Scott Heiferman

Co-founder and CEO, Meetup

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON May 13, 2016

Discussion

Scott Heiferman@heif · Founder/CEO, Meetup
Hi, I'm Scott Heiferman, Founder/CEO of Meetup. We're working on a world full of real community -- that's the dream. Happy to chat about the future of community, a future where people are more powerful, and making products and companies that have major positive impact. Ask away!
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
What was the best meetup you ever attended ?
Scott Heiferman@heif · Founder/CEO, Meetup
@tomstocklein One of my favorites was a Future Meetup -- the month's topic was religion, and everyone in the room had to make a prediction about religion in the future. I love meetups where everyone talks and everyone listens. (aka community)
Mohamed Abbassi@pixmonkey · Founder @Peps / Peps.io
Hi Scott, thanks for joining PH live chat, what prompted you to create Meetup and how is Meetup solving a big issue ?
Scott Heiferman@heif · Founder/CEO, Meetup
@pixmonkey We're solving the problem of finding the people in your city that you'd like to find -- so you can do what you love. We make the best thing in the world. And it heals things.
Theoharis Dimarhos@theo_dimarhos · Marketing+Biz Dev at AngelouEconomics
Hi Scott! What are 5 things you found that the most successful Meetups have that others don't?
Scott Heiferman@heif · Founder/CEO, Meetup
@theo_dimarhos 1. leadership teams. a community that distributes power and responsibility is stronger than one that doesn't. 2. regular meetups, eg. a regular monthly meetup such as "1st tuesday of the month at 7pm" 3. treating members as a true members, not just as audience members; welcome them, give them responsibility (see #1) 4. enough small meetups for people to have an experience of being heard 5. members paying
Ravi Yadav@raaveyadav · Developer Evangelist
Would Meetup provide tools for organizers at some point to record every meetup? I see a lot of folks asking for recorded sessions.
Scott Heiferman@heif · Founder/CEO, Meetup
@raaveyadav good idea. we've thought about this. hasn't been a priority. (note: >80% of meetups aren't tech meetups -- many categories aren't good for recording, eg. hiking meetups)
Charles Kunene@charles_kunene · Co-founder & Product Designer @Obaa
Hi Scott, how do you ensure that the meetups users attend are always high quality and keep them coming back and engaged? Additionally, how are meetup organizers evaluated and which metrics are you looking for since they (organizers) are de-facto ambassadors of your company?
Scott Heiferman@heif · Founder/CEO, Meetup
@charles_kunene interesting questions. we can't guarantee quality but you can see which meetup group get the most activity. we want to make that more transparent in the future. we want to make it easy for people to find the meetups that might the most positive impact on their lives. that's the ultimate measure, and we hope to reward and celebrate organizers that are creating communities that have impact on members' lives. lots of product & invention to do on that
What is your advice to young entrepreneurs?
Scott Heiferman@heif · Founder/CEO, Meetup
@rgllm serve people
Farhan@frrank_1 · CEO at Avveu
As an organization gets larger there can be a tendency for the “institution” to dampen the “inspiration.” How do you keep this from happening?
Scott Heiferman@heif · Founder/CEO, Meetup
@frrank_1 everyone always needs to answer, for themselves, "why is what we're doing important to me?"
Is there anything in Meetup you initially thought would be in a way but turned out to be another?
Scott Heiferman@heif · Founder/CEO, Meetup
@rgllm most of what we originally thought people would meetup about -- didn't happen. most of what people do meetup about -- we didn't imagine.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
@heif @rgllm What were your original expectations vs the reality?
Ben Center@benhcenter · Investor Relations Associate, Onevest
What are some of the biggest challenges of community building that people don't often talk about? aka, what are some unexpected difficulties? Thank you!
Scott Heiferman@heif · Founder/CEO, Meetup
@benhcenter Many of the best communities are incredibly warm and welcoming and valuable to people who fit but are strict about fit / codes / behavior.
Jacob Anstey@jacob_anstey2
What's it like creating something with value? Has to be awesome.
Scott Heiferman@heif · Founder/CEO, Meetup
@jacob_anstey2 YES, like a nurse or a teacher or a good chef, it feels good to go to work and do something that helps people. This describes many many people's work. Yet a great number of people, it doesn't. At Meetup, we're grateful and proud that we get to make the best thing in the world: new connections, new community.
