FWB Event Pattern Language

All-purpose blueprint on how to build a vibe.

Author: Greg Bresnitz

Date: December 14, 2021


As FWB grows from URL into IRL, we need a cohesive language around programming. Inspired by the seminal 70s text, The Timeless Way of Building, our goal is to build an Events Pattern Language to guide the Cities' team on how to create a global programming strategy, that is connected in values and individualized by a local filter.

To successfully deploy FWB Event Patterns, one must read and incorporate the values of our Manifesto and Code of Conduct. These are the backbone of our community and we must adhere to them at all times.

Pattern Language - A Brief Overview

  • Every society that is alive and whole, will have its own unique and distinct pattern language.

  • The essential feature of a pattern is that it forms the basis for a shared agreement in a community to allow everyone to discuss, then build, while maintaining some level of coherence.

  • Patterns are repeatable actions that happen organically in response to space.

  • The accumulation of those actions form patterns that can then be codified with shared language to recreate those.

  • A pattern must characterize the problems that it is meant to solve, the context or situation where these problems arise, and the conditions under which the proposed solutions can be recommended.

  • Often these problems arise from a conflict of different interests or "forces". A pattern emerges as a dialogue that will then help to balance the forces and finally make a decision.

  • At best, patterns are a snapshot in time, and should be revisited to ensure relevancy.

  • Pattern language should make people feel human and alive.

  • A pattern language can also be an attempt to express the deeper wisdom of what brings aliveness within a particular field of human endeavor, through a set of interconnected patterns. Aliveness is one placeholder term for "the quality that has no name": a sense of wholeness, spirit, or grace, that while of varying form, is precise and empirically verifiable.

Values Patterns

FWB's values should always be found within each event we create. Consider them a microcosm of our universe that people can look at and inherently understand what FWB stands for.

Events in tech space tend to fall along hetero normative standards which is reflective in the audience and talent, causing other groups to feel excluded with no entry point.

Therefore, FWB talent and audience must be reflective of a diverse world we want to see (our audience / talent to be made of) and programmers actively pursue a balanced audience and talent pool.

Examples to encourage Diversity

  • Include diverse speakers

  • Ensure particular demographics receive invites

  • Publish in multiple languages & promote with many channels

Programming of an event demonstrates a curated point of view and signals to a community where we invest our resources, who we align with and our values.

Therefore, who and what we program must be reflective of FWB values. Even if we allow outside people to drive programming, they must adhere to our principles, guidelines and manifesto.

People need to feel connected and comfortable at events with the people around them in order to build a sustainable community. Even when alone, they should feel at ease.

Therefore we should follow the essential rules of a good event:

  • Good people.
  • Good music.
  • Good location.
  • Good food (when applicable).
    • Unless culinary focus is vegan / vegetarian cuisine - always have a comparable plant based option for guests to ensure they do not feel their food choice is secondary

If there is no shared incentive underlying how we as community members interact with each other, then it changes the dynamics of the room. There needs to be a commonality that draws us together, regardless of our background.

Therefore, the majority of FWB events should always be token-gated or at a minimum, token holders receive a benefit from attendance.

Location Patterns

Events are not just about the programming, but where it is held. Where the stage is located in the city is just as crucial an element as who is on it.

In order for people to connect and build bonds at an event, they must feel safe & relaxed in their environment.

Therefore all venues for programming must be welcoming of a diverse audience and share FWB values as laid out in our manifesto.


  • Lineups must include talent that is representative of diverse cultural experiences, ethnicities, gender identities/expressions, sexualities, etc
  • Target different audiences through marketing so a wider range of people see event
  • Accessibility for those with disabilities or impairments → consider when we think what is safe / comfortable, especially in regards to venue specs

In the rush of planning, the venue does not get the same consideration as the content of the event. While it might be a place that people can physically gather, the space does not work for the programming.

Therefore, venues must be reflective of the event goals - if the space does not fit the programming, there is no way for success, regardless of how good it can potentially be.


  • Music focused nights must be in venues that have a great sound system. This is non-negotiable.
  • Lectures should have good sightlines, comfortable seating, & ability for the audience to hear talks.
  • Food events presented in clean spaces with enough room for people to enjoy the food.

In larger cities, certain areas are designated culture centers, ignoring the appeal of different parts. Equally, our members are spread out and have to travel different distances to attend.

Therefore ensure venue selection is well balanced over the course of a szn to take in the city and members as a whole. Mix up locations we operate in. Our cities have plenty of hidden gems outside of the regular tried and tested haunts.

People form bonds at events when they have a shared experience and then time to discuss what has transpired.

Therefore, events must have unstructured time after a focal point for attendees to interact / mingle & space to be able to talk.

Programming Patterns

Who, what and how we program signals to our community and beyond what FWB cares about and what we support.

Too often, a community will say it stands for a certain set of values but when they do programming, those values are not reflective of who is on stage. Equally, programming tends to be globally culturally homogenous and lacks a point of view.

Therefore, FWB Programming should tell the story of where we are located, highlight our values, showcase our cultural partners and clearly show what we want to share with our guests.

