Visibility Jam. July 19-21, 2024. Happening now.

December 2023: Handmade meetups all year round

Ben Visness ā€”

I'm pleased to write this final news post of the year together with Abner Coimbre!

Dear Handmade Community,

Warm holiday greetings! Abner Coimbre and Ben Visness here, teaming up to announce that the Handmade Cities Matrix server will remain online permanently. In past years, it has been shut down at the end of conferences, but now it will remain active year-round!

This might surprise you, since most of you are probably already members of the (now rather large) Handmade Network Discord server. So why keep the Matrix server as well?

The Handmade movement has grown an incredible amount in the past several years. Importantly, it has grown both online and in the real world. Both domains are vital to the health of the larger Handmade community - but there are some critical differences between the two. Let's dive into it.

Two communities? Not quite.

The Handmade Network (HMN) is the online hub for the Handmade movement. Led by Ben and his team, they run programming jams, Twitch shows, and online social gatherings. They provide a place for community members to discuss programming, learn from each other, and share what they're working on. The Handmade Network is also the home of Handmade projects, including the Orca initiative and Abner's own Terminal Click.

In essence, HMN is the online community - and it's accessible to everyone, including those who prefer to remain anonymous.

Handmade Cities (HMC) brings the Handmade movement into the physical realm. Headed by Abner and his own staff, HMC orchestrates tech conferences like Handmade Boston and Handmade Seattle, which are venues to present to the rest of the world our software and ideals. HMC also organizes monthly in-person meetups worldwide.

In essence, Handmade Cities is all about in-person events. HMC emphasizes real-world interactions; by its very nature, those who participate in these events can't be anonymous!

For several years now, Handmade Cities has used a Matrix server for discussions related to conferences and conference meetups. This server has always complemented the Handmade Network Discord server, rather than competing with it. And that is not going to change!

The HMN Discord remains open to all, while users on the HMC Matrix are tied to real individuals participating in Handmade events: ticket holders, local meetup members, and so on. The Discord is the hub for jams and other online events; the Matrix is the hub for meetups and other in-person events.

What about Handmade Hero? How's that going?

At the start of the Handmade movement was Handmade Hero, a Twitch series showing how to craft a video game from scratch. Casey Muratori, president of Molly Rocket, started it in November 2014 and quickly found great success, forming a huge community around its values that has lasted almost a decade.

So, what's become of our bouncy little friend? Casey's passions have expanded beyond this project, reflecting Molly Rocket's commitment to multiple initiatives. We're not privy to the specifics of Casey's plans with Handmade Hero, but this year, we collaborated directly with him to shape the opening blurbs for both Handmade Network and Handmade Cities:

Originally inspired by Casey Muratori's Handmade Hero, we dig deep into our systems and learn how to do things from scratch. We're not satisfied by the latest popular language or the framework of the month. Instead we care about how computers actually work.

Inspired by Handmade Hero

Like Handmade Hero by Molly Rocket we believe in breaking software down to the bare bones and building back an understanding of how it all really works.

While Molly Rocket, Handmade Network, and Handmade Cities share a spirit of mutual support, it's crucial to emphasize that we exist as separate entities, and are not formally affiliated. You might instead see us as independent stewards of the Handmade movement.

And at the end of the day, that's the way we like it. We each have our own expertise, our own experiences, our own goals, and ultimately our own businesses. We feel that we're at our best, and the Handmade movement is at its best, when we are run independently but collaborate at every opportunity.

We look forward to bringing you improved conferences, jams, meetups, shows, and projects in 2024. With our 10-year anniversary fast approaching (!) the future of Handmade shines brighter than ever. šŸ˜Š

All the best,

Abner and Ben

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Very exciting news! Happy to see how the Handmade movement grows this new year. I am particularly excited about any San Jose HMC meetups.