A short guide to starting your local mapping posse

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First of all, congratulations! Probably, you have just learned the basics of mapping and found them useful, it is a big step, and now, you would like some company to discuss your maps with :-). This is a short guide that will help you to achieve this result.

Step 1. Purpose.
I have learned this lesson in a hard way. People that are naturally attracted to mapping have a military background, are heavy computer game players, or are extraordinarily curious and have a bit of free time. All the rest needs a purpose, which means they need to see mapping as a tool that will help them solve whatever problem they are facing. That means you have to ask yourself, what is the purpose of your meetup?

  • :red_circle: Learn mapping - this is not going to work in the long run (you will probably gather significant audience during the first meeting, but over time, it will shrink).
  • :yellow_heart: Solve a problem - this should attract people that face the problem, but unless you are going for a big social cause, only a handful of people usually faces the same problem that you do. Plus, you have to do the heavy lifting (learn how to map, guide the discussion). It’s not a bad approach if you want to introduce your mapping in your company (in fact, it is an excellent one) or learn and practice mapping, but will not establish a broader community.
  • :green_heart: Map your industry and show how it is going to change, what problems do you anticipate and how should you (or the group) orient. This usually sparks interests among a large number of people, because it is meaningful to them. Everyone wants to have a bright future :-).

Step 2. Check your local environment
There is a chance somebody already uses maps in your proximity. Check Map Camp Slack and ask there. You may ask also @chris.daniel (who runs twitter wardleymaps) to amplify your message, others will also do that (@bemosior @john.grant @simonduckwardley, I think about you here, if you would like to sign up to this contract, just modify this chapter).

If nothing is happening, try to use any of existing meetup groups you are currently part of (if you are going to map environment which is in line with their themes).

Step 3. Venue & Time
If you are using an existing meetup, contact its leaders and agree on a date.

If you are running a new, separate event, announce it early so you can cancel it if the interest is not there. Companies usually allow for hosting small events on their premises. If you have plenty of potential attendees, consider any local startup or coworking space.

Step 4: Content
Start preparing your presentation. It does not have to be perfect. Maps will act only as discussion enabler, not the main point. You may want to ask your potential attendees to watch one of Simon’s presentations (the shortest one is 14 minutes).

If you need help with mapping, you can get help on this forum or in the Slack channel.

Alternatively, you can check if there is someone in your area who could deliver the initial presentation. Note that it should fit the purpose you have defined in the beginning.

Step 5: Sense
Deliver the presentation and check what should be done next (what is the interest of the audience). Rinse & repeat from step 1.


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