In the context of Developer Relations, a Lunch & Learn event is a lunchtime developer education event. It’s very similar to an evening meetup but hosted during the lunch hour. While a meetup can have different formats (hands-on, lecture, panel, etc), this particular event has a lecture-style format. Developers come to the event, get to eat a delicious lunch, learn something new, ask questions and network.
So now the question is – why run an event during the lunch hour. I’m going to share why a Lunch & Learn can add value to your developer relations program. I want to mention this is not to run instead of evening events but in addition to evening events.
Many developers don’t live in San Francisco. They come to San Francisco for work but don’t want to stay in San Francisco after work to attend a developer event. Many want to get home to their families, significant others, friends or just to relax. So we thought why not host an event when developers are here during the day. People have to eat lunch anyways – right? So why not combine developer education and delicious food. And that’s how we started hosing Lunch & Learn events.
Our events have been successful. People look forward to eating a delicious lunch and getting high-quality developer education. The actual talk is about 50 minutes – so that fits nicely into the lunch hour. The talk is usually a high-level overview of a technology, solution or open source project (we don’t want people eating and coding at the same time). We share resources where developer can learn more, try tutorials or IBM Developer Code Patterns. A Lunch & Learn is a great event to bring awareness about your technology and solutions.
To drive active developers and for developers who want to learn even more, we usually host an evening event within a few weeks after the Lunch & Learn. The evening event is hands-on event where developers can get more in depth and build an actual solution. This is an example where content creates content. I shared how content creates content in this blog post.
We host our Lunch & Learn events in San Francisco but this should be applicable to any major city or metropolitan area. At the same time I understand that San Francisco is unique in how many developers work here. But, I still think you should consider and give a Lunch & Learn event a try with your developer community and see how it goes.