Waiting for Meetups to Start/Leveraging “Filipino Time”

tl;dr Meetups in the Philippines never start on time, punishing those that are punctual. Why not experiment how to make this waiting time worthwhile?

Working in the Philippines for two years now, “Filipino time” has become part of life. Filipino time is the idea that announcing a meetup for 7pm means something between 7:15 to 8:00. Yes, still pm, but it is almost unheard of that it would start at 7pm sharp.

Having left behind my Swiss-German-ingrained need for punctuality in all things long ago, I don't get stomach ulcers anymore, no sir! But between 7 and the actual start, people do trickle in and I can't keep but wonder how to value everybody's time and make it worthwhile for the people waiting, too.

Part of the issue is that coders are by tendency not exactly outgoing, extroverted people, spontaneously grouping for great things. Filipino coders are no exception to this rule. So, if we want the fire of sharing and mingling to burn, it needs some serious kindling.

I've some ideas on that and will experiment to find out what works and what doesn't. I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas. :)