Nice background piece by/about Scott Heiferman in yesterday’s Times. He says this about Meetup…
… The other was Meetup, a way for people to self-organize locally. I pulled a team together and we started Meetup.com in 2002.
A Meetup is about the simple idea of using the Internet to get people off the Internet. People feel a need to commiserate or get together and talk about what’s important to them. Our biggest categories are moms, small business, health support and fitness.
When we were designing the site, we were wrong about almost everything we thought people would want to use it for. I thought it would be a niche lifestyle venture, perhaps for fan clubs. I had no idea that people would form new types of P.T.A.’s, chambers of commerce or health support groups. And we weren’t thinking that anyone would want to meet about politics, but there are thousands of these Meetups.
People have organized more than 200,000 monthly Meetups in more than 100 countries. There’s nothing more powerful than a community coming together around a purpose. We spend increasingly more time in front of screens. We’re more connected technologically, but we’re less connected physically.
Meetup earns most of its revenue from the small monthly fee charged to organizers, 1 percent of our users. There are 60 of us in our Manhattan office, and we had our first profitable month in July.
Critics have predicted our death three times. If no one is predicting your company’s death, then you’re probably not taking enough risks in what you’re doing…