So through correspondence with a friend I was connected with a local group that wanted to start a .NET user group in the Mobile area….again. Now there was a group a couple of years ago that got together when .NET was first hitting the scene and had meetings about once a month. Unfortunately like happens many times, people lost interest after awhile and after about a year it ended.
Our Microsoft contact Joe Healy, the south-eastern US technical evangelist for .NET, scheduled a conference call for 6:00pm this evening to gauge interest and go about organizing a user group. There were about 15 people that I saw on the conference call e-mail list that were interested in such a group.
So as I dialed into the call at 6:00pm expecting to be greeted by many happy .NET user voices eager to come together and learn as a group, I only found one voice. That was Joe Healy’s. So there we were, Joe and myself talking about starting a local user group.
He begins by asking if I’m the main organizer of this group. Now I’m very eager to keep my skills fresh, and any learning is good learning, but I had to let him know a couple of things. For one, as most of you know from reading here, by day I am a Java, Oracle, PowerBuilder guy. I play in the .NET world some on the side, but not my main area of experience these days. Second, I was not the main organizer, but am more than happy to take the initiative. But, I have to admit I don’t think he was too excited to here that someone that works mainly on competing platforms and technology would be trying to rally the troops.
After about 10 minutes we were joined by a local consultant who was eager to get involved. Good to have at least one other person, and it helped make us not look so bad by not having any participants at all. So here is the plan so far.
1) Get a website set up for the user group (have it listed on Ineta.org once set up)
2) Get a calendar of events and set a first meeting (Joe will be in town around August 25 and offered to be the first speaker, so probably some time around then)
3) Find some place that will allow us to use their space for meetings. I will check with the University of South Alabama Department of CIS to see if they will offer up a classroom once a month (or once a quarter depending on interest). It would be a good opportunity for the students to get involved if we met on campus. If that does not work out, I could check with my old/new employer (Oh, did I not tell you where I’m working again these days 🙂 )
4) Get the word out to the local technology companies and get some involvement commitments.
I think this is a great opportunity for learning and networking in general, so even though it isn’t my full time technology, I will try to be as involved as I can. Plus since I’m not teaching these days, this will give me something to do in that vein….