rdukemini@rdukemini · Programmer
My Meetup origin story. I was an early comer to meetup(May 2007). I remember my brother kept canceling on me to go dirt biking and he was the only one to go with. So, I got pissed and started looking online for groups and there were none in Colorado and then I found meetup.com and said screw it and made my own group. Never had a problem since then finding someone to come ride with me. Now, the group is 800+ strong. So awesome!! Love you guys!!
Scott Heiferman@heif · Founder/CEO, Meetup
@rdukemini CAN I RIDE WITH YOU NEXT TIME IN COLORADO????? love that story. lmk when you hit 1000 members and we'll send you a box o schwag
rdukemini@rdukemini · Programmer
@heif Heck yeah you can. I even got extra bikes for you to ride depending on your level. I'll def hit you up when we hit 1k. Woot! :D
Scott Heiferman@heif · Founder/CEO, Meetup
@rdukemini my level is zero, and scared sh*tless of dirtbikes, so can i ride in a padded room or something?
rdukemini@rdukemini · Programmer
@heif haha no worries, I have tiny little bikes and lots of protective gear to start you out on. I teach classes too so you would be in good hands. Just gotta watch out for that whiskey throttle haha. Search youtube for "whiskey throttle" and get ready to laugh your butt off.
Charles Kunene@charles_kunene · Co-founder & Product Designer @Obaa
How have you changed your approach to management over the years since you first became CEO? Also, what management insights have you learned that affected you the most?
Scott Heiferman@heif · Founder/CEO, Meetup
@charles_kunene What I've learned in 20 years of management: Get everything important owned by someone. And have everyone own something important.
Seenit Hunter@seen_hunter
Good one.
Where do you see Meetup in 2yrs? 5yrs?
Scott Heiferman@heif · Founder/CEO, Meetup
@gwulfs Still focused. More meetups in more cities. Unlocking network effects
Kris Shkodrani@kris_shkodrani
Hi Scott, thank you for taking questions. How do you think can Meetup grow in the coming years?
Scott Heiferman@heif · Founder/CEO, Meetup
@kris_shkodrani Make it easier and easier (that's the secret to any product-centric company), unlocking more network effects. For example, when a city has many more meetup groups, then the meetups can be closer to everyone. Thus, more people participate. That's part of our flywheel
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
How will Meetup compete against Facebook's Groups and Events in the long term?
Scott Heiferman@heif · Founder/CEO, Meetup
@tomstocklein We'll continue to be better for actually meeting people IRL. We'll stay focused and will invent like hell. As the CEO, I'm not spending my time thinking about space lasers and VR. We believe IRL has a future.
Drew Meyers@drewmeyers · Co-Founder, Horizon
@heif @tomstocklein "We believe IRL has a future." +10. I believe we're headed to a dangerously lonely world as screen addiction continues to spread across the world.
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
What are the biggest lessons that your prior startups i-traffic and Fotolog have taught you? How did you apply these lessons to Meetup?
Scott Heiferman@heif · Founder/CEO, Meetup
@tomstocklein Timing matters. I was in online ads way early, and invented instagram a decade early. With Meetup, I believe that the heyday of local community is a few years away -- the confluence of culture, technology, network density isn't ripe yet -- so I'm sticking around for it -- and making it. The 2020s will be amazing for Meetup
Scott Heiferman@heif · Founder/CEO, Meetup
@tomstocklein (in other words, Meetup will help make the 2020s amazing)
neeharika sinha@neeeharika · Google, Threadchannel
Hi Scott! great to meet you here. I wanted to know has there been any Meetup use case which has pleasantly surprised you? What is the next 5 years of Meetup looking like ?
Scott Heiferman@heif · Founder/CEO, Meetup
@neeeharika That's the best part of my job -- being pleasantly surprised by seeing what happens when people meetup. just browse around the meetups in any city and you see all the crazy ways that people can come together and be powerful together. last week i met the organizers of writing meetups who say that the power of a writing meetup/circle is huge. 5 years = more of that
Theoharis Dimarhos@theo_dimarhos · Marketing+Biz Dev at AngelouEconomics
Thanks for taking our questions. What does the next phase of networking events look like?
Scott Heiferman@heif · Founder/CEO, Meetup
@theo_dimarhos It's great when you're introduced to people
Theoharis Dimarhos@theo_dimarhos · Marketing+Biz Dev at AngelouEconomics
Through your work, what are 3 things/themes that you've discovered about people?
Scott Heiferman@heif · Founder/CEO, Meetup
@theo_dimarhos Mostly that people like things in 3s.