Get involved with Locally Optimistic’s data leadership events as a speaker or host.

Locally Optimistic has periodic events that feature our members as speakers and/or hosts. The events are fairly small in terms of attendance – we usually have 10-40 folks show up in real time, and more folks watch after the fact. This is helpful in facilitating interactivity, and makes them great, low-risk opportunities for those who have less experience with public speaking.

We are committed to promoting diversity and amplifying less frequently heard voices within our events and publications.

Speaking at a Locally Optimistic Meetup

If you have been invited to speak at a meetup, here is what to expect:

  • We do not compensate speakers or hosts.
  • All events are recorded and posted on our events page.
  • Speakers can choose to identify their current employer, or not if they prefer to represent their own point of view only.
  • Hosts will share potential questions with speakers several days in advance of the event. These are a starting point, but our event conversations are quite organic and the topics will likely evolve throughout the conversation.

If you have been invited to speak but are wondering if you are qualified, the answer is likely yes. We do not expect our panelists to be THE expert on the topic. Our meetups are very conversational, and it’s fully expected that topics will come up that don’t have good answers. You may even end up asking attendees for their input or ideas. The intention isn’t for you to come in with a fully baked solution, but rather to bring an interesting perspective and questions so we as a community can take a thoughtful approach to exploring the topic together.

Hosting a Locally Optimistic Meetup

If you have an idea for a meetup and would like to host the event and moderate the discussion, we would love to hear from you. Many of our best events have come from community member suggestions.

If you are interested in hosting, it is helpful to attend or watch videos from a few events to understand how they usually go.

A few ground rules:

  • Only Tool Talk events allow speakers to promote a specific product or service.
  • We do not compensate speakers or hosts.
  • We do not take compensation for hosting events.
  • All events are recorded and posted on our events page.

If you want to host:

  1. Reach out to someone from the admin team on Slack with your event idea.
  2. Align with the admin team member on topic, potential panel members, and a 1-2 week range when the event should be scheduled. Diversity of our speakers is very important to us, so please note that if you propose a panel without members of under-represented groups, we are unlikely to approve the panel without changes.
  3. Reach out to panel members individually to gauge interest.
  4. Once host and panelists are confirmed, the admin team member will invite you to a meetup planning channel. Start a thread to align on specific date and time with the panelists and admin rep.
  5. Once date is finalized, share the date, the list of panelists, and a short description of the talk with the admin member. They will add it to the event calendar and announce in #virtual-events.
  6. Host is responsible for refining the topic and sharing questions ahead of the event with the panelists. If you would like to market the event outside the #virtual-events channel (in a channel more closely related to the topic, for example), you are welcome to. You are also welcome to share it outside Locally Optimistic.
  7. While moderating the event, please ensure that you are guiding the panel to equitable participation, and ensuring that no panelist dominates the conversation. Leave time for attendees to ask questions or answer questions posed during the conversation as well.

Tool Talks

Tool Talks are educational events that allow our community to learn more about up and coming data products. We love giving folks an opportunity to learn about the diversity of tools available in the marketplace, but are very protective of Locally Optimistic’s tool agnostic viewpoint and lack of solicitation.

The guidelines for tool talks are designed to encourage that balance:

  • Hosts will give a ~20 minute talk or demo within a 60 minute total session. The majority of the time should be dedicated to community-generated questions.
  • Hosts should plan to bring an actual product user or two so attendees can ask them questions as well – no need for the users to prepare or present, just another brain to pick during Q&A to get real world input.
  • Of course, the existing community rules about vendors apply – please don’t DM attendees afterward or engage in any behavior otherwise discouraged above.

If you are interested in hosting a tool talk:

  • Reach out to someone from the admin team on Slack. We will consider whether your product is an overall fit for the tool talk program. We are more likely to approve tool talks from founders who have already demonstrated real engagement with the community, outside of simple vendor promotion.
  • We will propose a potential date range, and collaborate on a specific date/time. We limit the number of Tool Talks scheduled, so at times this date will be several months in the future.
  • The vendor host will be responsible for coordinating attendance of their user attendees.
  • LO admins will promote the event in the #virtual-events channel. Hosts can promote the event in the #tools-XX channel dedicated to their product, in the #vendor-content channel, and in external channels.

Caitlin is Director of Product Analytics at Indigo Ag, where she helps farmers become more profitable by adopting more sustainable practices. She previously led data teams at Trove Recommerce (circular retail) and Indiegogo (crowdfunding). When she’s not thinking about how to build healthy data cultures, she's usually drinking a cup of tea and reading a novel or gardening.

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