The History of the Chicago Node.js Meetup

The Chicago Node.js User Group has been thriving recently. So, I wanted to talk about this growing group and how it fits in with Groupon.

Starting Out

In early 2011, Caleb Cornman and I were investigating this interesting system called Node.js. Caleb launched the group in March, hosted at the Hashrocket office. We had our first meeting to get things rolling.

The first couple of meetups were decent. Attendance hovered around 10-20 people and we went over some intro-level Node.js concepts.

Node Knockout

In August 2011, Node Knockout was the hot topic. We setup shop at Hashrocket for 48 hours. Only one team from our group competed, but a couple of other people tagged along to hang out before the competition started. I was part of the group Node Ice. We ended up with a decent score, but missed the mark on completeness. For a longer post-mortem, check out Steve Oxley’s post.


At the end of October, things were changing. Caleb was leaving Hashrocket (our sponsor and host), which prompted the need for a new location. At the same time, I was moving to Groupon. After some discussion with the dev team, we agreed to host the meetup inside Groupon itself. Hooray!

The transition went well enough. I was afraid that it would be too hard to get to or that people would get lost in the shuffle. To my surprise, the increase attendance (around 25 in October at Hashrocket) continued to climb when we moved to Groupon. It has held steady around 30-35 since then. Checkout this plot of attendance over time.

The attendance metrics are based on memory and’s determination. So, they may not be accurate. I’ll be keeping a better headcount going forward. Even so, it provides an interesting metric: The average attendance rate of registered members for Chicago Node.js is 69.7%. This is important to realize when you need to order food and provide space for attendees.

The Future

Chicago Node.js will continue to be sponsored and hosted by Groupon for the forseeable future. There are plenty of interesting talks and workshops coming. We have meetings lined up through September, but we can always fit more speakers in! If you have any ideas for presentations, lightning talks, events, speakers, or whatever else you can think of, let us know! Even if you have an idea for a talk, but don’t want to present it, we can find someone who will.

We also have a new co-organizer, Todd Larsen, a fellow Groupon developer! He will be working with other companies to secure sponshorships of various sorts. He’ll also help run the meetup itself, as you may have noticed at this month’s meeting.