My name is Casey, an open source web developer living and working in downtown DC.
I have a wide amount of eclectic interests, and for the last year I’ve been participating in a wide amount of area tech meet ups (it helps that many of them come to me at work). This list includes WordPress and Data Visualization and React and Analytics and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. And more Data.
I’ve gotten a good taste of the meet up scene and I’ve seen a lot of range: intrepid new projects with a lot of spunk (but perhaps needing structure) and established communities with a lot of maturity (but perhaps needing some disruption).
I’ve been observing from the master organizers: taking notes on what works, brainstorming to fix what doesn’t and generally listening to everyone I can. I’d like to take the next step.
I have an idea for a new meet up that connects open people with open technologies. It’s a fundamentally simple idea that I’m hoping will grow over time.
At first glance, a project called ‘OpenAlpha’ might appear to primarily focus on open technologies: open source software, open data, open science, etc.
It will. OpenAlpha is a celebration of the full stack of open technologies that afford us our modern marvels. However, these technologies are the secondary focus.
OpenAlpha’s primary focus is open people: open minds, open processes and open leadership. The primary focus is personal growth.
We are living in an era of digital surplus. As a society we have created for ourselves an ever growing abundance of information and technology, which will only be effective if every person can learn how to use it, and use it well. Without discipline the information becomes noise.
Digital riches are now widely available to the average person. In this Information Age, data, connectivity and processing power are ubiquitous. Thinking and problem solving are the new means of production. They are accessible to all only if they know how to use them.
I’d like to connect the dots; to help illuminate the big picture for the average person and help them get on board.
I’m not quite sure what the answer is, but I know it will center around thinking about thinking. Logic. Reasoning. Problem solving. Epistemology. Asking better and better questions. The average person needs to better leverage those things if they are to ever adequately leverage open technologies.
OpenAlpha will strive for continuous community integration, it will have iterative improvement built into its foundation. I’m hoping to document what works, correct what doesn’t, and feed these ideas back into the greater meet up community.
So that was all a bit lofty. Here are the specifics of I’m (currently) hoping OpenAlpha will actually (ultimately) do.
In short, I’m hoping OpenAlpha will be four routine monthly events that encourage new users to get their hands dirty as fast as possible.
- OpenDrinks – [4th priority] A rotating happy hour to discuss the latest in lofty nonsense.
- OpenTalks – [3rd priority] A standard meet up lecture format, but heavily curated and with a new twist.
- OpenTraining – [1st priority] A ‘come as you are’ training night to help people move from misery to mastery. Starts with a focus on WordPress but will move to broader technologies.
- OpenCommit – [2nd priority] A regular community hack night to contribute to the open source project of your choice.
Summer Fall 2016 2017ish
I have three main goals to accomplish:
- Launch a successful IndieGoGo campaign for better live streaming equipment
I’ve gotten quite good at recording awful videos. I’d like to up my game by getting some new glass.
- Host three ‘OpenTraining’ nights
We piloted two great training events at WordPressDC, but I’d like to expand the focus and try some new ideas.
- Publish six blog posts in the ‘X is for XXXXX’ format
I’m a talker, but not quite a writer. I’m hoping to better structure and explain my ideas in regular posts like ‘O is for Open’ and ‘A is for Alpha’
After struggling over the voice of this initial post, I decided to write it in the first person. Over the first six months (during of 2017), I will work on converting this project from “me” to “we”. I’m currently bursting with energy and ideas to get this off the ground, but I love taking on other people’s ideas and energies and seeing what we can make. 😀
This is an open draft I consider
80% 50% complete. I am always open to critique and feedback.