By Mike Pav, VP of Engineering, Spanning
Sometimes it does not pay to ask what you will get in return for an investment. I’m not talking about the stock market, or your retirement. I’m talking about taking time away from your day job to invest in your local community. Most all of us have employers that match funds for charitable contributions, or that sponsor in-service days where employees take time away from work in order to volunteer their time for things that they believe in. Have you ever considered doing this on the super local level?
One of the founding precepts here at Spanning is to build a company that provides value in everything we do. We quickly decided that we wanted to create a company culture that focused on doing things for the right reasons, and re-evaluating why we do some things in the first place. One area that this really stands out (I’ll talk about some of the geekier technical decisions in future posts) is in how we engage with the local technical community.
We all know that getting technical folks together is hard, since engineers are not naturally social people. It takes a lot of beer and pizza to get someone to step away from the keyboard and actually talk to another person. As engineers we understand that there is a ton of value in building a community, but tend towards doing that online. There are a small number of folks who take on the charge to put together local meetups and technical users’ groups. Most of the time they receive support in terms of cash contribution, but the organizer is left to do all the work.
Spanning recently was able to move into new office in downtown Austin, with enough space to host some of these meetups. We have found that there is a vibrant technical community in this town, and it needs a set of usable and always available spaces to meet. Taking that burden off the shoulders of a meetup organizer allows them to focus on content, which is the whole point in the first place.
We are proud to host a regular flow of events, to the tune of at least once a week. Why? On the purely altruistic side, it is our way of giving back to the community that gave us all the opportunity to grow personally and professionally here in Austin. On a more practical note, we also know that providing a meetup location helps folks know who we are and encourages our employees to interact with other companies. In the ever changing technology world, we all love to share information and dazzle our peers with the cool things we know.
We believe that being materially involved in the local technology community helps us build a resilient and vibrant employee base. Sure, we hope to attract some new people by virtue of our name recognition, but more than that we want to get more people talking and connected. The end result is that we (and everyone else in these communities) are able to bring new ideas back to our employers in an effort to stay in touch with the ever changing technical marketplace.
So, make a point to step outside of your normal routine and attend a couple of local professional functions. I know that you will find that you make some useful connections, hear something of value, and if nothing else get a bit of free beer and pizza and the opportunity to show that you know more about something than anyone else around…what could be better than that?
Cool Austin technology groups that Spanning supports: