Meetup was born out of the tragedy of 9/11, created as a way to help people in online communities connect in the real world and do meaningful things together. Over the past 10 years it has evolved into a network of almost 14 million members across 196 countries, organising about 400,000 meetups a month.
This isn’t to say the company hasn’t hit some roadblocks. The company lost 95% of its activity when it started to charge for organising a meetup, but co-founder and CEO Scott Heiferman has helped lead Meetup successfully through its new strategy.
The company is growing and doing interesting work, so we decided to check out where and how they do it.
The office immediately gives off a fun and quirky vibe, perhaps this mannequin with a lizard mask helps contribute to that.
The company's motto is Do It Ourselves, which is mounted on a wall near the entrance. (There joke here is that this is also the logo of '80s metal star Ronny James Dio.)
And the DIO attitude isn't just for the fun stuff. Meetup staff originally built all their own furniture when they moved into this space in 2004 with only 20 people. As the office has grown, they have been able to repurpose much of their furniture. This desktop used to be plexiglass, but they upgraded it to wood during one redesign.
Looking left from the entrance is a hallway lined with meeting rooms on one side and columns of information on the other. And yes, that is someone wearing bunny ears ... we will meet her later.
Back to the columns, Meetup has displays on each column with different information. This one lists the top priorities for the C-team.
The first room along the row is Meetup's product testing room. They've rigged a setup where they can record how people interact with their app on the computer and it can be simultaneously watched by engineers in a different room.
On the other side of the hall are small meeting rooms with Meetup themes - this one is based on rooftop gardening.
Prefer something non-alcoholic? Grab a fountain soda. Meetup co-opted the Coke symbol to brand the soda machine in their own way.
Ariey, a quality-assurance engineer, based it off of a University of Alabama football fan who would hold up a giant mockup of his face at games.
Here is the Meetup space from the other side of the office. That is Meetup co-founder and CFO Brendan McGovern meeting with a colleague.
It's Lisa Martens, who has been with Meetup for two and a half years as a community specialist. She helps handle customer support and approve and deny groups to make sure they are legit.
She wears many hats. She got the bunny ears on the day of our tour. The park ranger hat means she is on the phone, the cowboy hat is for when she is dealing with bugs. The bunny ears haven't been assigned a specific role yet ...
Though some prefer a little space to spread out. This is Michael Fives, a product manager at Meetup for the past year and a half.
Meetup has a second floor which serves as a fun room. Here's the obligatory startup ping pong table.
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