It turns out that OSCON isn't a great venue to talk to people about datacenters :(
Given this, I decided to deviate from my standard beat and attend a session that my friends Selena and Gabrielle were doing aon "How to run a user group". There's a good crowd here, about 40 people plus Selena and Gabrielle.
Selena and Gabrielle began by discussing how important introductions are for the effectiveness of any social group. They then asked everybody to introduce themselves by saying their name, and giving three "tags" that describe themselves. Introductions began rather serious and got comfortable and comical around half-way through the audience.
My name is Michael Halligan and my tags are datacenters, outsourcing, and infrastructure.
Lesson 0. Get people to the meeting
Lesson 1: Start the meeting
Lesson 2: Make people feel good
They gave everybody presents to make everybody feel good, by handing out booklets on how to run a user group.
For a group activity they discussed how their user groups had developed Calagator , since everybody in their community had griped about the lack of a portland-oriented community calendar. They realized that group activities work best best by getting all the members to collaborate.
Another way to make people feel good is to "Get drunk together" ... Seriously, go out drinking after every event. The point isn't necessarily to get inebriated, but rather to have "structured", realxed social time.
Lesson 3: Do it because you get something out of it
Lesson 4: Be an active leader
"You can start a user group with three people" -- Gabrielle
Lesson 5. Don't Give Up!
Lesson 6: Just Relax
All in all this was a pretty awesome session.
Michael Halligan is a serial entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience in IT architecture and operations. His primary role is chief technical officer of BitPusher, LLC, a managed application hosting firm based out of San Francisco and Seattle. He is currently starting up a new Web application providing intelligent services to the convention industry. He previously held architectural and management positions at start-ups MyPoints, Kontiki and Napster.