नमस्ते! Welcome to the 4th article in the Go: Around The World series, where I look at the many gophers, places and projects that make up this wondrous world. Today we’re going to be visiting Nepal!
Our special guest today is: Milap Neupane, former Lead Organiser of Golang Kathmandu! Milap recently emigrated to London and was kind enough to come along for a chat.
Why Start A Community?
Milap encountered Go around 5 years ago. In Kathmandu, the dominant languages were Java and Python, and in Milap’s earliest role he used Ruby.
This meant the only way he could really interact with Go was through personal projects, online communities or the tried-and-tested method of sneaking it into a fresh service at work.
There was one local Go community which was trying to get its legs moving, but it wasn’t very regular or community-based, so Milap felt he had to step up and give it a shot creating his own.
I’m sure there are many people who have thought about hosting an event, even if it’s something as common as a birthday party, but the idea of putting yourself out there and exposing yourself to the responsibilities of organizing can seem quite daunting.
Milap was actually quite nervous at the beginning, echoing these same doubts and thoughts. What if nobody shows up? Will this be a waste of time? Still, there were several techniques he used to counteract these doubts and ensure that, in his own eyes, the first event could be a success.
You’re Not Alone
Reaching Out To Those Who Have Done It Before - Although there wasn’t an official Go Kathmandu meetup, there were other options that Milap attended such as local meetups about DevOps and live-streamed international meetups and conferences, which all provided a base of inspiration.
Milap reached out to these meetups directly to ask for advice about starting his own. His ‘mantra’ was to not worry about what they say or think. As typically, the worst thing that could happen would be that he simply didn’t hear from them. Which isn’t all that bad, really.
There was no need for worry anyway, as a lot of the organizers offered to help and gave up some of their time replying to his questions and helping him to understand the nuances of putting together a meetup.
Using Your Networks To Ensure People Will Be There - I know I’ve phrased this corporate-ly. But, what I mean is, before you’d book a party venue, you’d check to see how many of your close friends are up for a party and if they can make a certain date. Right? Then you book the party venue and start reaching those further outside your circle.
In Milap’s case, he reached out to his colleagues, his friends, and his connections, as well as asking his employer if they could have the first one hosted at their offices. This ensured more engineers in the company heard about the meetup and could come along as well.
He even reached out to some of the other local meetups he’d been to that had overlapped with Go and invited some of their team to come along as well. It made it so Milap was more confident that at least a few people would join and it wouldn’t be only him.
I know from my experience of Meetup.com, if someone lists an event and it only has one attendee, it’s less likely other people will sign up. However, if you ‘seed’ the event with more people straight away, there’s a higher chance that more will come. Something Something, TED Talk on How To Start A Movement. (It popped into my head when I was writing this paragraph, but lord knows I haven’t watched it in 12 years, so the mileage of my point may vary).
Although it started out a bit scary for Milap, keeping up his networks from other meetups was an excellent step to striking it out on his own.
Managing Your Own Expectations - You can determine your own definition of success. For Milap the focus of his first event was, “I want to put on an event with some fellow Gophers, to see who else is out there and to have a bit of fun.” That isn’t a direct quote, but I’m using conjecture.
This goal could be achieved with 5 people, or 500. In life, there’s a temptation to believe that unless the event you put on is a smash hit, it was a complete failure, but it’s essentially up to you to determine what is and isn’t a failure, and what is and isn’t a success.
And Golang Kathmandu was definitely a success!
So, What’s The Tech Scene like in Kathmandu?
I mentioned above about how Java and Python were dominant languages, but that isn’t all that different from other places.
Even Milap’s journey into tech essentially matched mine. University, 4 year course, Java and a project to deliver at the end.
But there was something else that stuck out to me in our conversation. It was about how, with languages that are still relatively new, where the local community may be much smaller, there are significant benefits to having access to online resources and remote events.
It was Milap’s exposure to these online events and remote offerings that led him and his team to be inspired to submit and present a remote talk at GopherCon US and create a local Go community of his own.
This is a perspective that can be easy to forget if you're based somewhere like London, for example.
Alas, Tis The End
We’ve reached the proverbial word cap, so I must halt my electronic pen and once again give an enormous thanks to Milap Neupane for speaking with me and letting me in on a few tricks of the trade. Thank you!
Quick addendum, regarding the title of this article ‘Ain't Go Mountain High Enough’, I wanted to link it to how making a community can feel like a mountainous task, but you can overcome it, or how the Go community is growing everywhere even in places with mountains. Not sure why a mountain would stop the ability to program in Go……But let’s be honest - I just liked the pun.
If you know of anyone who I could feature in a future article, let me know!
Thank you for reading and have a lovely day!