little experience with the format.

At work we have a "Rustacean Meet" every 4 weeks.

It's a work thing, but otherwise very similar to what I wanted.

A one hour slot.

One talk with questions afterwards.

(or two short talks)

We typically have 15-20 people join.

Which is probably half the people who work with Rust in the company.

So that's a good sign.

I also asked some people on Discord.

And got some interest not just in attending, but also in speaking at such a meet-up.

That was enough to take the first step in any serious project.

Buy a domain name.

finding the first speaker

This was the easiest bit.

Conrad had shown interest more than once.

He also seemed to just have a topic ready.

So that was easy.

I hope finding the second speaker will be just as easy.

(if that might be you, get in touch)


I went looking for advice on what software to use.

Amongst the people I asked, Google Meet seemed very popular.

I started digging in a bit more.

Then I got a reply on Mastodon that made me think.

@hds I would love to attend, but please don't use a proprietary platform :blobcatcry: What about Jitsi?

Yes, the fact that I'm active on Mastodon and not Twitter comes into play here.

(sorry, not Twitter, X)

Which also made me think whether I want to record these sessions.

At work we record them.

But we're at work anyway.

A poll indicated that some people would be less likely to join if the meet-up was recorded.

And in the meantime, I'd been given another suggestion for software. I think would also be a great fit.

Specifically Senfcall.

It's very privacy based and doesn't offer recording options.

So that was it, I chose privacy over posterity.


This is an area I was unsure of.

On the one hand, I wanted to get a decent sized audience.

On the other hand, I was wary of having the software overloaded on the first try.

As I'd never used Senfcall for anything, I didn't know how it would handle load.

(although they claim to have run calls with 200 people)

In the end I publicised through 4 channels.

  • A fairly popular semi-public Discord server I'm on

  • Via my Mastodon account

  • This Week In Rust's Upcoming Events section

  • In our Rust group at work

As far as I know, no one else publicised the event.

For next time I'd probably try to promote on Reddit r/rust and perhaps on Twitter.

(sorry, sorry, I mean X)

Anywhere else I should consider?

wrap up

How did it go?

As I said at the beginning, I was really happy with the result.

Conrad's talk was entertaining and very well received.

We had 25 people join.

(including me, so perhaps count 24 of them)

And I got some good feedback after the meet-up from people who said they enjoyed it.

There was one person I know of who had technical trouble and couldn't join.

Which is a real shame.

I may need to try some different software before the next one.

(speaking of a next one...)

I'm already planning the next meet-up.

It will be in 4 weeks on 28 November, 2023!

It's a very exciting time!


Got feedback on this post?

I'd love to hear from you!

Get in touch on Mastodon or by email.