2012年3月 8日 (木)

The summary of interview to Alison Murdock (The organizer of "Silicon Valley ROCKS")


Silicon Valley ROCKS is very unusual event. It is music gig, but also like meetup. Many audiences are always having chatting while the band performance time on the stage. And all members of the bands that joined the event are "TECH PEOPLE". They are working for Facebook, Google, Adobe, Dropbox...etc. And most of the audiences are tech people, too. They work for tech company, startups, and VCs.


Alison Murdock is the organizer of the "gig style meetup". She started to organize this event 4 years ago, and continue organizing. The event is held once a year in December. She organizes the event as volunteer.


She thought up the idea of "Music gig by tech people" when she re-started play the bass. “I found many musicians in Silicon Valley, and made up my mind to hold the event! I want network not only  in tech community, but also communiy for my hobby.”

She decided to hold event as fund raiser event. She gives profit of the event to fund for the music education. She believes to raise music education leads to better music culture. Around 20 volunteer staffs are working for the event. They are sharing her will for raising better music culture. And sponsors of the event are sharing her idea, too. The event raise about $30,000/event and all of the profit is applied to fund for music education.

400 people joined the event in 2012. Audiences got an information for the event from DM, Plancast, Eventbrite, Facebook, and Twitter. Surely WOM(Words of mouse) is important factor for the promotion.

8 bands joined the event.(The Barricades,100%,Allen Mask, Ingar Brown & the Future Funk, Coverflow, feedbomb, Open Source Band, Fox Picnic). For example,  Allen Mask is a hip-hop unit by the staff of Google. Open Source Band is special band for SVR 2012. And the vocalist of  freebomb is the sister of Mark Zuckerberg!!


Allan Mask

Young people and elder people are mixed at the event. Alison is booking not only young band, but also band by elder people. As a result, she can get many people together, and make good atmosphere for networking. She told me “Our goal is to make a space where can relax, and have networking time easily. ”


"I have no profit by the event, but have many benefit by organizing. I can meet Hi-profile people by event organizing, like musicians, or famous people who has musical hobby. Playing music is very useful for networking!"

"I am very happy because I can help music culture by organizing the event!" She told me proudly.


2012年2月 7日 (火)

The summary of interview to Matthew Hunt (ex. the evangelist of Citizen Space, the co-working space in SF)

Many events and meetups are held at many spaces in San Francisco or Silicon Valley( Bay area of West Coast.) For example, at the meeting room, at the hall in big company, accounting office, law office, and co-working space. Especially there are many events at co-working spaces in Bay Area. Co-working space is key factor to consider about the meetup culture in US. Using co-working space is one of the easiest way for tech people to hold events, like pitch contest or networking party and so on.

What is co-working space? It’s “Shared office.” There are several desks, internet equipments, OA equipments, Wi-fi, big kitchen, and resting space with bookshelf or TV. Users can contract for monthly (or shorter term) renting  to use space.

Desk of co-working space(Citizen Space, San Francisco)

And most of co-working space has equipments to hold event or meetups, like chairs, projector, PCs, wireless microphone, and Wi-fi for audiences. In co-working spaces at Bay Area, events are held almost every day!!

Why the co-working space are holding many many events or meetups? I had an interview session with Matthew Hunt (a.k.a. Matt). Matt is ex.evangelist of Citizen Space in San Francisco. Citizen Space has about 15 regular events. And Matt organized them.

Matthew Hunt

Matt: Citizen Space (CS) started in 2007. CS has co-working space in San Francisco and San Jose. Many tech people like developers, Startups, and creators are using these spaces since co-working is useful to spread their network.

Co-working space in Bay Area are holding many events, like pitch contest, networking party, hackason... San Francisco is very convenient place to hold events because of transit, and many people who are interested in events are there.

The cost to use co-working space is not very expensive because we can share the cost for the facilities. And the member of co-working space can collaborate each other. They can share their ideas, work together, and make something. Mixing the communities is important to make something new!!

I have held 15 or 20 regular events or meetups in CS. You came to “Startup Parroza” in Dec., right? In real event by meetup style, people can talk each other about the themes. We can choose workshop style or walk-around style at our event. It depends on the purpose for the events.


Matt: It’s important for co-working space to hold events. Events can bring many new people to the space, like your coming to CS. You are perfect example!! You came here, and were interested in co-working space, and are having collaboration with me now!!

Events are fit with the philosophy of co-working space! And events can be good introduction for the spaces!! The member of co-working space can meet awesome new things by the events. Co-working space is very collaborative community! And also meetups are very collaborative community! It’s reason the fitness of each. Holding meetups mean “Making Community”! as Scott Heiferman told in your interview!

The member of community are always welcoming to join other people in their meetup! It can cause the collaboration. In meetup, all members can be teachers for all members. We can learn together and help each other in their community.


