I am wrapping up the Build ‘06 tour in Winnipeg this week and just got back from the post event activities from the user group event this evening. User groups and communities around technology have been around since the time of the Altair personal kit computer once they started out of peoples garages. I wasn’t around to use the Altair, but I got an early start when my dad ordered and built his Sinclair ZX-81 once the kids went to bed. I still remember learning to program from articles in magazines and fiddling with the computer whenever I got the chance – you couldn’t keep me away from it.
Working with User Group is are part of my job that I really love doing. It allows me to share my passion for technology with other IT Pros across Canada. After tonights event, I got lots of “thank-you”s and “great job!” comments that were from sincere individuals who took the time to come down and talk to me face to face. We wrapped up a little later then expected, but for the most part, I would have to say the event was a success. Winnipeg IT Pro usergroup will hopefully get some new faces to add to their user base and hopefully it will encourage more to attend and participate in the local IT community. I e-mailed Jason Miller a copy of the slide deck / resources, so he should have it up on the site soon enough in case you wanted a copy of them.
After mostly everyone had left, a few people stuck around to continue talking about the event and other technologies. We decided to reconvene at a local establishment (Kings Head Pub) for a couple of pints and further discussion. This is what is commonly referred to as ‘The Beer SIG”. 6 of us showed up for the conversation: Phil Klassen (instructor at Red River College), Rod Buike (AD MVP and Admin of http://thelazyadmin.com website), Jordan Samulaitis (Sales and Technical Specialist with www.FatPort.com), Brent Barske (consultant, beta tester extraordinaire and sysadmin for River East Transcona School Division) and Jason Miller (www.somnio.ca and President of WITPro). We talked about everything under the sun: Voice over IP, Mobile 5, Virtualization, Broadbad futures, DNS architecture, SBS Swing Server migration, 64 bit technology, Exchange 12, MSN Search vs. Google Search, iPOD, online music services, Travel and rewards booking with Aeroplan or AirMiles – you name it, it was discussed as part of the 2 1/2 hr conversation. There was never a low point in the discussion – someone was always involved, talking / debating / defending their position on one thing or another. Heck – it is such a small world, I found out that I might be staying in someone’s Honey Moon suite from 20 years ago (Room 613 at the Fairmont). ok – that last part might have been a little TOO much connecting the dots, but I can still ask to change my room if required.
The net result? A bunch of guys got together to have a passionate discussion around technology and how it can be used to make their world (and their customers world) a better place. These guys were true “geeks” that were passionate about what they were saying and were happy to be making the connection with like minded people. These passionate IT Pros also happen to form the core group of members from the user group that keep the group moving along, alive and well. I see this at each of the user groups I meet up with – small core groups of individuals who are passionate about keeping the community alive and provide value back into their local communities. Imagine if we expanded on these small core groups and got more people involved and working together with their local IT Pro community!
One usergroup event with free pizza and great content – $0
1 plate of nachos from Kings Head Pub – $7.50
6 pints of various brews including tip – $38
building and strengthening the local IT Pro community – $$ priceless $$
What have you done to support your local IT Pro community lately? Any ideas on how to make it better? Post them on up here for all to share!