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General FAQs

TL;DR: Monthly community events about using AWS IRL.

When/where are events?
We hold evening events in the Loop during the week. We rotate host offices and topics but aim for consistent schedules of pizza/drinks up front, introductions and sponsor spots, 2 to 3 quality non-sales presentations, then wrap with q&a before the crowd dwindles around 8pm.

How many people will be there?
Our Meetup.com list has grown to 3,500+. We may get 300 rsvps but usually 60-80 attendees.

Is this run by Amazon?
We are not run by AWS. We are proudly user-run and user-led. Amazon SAs occasionally present and attend but it’s mostly local users.

What are the rules?
Be excellent to each other (see our full Code of Conduct) and be open mineded.
As a local community group we do NOT offer speaker slots in return for sponsorship and we do NOT ever sell contact details of attendees.

Sponsor FAQs

TL;DR: Get 5 minutes at the beginning of the night in exchange for paying for pizza and drinks.

What does it cost?
Prices will vary based on attendee turnout. In the last few months we've had over 80 attendees per event. Pizzas cost about $500 and beer/pop/ice costs about $350.

What comes with an AWS sponsorship?

  • Many thanks, and hopefully a very good feeling of helping the community.
  • Logo on the event page and all the day-of flyers
  • A quick "shout out" / thank you at the beginning of the user group meeting recognizing your company’s support.
  • 5 min between the intros and presentations to give a quick “elevator pitch” overview of what your company does, positions you are hiring, and/or a short live demo.
  • Option to set up a banner display, hand out brochures, and/or give away freebies.
  • Can I get a list of attendee names/emails/companies?
    NO. We will never provide the personal information of any of our group members to anyone without permission.If a building requires a list of attendees, the organizers will share with the security desk directly. Sponsors are welcome to collect leads on their own (ie, offer a prize for people providing contact details). Non-sponsor companies and recruiters cannot solicit attendees at user group events.

    Can I get a slot for my company/customer/colleague if we sponsor?
    NO. We do not allow commercial or product centric presentation slots.

    How do I pay for the sponsorship?
    Pay vendors directly, or have the organizers do the ordering (usually it's pizzas from Beggars and drinks from Binny's) and invoice you after the event (payable by ACH or credit card).

    What are the group demographics?
    Group members are locals who choose to spend a few hours between work and home to learn more and stay involved in the local tech community. Most are software developers, sysadmins, ops, engineers, and some consultants from companies big and small. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions. Thanks again for your support of the AWS user group and the Chicago Tech Community!

Speaker FAQs

TL;DR: 30 min of non-sales talk, as techical as you dare.

Are group attendees technical?
Yes. AWS Chicagoans are active Amazon cloud users, and appreciate technical topics. Because there are so many services across AWS, we recommend a quick overview of a service/ tool before jumping into it. Experience varies from beginners and college students to senior leaders.

What are talk formats and timing?
We try to have 2-3 talks at about 30-45 min each with some time for questions at the end. If talks might overlap organizers will intro folks to coordinate topics.
Aim for a 30 min talk, and we can leave more time for questions and general mingling before/after. Talks start around 6pm. We like to bookend time for people to show up (5.30 - 6pm) then give time for people to grab late trains (8pm ish)

What should I talk about?
We strongly enforce the "no sales pitch" rules for the group. We don't allow commercial or product centric presentation slot, so mentioning your company/product is fine but please limit it to setting up context. Beyond that, the content is all yours. Demos and code-on-screen are the most popular topics, followed by “here’s what I learned” talks. If you’re ok with it, we like to share slides with the group after the event
Here are past talk examples:

A/V setups:
Our locations change, but usually hosts do have microphones, projectors and screens/large TVs, podiums, mac dongles, and HDMI/VGA cables. Organizers try to come prepared with extra dongles as well. If you need something like wifi for a live demo, hardwire internet, etc. please let us know at least 24hrs before.
We sometimes have volunteers record the talks. If you are NOT ok with that, let us know.

To be added to the meetup event page send in the fill-in-the-blanks: "TALK TITLE" - NAME, TITLE at COMPANY // @TWITTER

Hosting FAQs

TL;DR: Fit 100 of us in your office.

What is required to host the AWS user group?
The space must fit at least 100. Your Audio/Visual (A/V) set up should include: large TVs and/or screen and projector, microphones, and HDMI or other connecting cables. Ideally, the space should be an open area with seating with open access to the entry, bathrooms, and a place to put food and drinks. See our photos from GrubHub, TechNexus, and Motorola Solutions.

How many people will be there?
Events usually get 300 rsvps but 60-100 attendees. As the event approaches, we will send out reminders so folks will update their RSVP to get a more accurate number.

How will presentations work?
Typically 3-4 presenters bring their own laptops and present directly. Extra mics and connecting cables/dongles help. Some presenters might need hardwired ethernet, or special set ups. We will let you know of any requests in advance.

Can I host without sponsoring food and drink?
Yes! We have several user group members who want to sponsor, but do not have the office space to host. Let us know and we will match you up with a sponsor.

My building has security. How should we deal?
Most buildings in the Loop require a list of attendee full names the day of the event. If you need more information or a list before the day of, just let us know and we can include it in RSVPs. If your building security requires anything else (like a verficiation with government issued IDs) let us know and we will plan for extra check-in time.