Last year when the Symbian Foundation was still being set up, we thought it would be beneficial to provide a physical meeting place for the sizable Symbian community in London. We decided to call this the Symbian Stammtisch, inspired by the table for regular visitors to German beer halls. The Stammtisch was, obviously, to be a regular meeting held in a pub, where people were free to come, have a drink and discuss Symbian.
Before launching the Stammtisch in September, to build interest we reached out to the usual suspects: package owners, bloggers, power users, application developers, service providers. We blogged, tweeted and email key people to build up interest.
Uptake was slow, but we were of the opinion that if we kept at it, running regular Stammtisch events and promoting, it would build into something bigger. Ten months hence, it is clear that this isn’t happening. The Stammtisch as we imagined it has proved to be a failure, and we have put it on hiatus for the time being. So what happened, and where did we go wrong?
Looking back, I’d argue the problem was that it wasn’t clear what benefit attending the Stammtisch provided to attendants. For events like Mobile Monday, you go there to network. To the various developer days provided by OEMs, you go to learn something concrete. Our thinking with the Stammtisch was to provide a more open forum, but still focused around a topic related to Symbian. While this was very valuable for the Symbian Foundation, community members did not see the same value.
There is a need for a Stammtisch like venue, we just need to figure out the right format.