Bookless Book Club - FAQ
DEFINITION & PURPOSE What is a Bookless Book Club?

A cross between a book club, a salon of the late renaissance, and a knitting circle, focused on conversation. The first BBC was inspired by this article: Why In-Person Socializing is a Mandatory To Do Item.

What is the purpose of a BBC?

To provide a regular in-person opportunity for a small, tightly knit group of thoughtful well-rounded people to bounce ideas, talk about common interests and the future, and inspire its members. The group is not about networking for networking's sake, and not about incubating a business, but rather a simple recognition that, as social creatures, we all benefit from getting together in person and expressing ourselves.

FOUNDING How does one found a BBC?

Typically, there should be two or three founders. It is important that the founders have an established rapport and social bond. It is also important that there be more than one founder, to ensure the continuity of the group. Founders organize and informally host regular meetings. Ideally, the founders should have a large, growing social network from which to draw in members. Founders nominate and invite enough good candidates to get a large enough group. Other details like meeting time and place can be hammered out after membership is decided.

Who makes a good candidate for membership in a BBC?

Someone might be a great BBCer if he or she:

  • Has deep passion about something
  • Lives/works close by and can commit to meet regularly
  • Has a positive connection with BBC members/founders
  • Likes to talk about interesting topics
  • Can make you laugh
  • Expands the group's perspective
  • Likes hearing other peoples' ideas
  • Is brave
  • Is creative
  • Reads interesting books
  • Is really good at something
  • Is someone you'd like to hang out with more

If you want a smoking crater where your BBC used to be then invite:

  • Jerks
  • Narcissists who REALLY want you to hear their ideas and suck the air out of the room
  • Boring people
  • Flaky people who rarely show up
  • People just like you

How big should a BBC be?

Big enough so the average number of people at a gathering is roughly 5-7. Much smaller and conversations can easily stall. Much larger and the conversation may bifurcate. Also, if the group is too small, there may not be enough diversity of personalities to keep things interesting. Depending on the demands on the members' time and their ability to commit to attending meetings regularly, this could ultimately mean anywhere from 7 to 20 total members. Naturally, if membership or attendance falls off, more members should be invited.

Should the BBC have a theme? How about a mission?

This is up to the individual group, but it helps to have a large overlap of shared interests.

What is a meta-BBC?

A collection of affiliated BBC's with a unifying theme, most likely located close to each other, may form a meta-BBC. All members of affiliated BBC's meet on a much less frequent basis (e.g., annually or semi- or bi-annually) at the meta-BBC's "convox" (or conference), to give talks and cross-pollinate. It is also possible, even encouraged, for members of a meta-BBC to attend different BBC group meetings across the meta-BBC. The Silicon Valley BBC was the first meta-BBC, and it has had two Convox IfCon0.1 and Convox 2014.

LOGISTICS Meetings: How often? Where? How long? What structure? With food?

These details are up to the members of the group. The only requirement is that meetings take place in person. The original BBC found that having a regular schedule (e.g., "every other Thursday at 7:00") and a regular meeting place (e.g., "Moe's Tavern") helps to ensure regular attendance. Also, it is important to keep in mind that the point of meeting is to talk, so choose a place that is fairly quiet.

Communications: Meetup, Google Groups, Facebook Groups, email, SMS - what should we use?

This is up to the individual group. The original BBC started with an email list, but then moved on to using Google+ Communities, Events, and Google Groups, as these helped with coordination of events and sharing of ideas better.

CULTURE What is a #whatif?

To help stimulate conversation, each person comes to BBC meetings with at least one question that starts with the phrase "What if", and members take turns posing their questions and discussing them.

What is a "phone stack"?

Quite simply, a phone stack is an agreement amongst members to be "present" at meetings, and not get distracted by devices. Either a physical phone stack or a virtual one are acceptable.

What is an OH tweet?

Sometimes a member says something funny, particularly when taken out of context. These quotes are shared via social media without explanation, but with attribution, as "overheard" quotes. E.g., "OH: The question is: would the crack market be able to absorb $1 trillion per year? @jdoe".

What are field trips?

Just what they sound like - outings outside of the regular meetings. Field trips are a highly encouraged, but not required, feature of a BBC.

Is this like Fight Club - if so, what are the rules of BBC?

Yes, yes it is.

  1. The first rule of BBC is you do talk at a BBC.
  2. The second rule of BBC is you do talk at a BBC.
  3. The third rule of BBC is if someone says "what if" or floats an idea, you should continue talking about it until you've thoroughly explored it.
  4. The fourth rule of BBC is you need more than two people to converse.
  5. The fifth rule of BBC is one conversation at a time.
  6. The sixth rule of BBC is no shirts, no shoes, no conversation.
  7. The seventh rule of BBC is conversations will go on as long as they have to.
  8. The eighth rule of BBC is if this is your first night at BBC, you must offer up an interesting #whatif.

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