We have a small but dedicated Vacuumlabs team located in Budapest. Our team size has more than tripled in the last year during all the lockdowns, and although we have been fully prepared for remote work even before corona times, the lack of live social interactions was a huge challenge for all of us.
Suddenly, we lost one of our biggest benefits: the ability to visit our colleagues in our beautiful headquarters in Bratislava and at other offices in Prague, Kosice or Brno.
We had online breakfasts, online lunches, we played online games with the Tabletop Simulator on Steam, we mastered Among Us using Discord, we attended online ReactiveMeetups, Google Hashcode, Hack the Crisis hackathon, and we had countless Zoom calls on a daily basis. Perhaps the most pathetic was the scene of us sitting online around a campfire baking a marshmallow, talking about deep questions in life.
So when the restrictions got canceled in Hungary and most of us got vaccinated, we couldn’t wait to meet the developer communities again, at least locally. How did we manage to restart events and connect with similar companies? Who should you pay attention to in the ecosystem if you don’t want to miss the hottest topics?
Check out our experience so far and drop us a line if you’re interested in a collaboration.
1. Unity is strength – organize meetups jointly
Our first important experience was that well-known meetup events did not recover immediately. The unpredictability of the covid situation was one factor. Additionally, it is extremely difficult to find a proper, centrally located outdoor venue for a casual meetup.
Please give us a shout-out if you hear about any other great meetup comebacks in Budapest. They are an important element of enriching our community and our own teams.
“Meetups are a great way to step away from the globally connected world to learn about what actually happens in your vicinity. It is still the most reliable approach to meeting people who are passionate and open to share their experiences with you! That isn’t something you’ll find sitting in front of a computer screen. It’s just not the same.
On top of this, it is also an opportunity to meet cool companies! Nowadays, any company that invests in a local community, without a measurable and tangible benefit for them, is a great place for IT professionals who love their craft.“Norbert Sram, BudapestJS meetup organizer, CEO at GoodGrind
In the end, we teamed up with BudapestJS and Frontend Meetup Budapest – Design & Tech to organize the very first post-lockdown meetup event jointly. We could finally network in person again and have professional speakers on stage. Check them out on YouTube:
- Gergely Nagy – A pragmatic look at authentication in microservices (Senior Software Engineer @ Vacuumlabs)
- Gabor Magyar – The Smart(home) way to deal with your neighbor (Medior Software Engineer @ Vacuumlabs)
At the meetup, we were invited for a breakfast organized by prisma.io for the very next day. This is a great example of how attending events can lead to even more networking opportunities.
2. Invite your peers to an outdoor sport event
In August, we invited 3 IT companies for a friendly soccer cup. Shapr3D, Supercharge, and Digital Natives accepted the challenge and met our Vacuumlabs Budapest team on the field at the beginning of September.
“At Digital Natives, we believe in the power of community and I am truly convinced that we have to use all the opportunities we have to strengthen our teams. To me, it’s clear these events have the power to forge strong communities and we should try to attend as many gatherings as possible.”
Péter Lukács, CEO at Digital Natives
The game was a huge success with the victory of team Supercharge and we really enjoyed the networking afterward. I asked a Shapr3D guy what he was dealing with at the company and he took an iPad out of his backpack, put an Apple Pencil in my hand, and suggested I draw the ashtray in front of us on the bar’s table. I had zero experience with the application and still, I managed to find out how to use the app intuitively, just with a few hints.
It was a wonderful feeling that by the end of the evening, all the companies were talking in completely mixed groups because we had similar interests and challenges, both on the delivery and the non-delivery side.
3. Attend events in your ecosystem
Our final advice is simple: keep monitoring the events around you and meet your peers at meetups, workshops or hackathons. Chat with new people, have a drink with them, share ideas, introduce each other to new connections.
Some cool tips to keep in the loop:
- Sign up for Startup Hungary’s newsletter to receive updates on the coolest startup-related events in Budapest
- Follow some trending venues that support the ecosystem by opening up their event spaces, like HubHub or Hub55
Don’t miss to follow Vacuumlabs, the new fish in town, we are already preparing for the next events in Budapest. Stay tuned!
“At Startup Hungary, we truly missed IRL gatherings so we were beyond excited to hold our very first live Fist Monday event at HubHub Budapest in September after more than a year of hosting online events. We believe that in ecosystem building we can move the needle most effectively by creating platforms for insightful stories to be shared. It is inspiring to experience in the startup world that the most established people have a genuine intention to give back and help the next generations of startups to suck less and succeed easier.”
Csongor Biás, Managing Director at Startup Hungary