.NET Oxford Survey Results

27 January 2019 - dotnetoxford , .NET , Meetups

Earlier this month we sent out survey for .NET Oxford to get a little bit of feedback. Are our members happy? Or should we be banned from ever gracing a meetup ever again? Well thankfully, it turns out our members seems pretty happy! Here are the results!...


Should we continue with the prize draws?

This question is actually the reason I decided to do the survey in the first place. Recently one of our members told me that he thought the prize draw was a waste of time, and he'd rather that time be spent by the main speaker. A completely valid opinion - but it made me wonder if this was the general consensus, or just the thoughts of this single member. Looking at the results, it looks like most people prefer it, so we'll keep this in. One reason it does sometimes take a bit longer than expected is when we have no-shows - ie. people who have RSVPd, but don't turn up. And these no-shows get drawn in the prize draw, so we have to re-draw. This happens surprisingly often - even given the number of times I've asked everyone to please update RSVPs if you can no longer make it. Even so, people seem quite happy to keep the prize draws in. We've thought about doing some form of sign-in process to avoid this - but to be honest, the time that would take to manage that isn't really worth it just to save those few seconds lost by the re-draws.


Should we continue with the news section?

In our intro talk, we also pick out a few news-items that have come out since our last meetup. Again, we weren't sure if this was useful or not - are we just repeating things members already know? or don't care about?


What do you think about the frequency of our lightning talk events?

We currently have about two lightning talk events per year. Speakers can choose between 5, 10, 15, or 20 minutes for their talks. We've had both experienced and first-time speakers doing these.

I always love these events, as they have a great social and community feel with more people getting up and doing talks. And there's also a lot more variation. I was interested to know if members were happy with the frequency of these events - ie. should we have them more often?


Are the blog posts / writeups useful?

Well the results for this one were a big relief! The blog post writeups are something I've done from the very start, and haven't missed a single meetup. In all the bits and bats I do to manage .NET Oxford - these blog posts take by far the most of my time. Even when I'm really busy, and don't really have time - because I haven't missed one yet - I always force myself to find time to do it so I haven't got a gap in the history. So it was a huge relief to find that people actually read them and find them useful! :)


Do you eat beforehand?

This one came about because in conversation, one of our past speakers at the pub afterwards very strongly put across that we should look into getting more food at the event. He said that a lot of other meetups he'd been to provided more food and he thought that given the time of the event, it's quite likely that people would skip dinner and would probably be hungry at the event. The problem is though that we're a non-profit meetup, and our sponsors already provide a ton of stuff - eg. plenty of drinks and snacks, and also pay for the venue. I think it would be unfair to ask them for more - so I was quite pleased that most of our members who filled in the survey seem happy, and sort themselves out beforehand...


Are there any topics in particular you'd like us to find talks about?

This question was an open textbox question, so I've just listed all the answers. As they're anonymous, I'm assuming that everyone's happy with me copying the text into this post verbatim. Some great suggestions, that we'll definitely use when looking for future talks! So here they are in no particular order...

  • "Not really!"
  • "No. I enjoy the variety that the organisers find."
  • ".NET Core 3"
  • ".NET/Mono in a Linux environment"
  • "Anecdotal talks about real world solutions - how we built X etc."
  • "An introductory talk covering real-world experience of machine learning (ML.NET for example) would be good"
  • "F#"
  • "net core, micro service architectures, git, docker. All the new stuff"
  • "Blazor"
  • "No, current topics are good"
  • "I'm happy with the topics"
  • "More about the future of software industry, security & new approaches in software engineering, such as Domain Driven Development, reporting on large databases, mongo db."
  • "Machine learning"
  • "Aspnet core, design patterns, new tech (bits in azure)"
  • "I'd like to see more in the direction of Alt.net, the nginx was a good example, e.g. what are the thought leaders doing with in the dot net world. We obviously need to stay up to date with our mainstream tech, the Jon Skeet talk for example. One of the highlights of last year was the Clifford Agius talk on decisions under pressure, not tech but very relevant and interesting."
  • "Since Core is starting to gather traction. Talks on how to migrate existing stuff. Or you know, Scott Hanselman, Scott Hunter, the Gu, maybe next time we could try and steal people from NDC London like the Milton Keynes group did :P"
  • <insert comedy answer from a work colleague here - you know who you are! ;)>

Any other comments/ideas/suggestions/feedback?

As with the last question, I've just pasted the comments verbatim...

  • "Change the prize draw app-just get the people to sign in when they arrive somehow, maybe with the Corriculo folks. It's a great idea and the prizes are awesome but it's hard to keep the momentum going when folks don't turn up. Other than that, it's very good. One idea is 2min member profiles, where people can say a bit about what they do."
  • "Simply: keep up the good work :)"
  • "'s all good Dan. Great job."
  • "I wasn't able to understand the content of the JS performance talk from the blog post; a shame because I was interested but unable to attend." (this comment was anonymous so I couldn't reply to it - but if this was you - sorry you couldn't understand the blog post - a version of Ben's talk is online and can be found here though)
  • "I really enjoy meetups."
  • "Great group. It's really all good. The food is very welcome - it doesn't spoil dinner, but just keeps the wolf from the door. Many thanks to the organisers and Corriculo for everything."
  • "Keep up the good work. Dotnet Oxford is amazing."
  • "Recordings of the sessions would be great as I am based in Reading and can't always easily make it. The write-ups are really useful though."
  • "I find the meetup really interesting, and have brought more people along with me. Thanks for all your work putting them together"
  • "Thank you for doing these awesome events!"
  • "Great event. Thanks for organizing it!"

Summary

I wasn't sure what to expect before getting the survey results, but was over the moon when they came through. It sounds like everyone's happy with what we're doing, and we also have some great suggestions for future talks too!

I realised after sending the survey, that I completely forgot to ask what people thought about the "dev tips" section. We normally do this at the end where anyone can get up and give a 30-second devtip. Sometimes we get quite a few people up, sometimes there's tumble-weeds and I feel I'm just nagging everyone. We'll probably give this a few more meetups, and if it doesn't pick up, we'll ditch it.

One suggestion made in the last question above, was: "One idea is 2min member profiles, where people can say a bit about what they do.". I especially like this idea, so wanted to mention it specifically. If this is the kind of thing you'd be interested in doing, then do let us know, and we'll start planning these slots.

I'd like to end this post by thanking everyone involved in .NET Oxford. Whilst it was initally started by myself and Matt - so many more people have made it what it is today. Our amazing sponsors Corriculo Recruitment. All of our fantastic speakers who have come and given their time freely (and never underestimate how long it takes to prepare these talks). And of course, our amazing members, who without you, we'd be speaking to an empty room! ;)

.NET Oxford is now two years old, and has grown into a fantastic community, and I've had the fortune to get to know a great many amazing people though this little user-group of ours. A massive thank you - you are all awesome!


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