5 years of Meeting C++!

by Jens Weller

Just a little bit more then 5 years ago, Meeting C++ went public. Since then, it has been a wild ride and huge success. Today, Meeting C++ reaches over 50k in social media, the conference it self has grown from 150 to 600 in its 5 editions.

From the start on, I wanted Meeting C++ to be more then a conference. A Network for C++. I saw (and see) the conference as an engine, as the beating heart of the C++ community. A way to bring people to a new niveau and then send them back to their own local communities. The core mission of Meeting C++ consists today out of these 4 core sections:

  • a C++ News Network to spread C++ content
  • the conference
  • C++ User Groups - building a local network for C++ in the real world
  • the Meeting C++ Blog & YouTube Channel

The News Network is what I see the social media but also the blog roll in. Through this Meeting C++ can easily support new User Groups, C++ Blogs or other C++ related topics. The User Groups is what got me started, without my own C++ UG, I couldn't have backed the first conference, and they are still the backbone of the conference staff. I used to blog about C++ before I started Meeting C++, and naturally then decided to blog about C++ on Meeting C++. The focus has been mostly on ISO C++ papers, and my own work with C++. Its become a routine for me to use it as a sort of code review, to revisit code I just have written.

Over the last years I have had a couple of experiments with my YouTube Channel. Mostly it hosts the talks from the conference, but also a tutorial on how to write Apps for BlackBerry 10, and some videos on my C++ code for the "Meeting C++ CMS". Jon Kalb with CppChat and CppCast have inspired me to host a C++ livestream my self. Meeting C++ live is mostly a cross over of CppCast and CppChat, using the visual medium of Video. More recently I also started Just C++, a format more focused on short C++ episodes, for when I'm on the road or just have an hour time to record a quick episode on something C++.

The Me in Meeting C++

During the conference there has always been the staff that helps with running the conference, but from the start the work during and after the conference is mostly organized by me. My company takes the financial risk (but also benefit) of running the conference, this is what allows me to do my other, C++ community related work. I often prefer to scale by automation or good planning. Thats why the conference is in a hotel, creates a little less work to organize things. In the first two years I still worked as a freelancer, but in 2014 I decided to take the risk and focus on my work for the conference and C++ Community. As lots of companies don't understand that my availability is only 50%, as the other 50% are needed for the conference in a certain time span. Clients often demand 100% of your time, especially if you used to work for certain agencies, which get you into the good paying industry projects.

There is often the misconception, that behind the Meeting C++ platform is a team, which is a logical assumption. This is especially true for when I hide the Me in Meeting C++, which makes sense in certain contexts, creating wrong expectations on a team that does not exist. Same is true for when I take credit to much, and the Me in Meeting C++ is too visible, then it looks like I'm too selfish and take credit for work of others.

Looking back

This started as an experiment, and also in just living a dream, creating a conference the way I would like to have it. Well, almost, reality is hard to bent. Originally, I never thought its a good goal to have 500+ people on the conference, 300 seemed fine. The almost exponential growth of conference and the social media was a certain surprise. Managing 600 people at the conference is a challenge. When I look back, then I see that the first years were often a rough ride, where Meeting C++ found its ways, which makes it unique today. Like that the talk selection is based on a voting of past attendees and speakers.

Also, when looking back, I can see the start of the C++ revival. The amount of C++ User Groups, but also blogs has grown steadily through out the years. I do see Meeting C++ as an accelerant for this, providing visiblity to content creators, spreading information and news about the new Standards. Meanwhile on Twitter there is a small, but very vibrant C++ scene. Yet Twitter is a terrible medium for discussions...

The future

Can't write too much about unlaid eggs, as I don't know when I have the time to get some of my ideas into a usable form to launch as a feature of Meeting C++. Some of these plans evolve around automating or improving some of my daily/weekly tasks. The Meetingcpp GmbH is the new base for many plans to come. I'd like to enhance Meeting C++ into a market place for C++, so that my own dependence on the conference weakens.

Some of this will evolve around C++ Trainings, Meeting C++ recruiting and a few other ideas.

Upcoming in the next weeks is the new website, as *finally* the "Meeting C++" CMS is in a working state to begin transition. A first test website was launched last week, Meeting Embedded is the idea of Meeting C++ being replicated for the IoT. With this, my own work also becomes twice as effective, as a C++ programmer I do care about scaling and effectiveness a lot ;)

Something new is also to come soon, an Idea I've discussed at the Italian C++ Conference and my user group, more details on this next week!

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