It was the first Friday in May of 2008 that I met Justin Kistner. I’d heard about Beer and Blog on Twitter, was intrigue by its slogan Bloggers Helping Bloggers Over Beer, and so I went to the Green Dragon that day to check it out. I arrived to find 10 or so men sitting at tables in the back, all of them intensely clicking keys—blogging, maybe coding—on their laptops. All, except one guy: Justin. He was drinking a beer, taking it easy, talking in low tones to someone. I think. I can’t remember who it was.
I sat down and introduced myself, and then more people started to arrive. The laptops closed, and voices streaked with laughter began to fill the small, tall space. I started asking questions. I found out that Beer and Blog had started a few months earlier, in January. I learned that there were people there who would answer my questions about developing websites, designing apps, and getting gigs. I heard there were no stupid questions. And I left that night empowered by the support of a group of strangers that came together and helped each other out, just because.
A few Beer and Blogs later I wrote a blog post about my appreciation for the gathering that Justin Kistner saw. He invited me to be Beer and Blog’s Provost (which is kind of like being The Love Boat’s Julie McCoy) to which I said “Hell YEAH.” I’ve been a part of Beer and Blog ever since. About a year ago I was promoted to fill in for Justin, as Beer and Blog’s Person in Charge. It’s the most rewarding volunteer gig I’ve ever had.
Beer and Blog is, by design, a community fueled by social capital. Justin and I have had several long conversations about this core idea, of the wealth that can be distributed in a diverse group of people willing to share their expertise. About how having no rules and no expectations—just a regular time and place for question to be answered in a relaxing, friendly atmosphere—enriches both the person seeking answers and the person answering. Beer and blog is a community that runs itself, and it’s the community that makes Beer and Blog special and rewarding.
Today, almost four years since that first gathering in Portland, Oregon, Beer and Blog has chapters all over the world, each with their own schedule and diverse group of Beer and Bloggers. Our weekly gatherings attract between 5 and 200 people, depending on the weather, the event, and the business of life. And now our founder, Mr. Justin Kistner, is moving to San Francisco next month. In his honor, next Friday’s Beer and Blog is dedicated to him and his movement to help empower bloggers with a little help from their friends.
Please join us September 30th from 4-6pm at the Green Dragon to say Bon Voyage to our friend and founder. There will be cake, and a tequila shot special, and lots of chances to make his face turn red from the heat of our admiration for all he’s done for the Beer and Blog community. Hope to see you there!