First WH? meeting. What did you think?

Yesterday (22nd January) was the first ever WH? meeting, and I was impressed that so many people came along. I think there were about 12 of us in total from Indonesia, Spain, Japan, France, UK and of course Germany.

The meeting showed that there are enough of us to move on to bigger things, and now we’ve got to know each other we can think about other formats and topics that we want to address.

Topics

From the conversations I had, the topics we talked about were:

  • Attracting highly-skilled people that work in technical professions is important, but what about the rest? (In my opinion, this is a topic we need to discuss more)
  • How Hamburg Marketing can engage the community of international people in Hamburg to help convey a positive image of Hamburg abroad
  • Visa restrictions for people coming from outside Europe – there’s a lot of bureaucracy which makes it difficult for companies to recruit
  • Non-Europeans have different issues from Europeans. E.g. they can’t move around Europe as easily.
  • Related to the previous point, people coming in from abroad have lots of different issues meaning that they may need advice from a range of people – so as well as European / non-Europan, issues like whether they speak German already, or whether they are looking for full-time employment, freelance, or setting up a business make a difference.
  • What common interests/problems do we have? How can we make progress on these? How can we have a stronger voice within Hamburg? How can we convince the city that they need us?
  • On the previous point: how can we reach out and help projects and organisations within Hamburg? Just one example would be to encourage international applications for dpa’s new media accelerator. We could also encourage friends and connections from abroad with specialist skills to work for Hamburg companies that need them.
  • … and much more.

Showing the world that Hamburg is where international people can succeed

I want us to become a strong community who can help each other be successful, and thus show the world that Hamburg is a place where people from all over the world can succeed and enjoy life.

Specifically, a big priority should be helping Alex make Shhared a success because this is a huge example of someone rocking up in Hamburg, setting up a business and making a big contribution to our city. I think Shhared is also an important resource for our community – as a meeting place, a place to share ideas and make Hamburg the place we want it to be. No, Alex isn’t paying me to say this 😉

Feedback and next steps

Feedback from yesterday was that the next event should be somewhere a bit quieter where the drinks are cheaper and we can also get some planning done. As Brian said, we should bring our notebooks next time!

So what did you think of the meeting, and what should we do next? Answers on a postcard, or in the comments on this post.

Responses

After publishing this article, I got this response from Sabela on Twitter:

8 thoughts on “First WH? meeting. What did you think?”

  1. Thanks John for organizing the meet-up! I really liked what you said about a pub gathering with everyone freely moving around and being part of different conversations (rather than a sit-down meeting where people tend to stay seated and thus only talking to those next to them). I think it’ll be nice to try and keep the flexible networking style and the lively atmosphere as the future WH meetings become more organized. Hopefully I can join one of the upcoming meetings, with a notebook of course 🙂

    1. Thanks Ayako! I think we can combine the two, or maybe alternate formats so that one time we have a standing up networking thing, which I think could nevertheless be somewhere a *bit* quieter, and then have meetings for people who want to make specific plans. With notebooks, of course 🙂

  2. I believe one solution to make Hamburg more reachable would be to create a database of useful information. Something like http://www.toytowngermany.com but specific for Hamburg. I would make it more like a Wiki, where people can change and suggest info but avoiding too much chitchat and of course good supervised. How would it sound?
    If we don’t want to make it too community driven it could also be written by international profis by selecting a couple of important topics per week.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Sabela. That would be a big project that we should continue to discuss. Off the top of my head, it would be a great project to combine community elements and involve the authorities – so it could be a like a modern custom support forum where you have volunteers who post there as well as people from e.g. the Welcome Center who could keep it going sustainably.

  3. Thanks, John, for the initiative – that was a great evening. I enjoyed it so much to share ideas with you all

  4. G’day John, thanks a lot for our cool gathering. Nice concept of getting international people in Hamburg together. I agree with the idea of sharing ideas and starting something that make use of everyone’s capacity. Ayako’s idea of moving around is also great, with some ice breakers and stuffs. Looking forward to having the next gathering. Count me in!

    1. Thanks Muller. Glad to know you enjoyed it and are in on future meetings! I’m also looking forward to getting you and your story up on the WH? blog!

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