Matt: I’m using social medias for the PR of meetups. Twitter, Facebook, Meetup.com, Plancast, Ustream, Paper.li...I’m a really social media freak!! I’m very busy for tweeting or blogging. It’s daily life for me to be in social media!!

I can book the presenter for meetups by twitter! I’m looking for presenter in Twitter, and contact them. Not only presenter, but sponsers are booked by social media.

You are Japanese, and I love Japan very much! I think Japan has good catch-up with co-working culture. Brandon@btrax, and Kentaro Sakakibara@Samurai Incubate are good exaple for that. Brandon is holding many reguler events in co-working space, and Kentaro has big co-working space in Bay area of Tokyo. And also Kentaro love holding events, right? I know CS has partner ship with Samurai.

Tokyo has many people and the office renting cost is expensive, so co-working is very useful there. And as you know, Japanese know the way for collaboration very well! I’ve heared the number of co-working space are increasing in Japan, especially in Tokyo, and Osaka. I know some of the member of these spaces.

As you mentioned, Japan has big crisis by the big earthquake. Meetup will be very useful to make strong community in Japan.

I’d like to promote my meetup community for the brand and new network! Then I’d like to tell the people the importance of helping each other, and working together by my meetups. I think it is only way to change the society!

Now we have the internet. But meetup can not join without coming to the place. Joining real community is very important to have deeper network, to make new collaboration, to get many chances. If Japanese hold many meetups, there would be a positive impact for Japanese society. I think using social media is key to make movement of meetups in Japan. Social media is the easiest way to collaborate each other.

I’m working as writer for co-working and social medias. It’s good for me to help Japanese because I love Japan! I’m happy if I can contribute texts about co-working, social media, and meetup for Japanese media. And I’ve held Startup Camp with Japanese company in San Francisco. So someday I’d like to hold event like that in Japan!


2011年12月27日 (火)

The summary of interview to Scott Heiferman(CEO of MEETUP)

I met and made interview Scott Heiferman- CEO of Meetup in Dec 6th. He was very busy, but very polite and kind to Japanese stranger. I talked with him for 50 minutes about the importance of real commnunity, the differences between meetup and event, and what should we do to make the movement of meetup communication.

Scott Heiferman

He started the service “meetup.com” in 2002. The big opportunity he decided to start this service was “9.11”.

“I started to talk with my neighbors. Before 9.11, I’ve never seen the situation that my neighbors are  talking each other.” he said.

Logo of Meetup.

Meetup.com is the community site. The organizer of communities can make community group in the site, and users can join the group. The organizers can inform about their real event (meetup) in their group to their members.

Scott believes that real communication is very important to make better society and better culture. He said “Communicating and collaborating each other make the society and culture better. If people don’t communicate in face-to-face, the strong communities are never made.”

The screenshot of Meetup.com

What is the definition of meetup? Is it different from “event”? Scott said “In meetup, the participants are communicating and collaborating each other. It’s a community.” How about the definition of EVENT?  ”The audiences in the event are all entertained equally. They are just consumer.”

Scott told me that “meetup” is the “grass roots” word. It’s not top-down like the word “Association”, he said.

Meetup.com are earned their operation cost by the fee from event organizer. I asked him about  advertising income. He said to me “I HATE ADS” strongly. “If product is good like TOYOTA and Apple, you don’t need to be in advertising bussiness.” “Our income from users are enough for us, and I don’t have any idea to raise the fee in meetup.com.”

My last question to Scott is about earthquake in Japan. Japan has very big crisis. The date of earthquake is March 11, and it is called “3.11”. It’s similar to “9.11.”

3.11......The big earthquake in Japan.(Ishinokaki-city in 5/3/2011)

I asked Scott “Japan has big crisis for the earthquakes. We call it 3.11,and it's like 9.11. After 9.11, meetup culture has been growing in US. But has not in Japan yet. How can we grow the meetup movement in Japan? Please give us the ideas of you. ”

He told me “What you should do is to help the daily life of people in the simple way.”

The most popular categories in meetup.com are mam community, small business, and fitness. They are familiar categories in the daily life. He told me that the fact is the big hint for us.

“Help the daily life of people. and declare ”We should unite after the big crisis. We are the community. If you bring the one categolly to tipping-point, the community will be more powerful”

Meetup.com is planing Japanese localization service. “If we launch, please help us to disseminate meetup culture in Japan.” He told me with good smile.

(L to R) Takashi Mizohata(Engineer of Meetup), Scott Heiferman, and me.


2011年10月29日 (土)

My plan for US trip.

I'm AZ Kawahara of "TOKYO CULTURE CULTURE". I'm a Japanese event coordinator.

I'm going to US for the research of meetup culture of US. I'll stay in US from 2011/11/17 to 2012/2/28. I show the planning paper of the trip. Please read it and give me advice! I'll publish the report of events and some interviews of some sponsors.

It's my paper.

Thank you!


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