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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.

Technically, Monday is day 1 of Tech*Ed. That doesn't mean that today (Sunday) wasn't crazy busy though.

I spent all day at the INETA User Group Summit. What an incredible experience that was! I learned more about running a user group in one day than I have in 2 years of actually doing it.

Before I go into too much detail, I just want to say Julie Lerman and Sara Faatz totally rock! Those two (and so many others) made this day possible. I met so many incredible people today, and learned so much, there's just no way I can go into all of it... but I'm gonna try.

The summit kicked off with a talk on Indigo and a very cool ( < 6 minutes!!) code demo in C# of Peer Channel meshes by Ari Bixhorn. He only briefly mentioned the uses for online gaming, but it was enough to get some people (myself included) pretty excited. I brought it up again later and saw a few heads nodding, so people were definitely buzzed about it.

Note to self:  Download the BETA 1 RC of Indigo, this code and other stuff is in there!

Next, Amy Sorokas talked for a little bit. Amy is a really cool person, despite being in Marketing, heh... One of the things that came up was CodeZone... more on that later. I may have asked a few too many questions...  also managed to score an invite to the CodeZone launch party. sweet!

After a quick break, we had a community overview and then broke for lunch. Some of the incredible people I met (or met again): Nancy Mesquita (finally... a face to go with the emails), Morgan Baker, Sara Faatz (rocks!!), Samantha Spears (incredibly cool, more about her later), Jason Beres, Bill Wolf, Jason Olson LOL, Brian Noyes, Julie Lerman (rocks!!), Bill Jones (from Charlotte), Connie Marthinsen (my INETA liaison), the Atlanta gang from last night, plus D'arcy who's name I left off yesterday -- sorry bud!, Joe Brinkman from DNN, Eric from Addison Wesley, Amanda Murphy, Dave Noderer, Steven Smith and I'm sure I've forgotten someone's name... I apologize.

After an amazing lunch, a few of us zipped over to the convention center to get registered and get our swag. We opted for the shuttle this time around instead of piling everyone into the car. Things were still getting set up at Tech*Ed although they did have the XBOX gaming going full swing.

Once we got back to the summit, I jumped headfirst into the UG Leader sessions.

First: Effectively Marketing your User Group. Sara Faatz led this meeting and talked about ways to get sponsors on board with meeting sponsorships. One of the things that came out of this was an INETA commitment to provide user groups with more info on interested sponsors & vendors. I asked a lot of questions in this meeting. I asked a lot of questions in this one too.

Second: Organizing local community events, i.e. Code Camps, etc... Thom Robbins and Chris Pels led this discussion and talked about what they had done at their code camps. How to market it (blogs mostly) and they did mention as a good resource. I definitely need to check that.

Third: Handling Finances in your User Group. Samantha Spears led this session, and while it was primarily focused on nonprofits, I still got some very useful info out of it. The culminis site has a checklist of things to consider before going nonprofit. I had a ton of questions about this, but I think ultimate GC.NUG is probably a good 6 months away from needing to worry about that too much.

Fourth: Creating an Effective Newsletter. Julie Lerman (rocks!!) and Sara Faatz (also rocks!!) led this meeting, and overall it went well. There was one guy who obviously didn't like newsletters (and wouldnt shut up), but I'm thinking maybe he was in the wrong forum.  Julie and Sara handled him fine, although I think a few folks were getting tired of him a bit. We discussed what makes for good content in a newsletter and how to get it, etc.  Sara took a few action items for INETA, one of which is to revitalize the content bureau on the INETA site. I asked a lot of questions (you aren't surprised, I hope)

it's pretty funny... by the end of the say I was no longer the “tattoo guy” (ok, well except to a few people), I'm now the “questions guy”, although everyone said they were good questions. You know I won't shut up, especially if I'm holding the mic. :)

It's nearly 2am, so before I forget... I met Jeff Julian (GWB), great guy, and finally squared off with Jason Olson... another very cool guy! All in all, today was a great day and hopefully indicative of what the rest of Tech*Ed will be like. I can hardly wait!  (Oh yeah, and I'm going to need to mail some of this swag home. I have too much to take on the plane as it is.)

the absolute best quote of the day, from one of the INETA folks... (not gonna say who, but it wasn't Amy) “I sold my soul to codezone, but I'm glad I did“. Man I just about fell out of my seat when I heard that.

nite y'all!

Posted on Monday, June 6, 2005 2:02 AM | Back to top

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