Mark Hurst on his Gel community: "It's also fragile. This is no armadillo, with a thick shell protecting the vitals from the dangerous outside world. The reef lives only if it can be open and accessible... and vulnerable... something about the vibe at our last event in New York, and what I'm getting from the people coming to euroGel in a few months, tells me that we're creating something real, something strange and colorful. Wherever you work, whatever you do, be on the lookout for this kind of good experience: a community of coral and fish, constantly building."
As a part of Mark's Gel community (although I wasn't at the event in NY), it feels true. It's a slow build with a solid foundation, and it's key that Mark is taking a long-term approach with it. He and I debated a little after the April NY Tech Meetup about the future of Gel and the NY Tech Meetup (two completely different communities, but they're both newish communities organized by he & I). I suspect that the NYTM may be a flash without deep roots and questionable long-term sustainability, while Gel is well cultivated and will be longer-lasting. Who knows. But Mark's writing further opens my eyes about how Meetup Inc must help people not just form community but make them sustainable. That's a big theme inside the company, and I'm really excited about the progress we'll make. Getting a Meetup everywhere about most everything requires those Meetups to stay real, strange, and colorful.
[Some people think that the word "sustainable" is overused or misused... sorry.)