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Tom Nies

What Was Accomplished at a Recent Tech Meetup in Toronto, Canada?

Posted on in Categories Events, Meetups, Smalltalk

On Sunday, October 20, Suzanne Fortman traveled to Toronto, Canada to have customer meetings and attend a quarterly Toronto Smalltalk User Group (TSUG) meetup that next day. After productive meetings with some customers, she had a great listening session and discussion with those in attendance at the TSUG meetup.

All the meetups and events we promote throughout the year are very important for attracting strangers to Smalltalk and growing the Smalltalk community. This meetup was specifically geared for the Smalltalk community, having the following attendees: Bob Nemec (the event organizer and Cincom Smalltalk customer), Dave Mason (a Ryerson Professor, long-time Smalltalker and international speaker), Richard Eng (the PRMC contest organizer and a Smalltalk evangelist), some computer science students and some seasoned Smalltalkers at Ryerson University who host this meeting every three months.

The attendees at the TSUG meetup are an enthusiastic and positive group who were open to many topics. They all know that Smalltalk is a blank canvas that allows for any style, platform and methodology and how well it plays with others. Some of the general topics that were discussed included mob programming, tdd, Women in Tech and #girlswhocode. As the attendees began to share their experiences, the discussions rounded out to these topics:

  • The James Robertson Memorial Programming Competition Update by Richard Eng
    • The James Robertson Memorial Programming Competition is a national academic initiative to promote the Smalltalk programming language in Canada. The event is open to all Canadian high school students. Teams of four students representing their schools will compete for scholarship prizes.
    • A consultant working with the event organizer told Richard he should have more registrants for the competition.  This did not sit well with him, so the group lifted him up and encouraged him with a positive outlook. Although he may have wanted a large number, it is a good number of groups.  This size of competition allows for more mentoring, coaching, hands-on listening and learning.
    • The group also discussed marketing of the competition. Suzanne put on her marketing hat and opened the discussion, offering some ideas to gain more exposure for both the event and event sponsors. Where are the potential teams getting their social updates from? The group discussed Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as good spots, specifically Instagram, which gives additional update options for Twitter, Facebook and others before posting. Basically, encouraging the use of social media is a simple way to bring mass exposure to the competition and to find an audience for more registrants.
  • An ESUG Update
    • At the European Smalltalk User Group conference, all flavors of Smalltalk were represented in a positive way. Although the weather was very hot in Cologne, Germany, the location was beautiful and the event was well-organized.
    • Specifically, the group talked about how impressive the GraalVM and Mariano Martinez Peck’s Internet of Things (IoT) ESUG presentations were during the conference.
  • An ESUG Presentation with Dave Mason
    • Dave Mason, one of the attendees, also was a presenter at ESUG and shared his presentation with the group.
  • The Next TSUG Meetup (January 2020)

After the event, Suzanne was able to finish the night by attending dinner with several Smalltalkers and Cincom Smalltalk customers.  Overall, it was another great night and a fantastic opportunity for Suzanne to put on her Evangelist hat and spread the good news of Cincom Smalltalk to a group of hungry Smalltalkers in Toronto, Canada.