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@jed jed/plaque.md
Last active Aug 29, 2015

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BrooklynJS "Sweet 0x10" Commemorative Plaque

[UPDATE] WE SOLD 'EM ALL, RAISING $2,625 for SCRIPTED!

It took a few months, but our experiment of upcycling our unused tokens into fundraising keepsakes finally paid off! It accomplished a whole lot of win in one fell swoop:

  • Creating a physical commemoration of the awesomeness that has been the NYC JavaScript community over the past two years.
  • Raising $2,625 for ScriptEd, a NYC-based organization that does amazing work in the local tech community.
  • Increasing BrooklynJS ticket availability through reserved ticket bundling.
  • Letting me work on a creative physical project with my pals @brianloveswords, @kosamari, and @philduffy.
  • Taking bags and bags of unused tokens out of my tiny Brooklyn walkup closets.

Here's the total breakdown by plaque price:

$50 $75 $100
February 6 7 5
March 1 4 5
April 6
Total $350 $1,275 $1,000

Read on if you'd like to learn more about how and why we created these plaques.


tl;dr: We're selling commemorative plaques containing the tokens we custom 3D-printed for every BrooklynJS event, to help ScriptEd give kids in under-resourced schools the skills they need to access to careers in technology.

The sixteen months since @brianloveswords and I (@jedschmidt) started BrooklynJS have been an amazing ride. Before our first event there were no regular JavaScript community events in New York City, despite the city's incredible population and JavaScript's possibly more incredible popularity.

But when our first batch of tickets sold out within an hour, we realized that the lack of events wasn't a reflection of demand; folks in the community just needed a venue to hang out and talk shop with each other. And when demand for our event continued to outstrip our seat count, the community picked up the slack, and within a year, the metro area saw the start of ManhattanJS, JerseyScript, and QueensJS, all of which now routinely sell to capacity.

Given JavaScript's current relevance on both front and back ends, there are more JavaScript jobs open than there are qualified JavaScripters to fill them, and community event organzers are in a unique position to contribute meaningfully to this imbalance. For BrooklynJS, this is where ScriptEd comes in. A recent RISE Award recipient, ScriptEd is an amazing NYC-based organization that works in under-resourced schools to help students that would otherwise find it hard to break into a tech career. They teach them how to code, and even help place them in a company where they can put those skills to use. So now, we send every cent we make from our event to them, about $1,000 a month.

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And one interesting thing we did early on to increase our fundraising for ScriptEd was make custom 3d-printed tokens to each attendee, to be redeemed for a craft beer or kept as a contribution. And as counterintuitive as it may sound, it worked; even though we spend $200 more to print the tokens, enough people keep them that we can decrease our bar tab and increase our donation.

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To me, each token tells a story. Token #9 saw our first event theme (hardware), where an accordion quartet played the Super Mario World underwater level theme song while @voodootikigod instructed volunteers to sip from pint glasses to control Mario's movement. Token #A was for first takeover event with JerseyScript, where @jennschiffer and @ajpiano took the mic as #NONBONJOVI and karaoke-serenaded the crowd. Token #D was our first two-tone token, and helped us ring in our anniversary, where speakers from @jeresig to @mroth talked about how they used JavaScript to make art. And so on.

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But as the number of redeemed tokens grew month after month, it was clear that they deserved a better place than the dark closet of my small Brooklyn apartment. So we've decided to seek a better home for them. And we hope it'll be yours.

So we're selling commemorative plaques containing all 13 tokens we'll ever make, from #3 to #F (we use hexadecimal to fit the event number into the low-res output of the 3D printer).

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Each plaque is made from solid birch ply, with the MTA-inspired BrooklynJS logo laser-etched in the corner, and each token we've ever made. It's signed on the back by Brian and me, and comes in a properly Brooklyn burlap bag. And each plaque comes with a ticket to attend Boroughgramming and BrooklynJS #17 (#cedar), on March 19th.

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These are a piece of JavaScript history here in New York City, and since all proceeds go towards creating future JavaScripters, please pick one up while they last! We're selling them first-come/first-served at three prices, $50, $75, and $100 and all proceeds go to ScriptEd. The $50 ones are already sold out, so make sure you get your plaque now while they last!

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