Programming tends to be the viewpoint of one individual, isolating the larger community if their interests do not align, targeting a small audience

Therefore, in order for FWB to grow, the programmer must work with / listen to the community to present a varied events calendar where different interests are represented.

When programming multiple events, the programmer tends to offload different decisions (venue, talent, partners) to help with scale. When this happens, quality control tends to suffer and the various parts do not reflect the larger community values.

Therefore, regardless of who is making the decisions, they must be reflective of the FWB values and intentions. We are ultimately responsible to the community for what we present.

When going from one event to the next, it's easy for the cohesion to be lacking, putting up a disjointed calendar of events or repeating the same ideas over and over.

Therefore, programming should be looking at the whole of the seasons vs individual pieces -look where you want to end and what you want the community's perspective to be of the szn. Then backfill. If someone was to look at a month of our programming, they would understand the best in local culture and partners.

It's easy for the will of the programmer to overtake an event and try to micromanage the talent. This can lead to performers presenting diluted versions of their work that do not represent their vision and tension with the programmer.

Therefore, when programming - the planner should work hard to book the right talent and then trust they will present the best version of their work. Talent's vision should be protected to present the truest vision of their work.

When practicing global programming, it is easy to fall into the trap of standard programming that adheres to a lower common denominator to capture the overall organization, but wipes away any local flavor.

Therefore, programming must be reflective of the FWB core values but run through a local lens so it is reflective of the cities it takes place in and of the larger community. It should always feel like a FWB event and look like its surroundings.

When people attend events, they want to feel a connection, be amazed, learn something new, and connect with other people. Programming that just sits on the surface level will not be able to achieve these goals.

Therefore, be intentional with programming whether it's a dance night, lecture, coffee time or otherwise. Make sure there are layers and nuances for people to feel a connection and that they received something of value from attending.

Go deeper, there will always be someone who appreciates it.


  • Lyrics for event playlist for matches the theme of the lecture
  • Menus are printed on good heavy paper and designed well
  • Giveaways to guests that speak to event themes

Too often, people will just spend large sums of money on events, thinking that the biggest names in the shiniest venues are what makes a community stand apart. Anyone with enough cash can book something that carries some cultural weight. Often, it does not differentiate or present a point of view.

Therefore, we should always remember: Money is good, access is better.

Good opportunities come to programmers on different timelines. If there is no space for magic, then some big opportunities can be missed.

Therefore FWB must remain nimble and quick, with the ability to take advantage of opportunities that come at the last moment. About 90% of our programming should be set with a long lead time in order for FWB to make room on the 10% short lead times.

Good planning includes leaving space for magic.

There have been a number of cultural communities that offer artists value that has caused them to be wary of such offerings. A number of creatives first time experiencing FWB is by participating in our events.

Therefore, create opportunities to bring artists into the DAO via bookings, but don't force it - some hand-holding is to be expected at times.

Attendance Curation Patterns

Who shows up shows what's up.

We want to take into consideration as much as who is in the audience as who is on stage. A lack of care and intention behind how we build an event's attendance results in stale, one-sided, and repetitive experiences that discourage dynamic conversations and diverse guests. Equally, members want to feel that there are people like them in the crowd to engage with.

Therefore, review the guestlist in real time in order to ensure a good mix of attendees. Be proactive and enough on-ramps across the event experience to prioritize meeting people where they are at. We want to ensure that everyone invited and in attendance feels a sense of recognition and belonging.


  • Save guest list spots for local organizations, event partners, and notable tastemakers to share with their network and communities. Does not need to be FWB members if it helps complete the pattern.
  • Provide non-wallet solutions for RSVP.
  • Review Values Patterns on how to encourage diversity through programming so that curation is tailored to attendees..

New Member Patterns

Being a new FWB member can be an intimidating experience, but it doesn't have to be with enough proactive support.

Discord can be overwhelming as it's often a new member's first foundational experience with the FWB community.

Therefore, provide structure to the chaos with rails that guide new members to established members in order to, welcome them to the larger community, and put a name to the handle. Create your own Cities rituals for bringing new members into the community.


  • Establish consistent cadence for Town Halls with slots for new member “rituals” like a standup or icebreakers.
  • Connect new members to established members based on shared interests.

Transitioning from online to offline experiences is a crucial way to deepen bonds, inspire new connections, drive engagement, and build momentum for future events. However, new members may feel nervous about coming to their first IRL city event.

Therefore, create frictionless opportunities for new members to strengthen IRL relationships before and during larger city events.


  • Use Discord to proactively establish bonds ahead of each event.
  • Have core Cities members reach out to new members and tell them to find them at an event.
  • Simply put, remember when you were new. If you see a stranger, go say hi. If they're not your vibe, connect them to the right person.

Non-Physical Events Patterns

Covid has led to an extraordinary time for us and a constraint of large gatherings indoors. This does not mean we stop doing programming, but need to explore other ways to bind together cities and push awareness of FWB.

Cultural Pattern Language Examples

CarryNation Merce

The KLF - The Manual (How to have a Number One Hit the Easy Way)

Bruce Mau - An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth