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General FAQs

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

Is this run by Amazon?
No, 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.

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 do I become a member?
Just show up to an event! All RSVPs and tickets are run through Eventbrite. We do collect attendee names for building check in at most venues, but will never share your information.

How many people will be there?
Our Meetup.com list has grown to 4,800+. We may get 300 rsvps but usually 60-80 attendees at each event.

What are the rules?
Be excellent to each other (see our full Code of Conduct) and be open minded.
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 slides
  • 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 (via PayPal and 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.

I'm ready to sponsor. What next?
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 technical as you dare.

Are group attendees technical?
Yes. AWS Chicagoans are active Amazon cloud users, and appreciate technical topics. We are AWS users in Chicago who work with AWS. The group is not run by, funded by, or part of AWS. We have strict no sales pitch rules.
Because there are so many services across AWS, we recommend a quick overview of each service/tool before jumping into it. Experience varies from beginners and college students to business 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:

What should I bring? Do you need slides before?
This should be a low-key presentation. Do not worry about sending slides before the event. Usually it is easiest for presenters to share slides directly from their laptops via HDMI or a video conference tool. Each venue is different so come early to test it out. Please do share slides after the event for user group members - either link or email slides to organizers.

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 videos of talks. If you are NOT ok with that, let us know.

To be propose a talk idea, just fill in the submission form or drop us an email.
For the event page, email your talk information in this 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?
Required: space must fit at least 100, screens and amplification (projector or a large TV or screen with microphones), and space for food/drinks. We really like spaces that provide: HDMI or other connecting cables, gender-neutral restrooms, and a check in system that does not require government IDs. Ideally, the space should be an open area with a section for talks with seating and screens with access to 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?
We hope check in does not require legal IDs. We are happy to share a list of attendees' registration names. We ask buildings check names against multiple types of IDs to be more inclusive for international and non-binary members. If you need specific attendee information or a list before the day of please let us know and we can include questions in registration, alert members, and plan for extra check-in time.

What are hosts responsible for?
We need our hosts to help us with day-of set up and planning. Please help attendees find your offices, navigate check in with the building, and find the bathrooms. Signs or staff to point the way always help. We also need your help receiving deliveries for pizza and drinks and set up.

Event FAQs

Get on the list to attend

What is required to attend?
The user group aims to always provide free, accessible events for all levels of AWS users. Depending on the building, company, or offices hosting us we usually require members to register at least 24 hours before the event and check in at building security.

How do I register for events?
The user group uses Eventbrite to manage registration and event reminders.

Can I check if I'm registered for an event?
Check your email for orders@eventbrite.com. View your tickets/registration on the Eventbrite website or app.

How do I cancel/refund my ticket?
We do have limited space and need an accurate headcount to order. Please update your RSVP if you cannot attend. See how to update orders on Eventbrite.

Eventbrite says registration is closed for the next event. Can I still attend?
Sorry, no. We collect registration information for building security, which requires a list off attendees 24 hours before the event starts. If it is less than 24 hours before the event, we cannot accept new registrations.
NOTE: We do not use Meetup.com for registration - only Eventbrite. Please review the event listing page. We do occasionally list other groups' events and may link to their ticket site.