It is now about 1.5 year we here in Warsaw are trying to build local .net community. I thought that in such a big city it is going to be quite easy. But I was wrong.
After few meetings it showed up, that just few guys were interested in building community and nobody else. We had a static home page prepared by one of our members and used one of public forums (based on communityserver) to share some info about meetings, etc. But we met, went home and nothing happened.
Unfortunately working with such a small enthusiasm was rather a bad idea. So one of the creators decided to give up and left the group, then we had some meetings with an audience of 5-8 guests, everything went wrong and we were very close to make a decision of closing the group.
But what went wrong? We had a very nice place - MS building with very nice conference room, some gifts for prelegents (books, etc.), really good presenters, some help from MS itself - so, what was wrong?!
Actually I was not too much involved in building this community, although from time to time I suggested some presenters, who drove really good sessions. About a month ago I was called by the last guy driving this community, who said, that if I'm not going to take a part in this group, then he gives up and 'that's all folks'. After some time and few conversations with my family I decided to help in driving this group.
Firstly I decided to change the way we communicate. We had lots of problems with the group's page, so the only way was to left it out and move to other place. Actually the only place I can consider as a 'community incubator' at the moment is 'google groups', ie. groups.google.com. So, we moved from http://wawadotnet.aspweb.cz to http://groups.google.com/group/wg-net. That gave us a big kick.
Secondly, I suggested that we have to meet much more frequent, than we had used to before. As a group we met in the period of 17 months only 9 times... So my suggestion was one meeting every 2 weeks.
Next, we decided to cooperate with Polish SQL Group, and have meetings altogether every two weeks.
Now we discuss and exchange ideas on the group, working together on the plan of meetings, etc. Using the tool (google groups) we have opened the community to the world.
Next suggestion was to change a bit the way we drive the sessions. Not as formal as previously with slideshow, etc.. More work with VS and other tools, involving audience to help presenters...
I'm not sure if it helps. We'll see.
What are your experiences in building and then driving .net communities? Any other ideas?
09-26-2007 2:26 PM