Stuttgart, moovel HQ, 12 people gathered around a presentation screen - the smell of Maultaschen fills the office along with the sound of clinking glass bottles. Discussions about the latest trends in app development, design and conceptualising ideas fill the evening. This is the atmosphere in which the app development community 'Mobile Maultaschen' meets. A typical second Tuesday of the month...
It all started some years ago with the app development meet up called CocoaHeads. In almost every major city in the world there is a meet up for Cocoa developers. But somehow our CocoaHeads in Stuttgart didn't work as we had imagined. By the end, most people didn’t know much more about programming. They attended only to promote their product or company and to hunt for new employees. The developers got frustrated and didn’t attend anymore. Over the course of a few months all remaining attendees dispersed and finally CocoaHeads Stuttgart was shut down.
After this pitfall a bunch of friends founded a new user group focusing on mobile development and design. Named 'Mobile Maultaschen' (a local dish and specialty of southern Germany)'. We tried to keep the group small and selective — everyone who was invited had to be some kind of developer or had to show a strong interest in programming.
For a few months there was not a lot of momentum. Sometimes, no more than three developers attended. But the word spread, more and more developers joined. In August 2015, moovel reached out to help build the foundations of what has become a remarkable community. Since we found a place at moovel we have a large kitchen to gather in to cook our Maultaschen, beer, sodas and a large screen for presentations. Awesome.
First of all, we meet because it’s fun. We see each other every month to enjoy Maultaschen and drinks. Furthermore, talking to other developers about problems can open your eyes. You’ve heard of “rubber duck debugging", right?
Being a freelancer myself I don’t talk to many other developers throughout the day. Most of the time I don’t work in teams. The internet helps — the sheer mass of tools to interact with other people online is amazing. But it just isn’t the same thing as discussing a new framework or a problem that's been bugging you for the last few days with a person. Maybe you gain a new perspective of a language or find a different solution to a well known problem.
Then again you're not forced to share anything if you don’t want to. Just have a good time, enjoy a Maultasche or two and listen to war stories others have experienced. After all, we are developers and work on similar issues throughout the day.
Knowing a bunch of local developers and designers has many advantages. Maybe your company can’t handle the current workload or you don’t have any in-house expertise on a specific platform. Or maybe you are a freelancer yourself. I don’t need to stress how important networking is for your (freelancing) career.
Still, the most important part is to have fun. Please don’t join to find more work or to promote your company. You know: we’ve been there. 😉
The first order of business is to prepare the Maultaschen and dine together. Our Maultaschen are bought from a local butcher shop just before the meet up. They are delicious. Thanks to moovel, there is a big kitchen and enough drinks for everyone. After things have settled, one or two talks are given. Most of the time we have a small presentation for the warm up and then usually a big one going into more detail. The two talks don’t have to be connected. Every topic is welcome. After that it's just talking shop and exchanging ideas.
If you are interested in mobile apps or programming in general please join us. We meet on the second Tuesday of every month to share our thoughts. For more details visit our website and join our Slack community.
Hope to see you soon!