Our Return meeting has been and gone. Thanks, everyone, for making it a great night!
On the night I handed out a questionnaire; judging by the forms that were handed back, we had at least 27 people show up. Not too shabby! I was worried leading up to the meeting that the room was too small. We fit quite well, but came close to capacity.
- Attendees felt inspired by the meeting.
- Presentations were interesting, and enough people are interested in giving presentations to keep us going.
- We should meet once every two months.
- We should occasionally hold Blender workshops and challenges on the weekend.
- Modelling, animation, games and texturing interest most of us.
- The time and place of the meeting was convenient.
Details follow – read on if you are keen!
We had a good range of people there: 7 students, 6 IT professionals, 5 artists, 4 academics, 2 engineers and 1 cleaner/repairer. On average, the attendees rated themselves 3/10 for Blender expertise. 16 people said they were beginners, and 5 said they were experts (or nearly expert).
Most people (74%) are interested in modelling, and 67% in animation. After that, the common interests of the group are: games, texturing, lighting, programming, rigging, video and simulation, in descending order. One person also has an strong interest in sound design, and another has a strong interest in architecture.
The questionnaire asked people what they expected from the meeting, and whether they thought they received it. The categories were: networking, technical advice, industry advice, inspiration and snacks. The table below shows how people responded.
The best result is that people felt inspired by the meeting. One person commented that they had tried learning Blender in high school and found the interface too intimidating, but now they are inspired to try again. I hope we can help them to learn!
Hopefully the score for networking will improve as people get to know each other at future meetings. Also, I encourage everyone to come out to dinner after the talks. About half of us did this on the night, and there was some great conversation over what can only be described as classic curry.
There are a few things we could try to give better technical advice. Some people suggested having tutorials; that’s a good idea, and it’s something we can do at that venue. There are a number of computers there (perhaps one between two or three people), and I have asked for Blender to be installed on them. Maybe this is something we could do for every second meeting.
Something else we can do is organise the talks better. Suggestions were to have themes for the meetings (so that talks focus on one topic), and to allow questions to be posted online beforehand.
The second-last row (Disappointed) shows how many people expected but did not receive something, while the last row (Surprised) shows how many people did not expect but did receive it.
Personally, I am surprised that only 44% received snacks. They were quite conspicuous 😉
Most (78%) were happy with the length of the presentations. 5 people thought they were too short, and one thought they were much too short. 74% found the presentations very interesting; but everyone thought they were fairly good.
12 people (44%) said they might be interested in giving a presentation at a future meeting, with 4 people being quite keen. The people who were interested in giving talks were not necessarily those who considered themselves skilled. I think this is fantastic!
Most people (74%) thought the starting time (6pm) was ideal. Two people thought it was much too early, and two people thought it was much too late. Only one person commented that the meeting should be held on another day. Overwhelmingly (93%), respondents liked the two-hour duration.
The feedback was that we should meet once every two months. Many people asked for monthly meetings, but others asked for quarterly, half yearly and even yearly meetings.
One person suggested that we have fewer meetings, and make them go for longer. A couple of people suggested having workshops and organising weekend projects (e.g. 48-hour challenges). Perhaps we can do that too.
Most people (81%) said the location was convenient, with only person saying it was actually difficult.
If you have any thoughts to add to this, please post them below. Thanks!