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Picking Events to Go To

Depending on where you live, the cadence of events varies. It’s usually easier to find them in larger cities. When I used to work in a suburban area, I would drive an hour to Boston just to attend some of the events there and stay close to the community. Here are a couple of things to consider when evaluating where to go.

Interest-Based Design Events

One way to choose events is based on a topic or theme. Over the years I’ve been passionate about healthcare and design and have attended multiple events in that space, from hackathons, to quantified self meetups, to design events with a focus on healthcare. Attending these types of meetups is a great way to meet people in the broader industry and especially good if you want to focus your career on a specific vertical.

Figure: Theme-Based Events Focus Deeply on a Topic

Theme-based events focus deeply on a topic

story A few years ago I joined the Design for Healthcare community, where I found my next role without actively looking. It was through happenstance that I saw a designer give a talk on Google Glass for healthcare, and I knew I had to find out more. So I cornered one of the designers working on the product there and peppered him with questions. Turns out the company had a position open, but I was already happily employed at the time. We stayed in touch, and when the company I was with at the time went through a downturn, I decided to make the switch. In short, it helps to invest in relationships long-term.

Who’s Coming to the Event?

Another way to choose an event is based on who’s going to be there. Aside from connecting with speakers, certain platforms (like Meetup) allow you to check the guest list. It’s not a guarantee that the person will actually be there, but it’s a good signal.

If you’re interested in connecting, reach out to them before the event. This way you can optimize your networking time even further once you’re there. On occasion I also post on Twitter or LinkedIn, notifying peeps that I’ll be going to an event in the future to see who else is interested in attending.

Figure: Creative Mornings

Creative Mornings

Creative mornings are a great way to meet creators of all stripes.

Where to Find Events

Where can you find events? Start by searching for “design” on Eventbrite, Meetup, or even Facebook Local. It’s as simple as that.

Here are a couple of well-known organizations that are good to check out:

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