Get Yourself a /dev/lunch

May 17, 2024

In 2009, I was working with a group of friends at a small software agency. We had a cheap office in downtown Halifax. The building was not in great shape, but the offices were well below market price because the place kept threatening to be turned into condos.

One day I remember hearing some people walking by our door talking about Ruby. They worked in the office directly next to ours, and we decided to head over and introduce ourselves as their Pythonic rivals 1. We chatted for a bit and then agreed that we should grab lunch the next Friday. Fifteen years later, a group of us still meet up for /dev/lunch 2 weekly.

I’m someone who works from home. When it comes to development topics, I’m mostly chatting to clients throughout the week. It’s great to have a crowd I can rant with about nerdy things at lunch on Friday. We also use this as an excuse to check out the new restaurants around town. It’s something I look forward to every week, and something I sad about missing when I’m bogged down in meetings.

It’s not very structured, and the meetup has grown and shrunk over fifteen years. Currently there’s a core group of folks, and some people who drop by when they can. It’s a laid back event where we can blow off some steam, talk about the tech news of the day, or get into geeky stuff comes up at random.

I get that this idea wouldn’t work for everyone. But if you can swing it, I really recommend trying to get together a group for something like this. It doesn’t have to be lunch, but I’ve found that even when working at a larger company, I was able to slip out on Friday most weeks without issue. These days the core group are all indies/freelancers, which makes it easier — but we’re always excited when new people are able to make it out. It’s a great way to learn about what sort of stuff is happening in the community.

Halifax is pretty small, so I’d bet lunch meetups like this are happening all over. Maybe check around and see if there’s a lunch group near you. Or better yet, start one!

  1. Especially at the time, Ruby was still the hot thing and Python was kind of boring. There was a jokey rivalry between users of the languages then. We were building robotic laser turrets, so we were OK with “boring” tech. 

  2. The name is a bit of a joke based on the fact that it’s a “developer lunch”, but that it’s a Unix device. Like “/dev/random” but for noontime food.