Five Software Companies Leading Communities in Chiang Mai
The open-source and highly supportive nature of the online developer community doesn’t always translate to an offline experience but Chiang Mai never has any shortage of tech meetups and talks. Some of the best are led by community-minded software companies playing a key part in establishing the city as Southeast Asia’s next tech hub.
How do you make great software, really? Without writing a textbook about it, you can boil this down to two things: great ideas, and badass developers. A healthy startup ecosystem should have heaps of both, and smart companies know that the way to find and support these is by bringing together the best and brightest to share and connect.
While the web offers many tools for tech nerds to do this while comfortably hidden behind their laptops, a city like Chiang Mai also offers great opportunities for software enthusiasts to come together IRL (or in real life for those not fluent in geek speak). Read on to get to know the software companies leading Chiang Mai’s developer scene.
The team behind the Chiang Mai Developer Meetups, ThinkNET is a software workshop with a big emphasis on company culture. Founded in Bangkok, the team that set up shop here in Chiang Mai were more than happy to ditch the rate-race commuter grind of the big city to embrace Chiang Mai’s more laidback lifestyle. ThinkNET go all out with the Chiang Mai Develop Meetups, organizing more than two-hours worth of workshops and presentations on everything from the newest open-source tools for software architects, to how teams can learn through design thinking or pair programming. Run primarily in Thai (though half the powerpoints are done entirely in English) the events are open to developers of all backgrounds as well as those who are looking to dip their feet into programming.
While not a software company per se, digital outsourcing solution Iglu tout community as one of the best reasons for developers and other digital workers to become members. They put their money where their mouth is by sponsoring and hosting a variety of events serving their membership as well as Chiang Mai’s many other remote workers and the community at large. Whether you’re tagging along to the annual company retreat, attending a fundraiser helmed by their exuberant head of communications, or learning about bio-hacking at a member-organized workshop, you can be sure that an Iglu event will be quirky, fun and well attended by top-class digital professionals from around the world.
Founded by one of Chiang Mai’s most well connected tech-dudes, The Chiang Mai Entrepreneurship Association’s very own Toi, Artisan Digital create digital experiences and software products worthy of Chiang Mai’s reputation for care of craft. With a stated mission to “make our home the new digital hub,” they keep close ties with Chiang Mai University’s Computer Sciences Department, Bangkok-based startups, corporate VCs and the larger Thai developer community. While they do on occasion invite the community into their cozy Sirimankalajarn office, you’ll more often see their team helping run things behind the scenes at other’s tech events and their logo emblazoned as a sponsor for all things startup in Chiang Mai.
A German software outfit, Buzzwoo have had a branch in Chiang Mai for nearly a decade and in that time have earned themselves a reputation for being a great place to work. With a mixed Thai and international team, they do a lot to bring people together in-house and facilitate connections, and regularly extend invitations to Chiang Mai’s developer community to learn and grow with them. With events hosted almost every month, attendees are invited to “come for the talk, stay for the networking” and meet to discuss topics like Docker best practices, cool applications for AI and trends in the internet of things.
If you’ve ever peeked into their offices at Cube 7 Coworking, you might get a bit of college dorm vibe, but this Bangkok-born software company is creating apps and software for major Thai corporates like AIS, True and Dhipaya Insurance. The Chiang Mai team host regular meetups around town and also bring developers together for hackathons, pool parties and flash talks.
It takes a village, and putting Chiang Mai on the map as a tech tour de force will require companies and organizations to serve more than just themselves. By making the city a great place to work for their own teams and also supporting Chiang Mai’s developer community at large, these software houses are setting a great example for what it takes to build an ecosystem.
The best way to find out about upcoming events from these supportive ecosystem players is to stay tuned to updates on each company’s Facebook page, but there are also a couple of Facebook groups you’ll often see these events posted in in. Check out CNX Community of Practice for events and learning opportunities for local developers or join the Chiang Mai Digital Nomads group for events geared towards digital nomads and remote workers.
Which company’s events have you attended before? Are there other Chiang Mai based software companies you see as leading the charge? Who do you wish would put on another event soon? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!