Hello, I’m Joni

an excitable brand strategist

Philly's First CodePen Meetup

26 February 2015

Yesterday I co-hosted Philadelphia’s first CodePen meetup with GDI Philly. The event was sponsored by Lincoln Loop, catered by Caffienation, and took place at City CoHo. All of these forces came together to form what I will now be referring to as the Coolest CodePen Collaboration of 2015 (Triple C 15).

Photo of Philly CodePen Meetup

So, I figured I should write a post to reflect on why I wanted to host this meetup in the first place and get GDI Philly involved, and of course talk a bit about how the event went (spoiler alert: awesomely).

Why A CodePen Meetup

I was beyond excited when presented with the opportunity to host this event. CodePen was one of the first tools I picked up when I began learning design and front-end development. It was not only a phenomenal place to learn from other people’s code, it was also a constant source of motivation.

When I found myself feeling anything but excited to study and practice layouts (sorry, that’s just not where my head was at the time) I would go over to CodePen, become reenergized and excited by the work displayed there and set out to make things like a CSS fish. So not only was Franklin a blast to build, but I also inadvertently learned a lot about positioning in the process. Sneaky Franklin, sneaky.

CodePen has come to be part of my everyday workflow. I use it for my own personal tinkering and learning and we use it as a team at Lincoln Loop. We recently launched a project exclusively on CodePen, Flexbox Fridays, where you can join us each Friday for a flexbox demo and post.

I will also be teaching a GDI Philly class within the next couple months and CodePen will prove useful as a teaching and presentation tool as well. We will learn about and create SVG on CodePen, and it will be beautiful.

Basically, I simply adore CodePen and what it has come to stand for in the community. A place to experiment and learn how to code, to get inspired, and to be part of something with people that care about helping others (and also get hysterically excited over things like a CSS only ticking clock).

Welcome GDI

Both CodePen and GDI have been, and continue to be, such important foundational pieces to my career and joining the two was a bit of a dream collaboration for me.

When I agreed to host this event I immediately thought of how neat it would be to ask GDI Philly to get involved. I met this particlar group when I attended their holiday party last year. It’s quite impossible not to get jazzed up about the work they are doing in the city. Women want to be part of the safe tech culture they have created and continue to foster through their events and classes.

Plus, they are the event experts and I knew I would need some logistical help, which they handled effortlessly.

One of the most important things they brought to this event, in my opinion, is the general code of conduct and environment that they have established. I was simply shocked and beyond excited by the number of beginners (both to coding and CodePen) that attended. Looking back I am not sure that I would have been comfortable or confident enough to attend such an event at that stage, but when GDI is involved people just know that it will be a safe, welcoming space to learn and mingle.

###The Meetup We had a great turnout for this event. It was difficult to get an exact number, but our closest estimate would be around 50-60 CodePen enthusiasts. We ended up competing with a couple other Philly tech events this night (curses!) but ultimately this was a very impressive turnout regardless.

####The Pastry Factor The meetup had a very casual code and coffee, “Let’s hang out and tinker with code together” theme. We had what some would call an “absurd” amount of pastries and coffee and I even made my world famous (not quite world famous, but you know, people really like them) gluten free chocolate chips cookies. Much to my delight, the cookies were gone almost instantly.

####The Diversity Factor As mentioned, one of my absolute favorite things about this particular meetup was the diversity in experience levels amongst attendees.

There we people with years of experience that got to share what they were working on with other, get some feedback, and also help out with questions. I was able to help some people get started with CodePen for the very first time and they collaborated on pens together. When people get a sense of the power of CodePen, well, their eyes literally light up.

###Tripple C 15 Signing Off To recap, this event was very much a success and all the organizations and people involved were top notch. There is nothing better than creating an environment where people feel comfortable to learn, ask questions, experiment, and just chat (about stuff like animal themed coin purses…true story).

If you attended and found the “code and coffee” theme to be something you are really into, GDI Philly hosts events like this monthly which you can check out on their meetup page.

Thanks so much again to everyone that came out to talk shop!

Photo of Philly CodePen Meetup Photo of Philly CodePen Meetup Photo of Philly CodePen Meetup Photo of Philly CodePen Meetup