Early morning train

Finally I have some spare time to actually sit down and write something ant even this only because I'm in the 6.48 in the morning train for London and apart of sleeping I have nothing better to do. It's been a while since my last post and I think I lost my blogging commitment somewhere. Assuming I ever had any. Anyway, that is not really relevant to what I wanted to write about.


What is your first thought when you thing about developers' communities? Mine always was something around free t-shirts and having a fun. I still think the same way but cool and free t-shirts were recently replaced by hard work. Luckily fun is still there. Why hard work then? Well, if you are not from my area you may not know but I've started a user group and it's a whole lot of work. I've never suspected that there are so many things to do and to manage but even if I would I will do that again. It's a great experience and even better satisfaction when you see people coming over for a meeting.


It's taking a while to write that, maybe because I'm working on my DDD presentation in the same time. Back to the user group thing. Everything really started over a year go when I thought about this for a very first time. Since then I was talking and promising that I will start one soon and those were empty promises for a long while. Finally I grabbed enough courage and determination and started. The very first thing was to have a web site. After a quick look around I decided to use the offer Kentico has for user groups which includes a free hosting. Perfect, no costs involved. After a few days of work the site was up and running. Then I had to face the greatest challenge and find at least a few members.  A quick chat with my manager and all my colleagues had the group in their objectives. I'm joking of course but it's roughly how I started; by spreading the news among everyone I knew; and it worked. At this moment the counter hit over 60 members which seem to be not very bad for the area I hope.


The very first meeting was a huge stress. Not only the meeting itself but also organisational aspects of it. I had to find a venue that would suit people from all locations around, which will have required facilities, close to a bar and cheap. Yes, money was the biggest problem I had to face and I have to admit I'm quite lucky here for my manager agreed to sponsor it. It is however difficult, especially if you don't know the area very well like me. Finally the very first meeting was a big success with 25 people, great presentations and my lack of experience and confidence. Now, when I'm close to the fourth meeting next week I feel like veteran and you know what? It feels good.


Over last few months I had to manage many, many things. I had to find another venue that will be cheaper, preferable free, because I couldn't assume I will always be able to pay. I had to find some sponsors to have swags to give away because people love swags. Then I had to find speakers who will come over here to show something. It's challenge and quite a lot of work sometimes but I've never regret I started. I have feeling I'm doing something good and it feels just great.

Middle of nowhere

If you are thinking about setting a group then stop and just do it. You will never regret.



Posted 05-09-2009 5:37 PM by Jimmy
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