User Groups: you can't just add water User Groups - 101, General Intro
-silos and fractions with Subtopics
-user Groups - topics, skills, tasks at Ushahidi eg. developers, researchers or environmental, human rights or conflict mappers.
-Apache - uses conferences in Europe and North America
-apache starts barcamps to build education, id's locals to build capacity to create more focused user groups.
-Puppet - meetups for software users, 11 meetups in regions around the world, find champions and help them to continue to meet and build groups, give resources without having to be there yourself.
-Apache - tries to have someone who organized a barcamp first. comfort building, then they have a local champion with the local connections and has a grandfathering model. Rotates leaders with an inverted pyramid.
Key things you need to have:
need a mandate or purpose: what do you need people to get out of it
asyncronous channels - eg. email etc,
announcment and communication strategy.
Formats vary between groups.
Create the culture: Be open to folks wanting to drive the agenda/topic to learn what they need, connecting interested folks
Leader/Decisionmaker or Guiders - vision, organized
Organization - hacks, teaching
Building User Group Rapport
Geek hours @ crisismappers.net - lower the barrier to learn, lower the barrier to entry across languages and cultures. Harder to ask for help (Pride), match people to mentor throughout events.
Barcamps in Asia (apache) - weekends, during the week, depends on the culture
User groups - be welcoming, give lots of details to, have mentors,
Apache - can be scary to get involved, 'not good enough' to participate, how to make it less scary
Puppet - Sometimes hard to deal newcomers, got partners to open new folks, level to get new people up to speed. One user group ended because they ended up always teaching instead of getting at the Intermediate level
Drupal - give Options - split groups, build mentors, how to you scale, gives beginners presentation and an advanced one.
Build pathways to get people to teach back in intermediate to advanced within the user groups.
Advanced people have a hard time giving beginners talks.
If you give a user a template, they will build beyond the base level and they may build to a higher level (Apache)
GSOC - significant # of the participants start user groups (from Apache). They bond, they have been mentored and now they recognize the value of growing.
User groups - mentioned how Ushahidi collected user requirements for next version (cross section of folks -https://wiki.ushahidi.com/display/WIKI/Ushahidi+v3.x+Research )
Apache - old guard argued against innovation of new community strategy. Hard to build, changed to manage both communities and how barcamps work. Boards or advisory groups can be useful for a time.
Have different views and cross section of user groups, self-selecting people may have bias, get full representation to build. Just because you can hear someone, don't always meet they should be the only requirements.
10gen - has user groups and a masters summit - not self-selected. - less than 30 involved.
personas - create user groups, you may be wrong about who they are, how to keep folks engaged. Were you clear in what folks wanted out of the group?
Leaders of the group - ask them what they would like to see, what they want to get out of the group. Build content to help them be included. Do research of who is showing up and why - are you meeting their needs.
101 folks may not be ready to state their needs.
Aspiration Tech - they do an opening circle and brain dumping session - to show all the topics and needs
Plant and seed folks: core group
Kenyan elections - varied skills, language and digital literacy, Bring people on the journey, be a navigator.
have more facilitators and mentors - build up the leaders to help make small group sessions function.
Cultural differences - asia and failure, America - more open to it.
Be ready for building comfort. Some folks are there for the food and conversation, not the presentations or the software.
of every 10 people who come, 2 regularly, 1 actually uses software
Some user groups die off, that is sometimes ok. Sometimes there are sizable consistent core ones.
Workshop, tutorial, education - give them something to take back, may help grow the group and build a sense of belonging.
Have user groups to help people learn to present,
Build a model and then share with the community. eg. boston python community taught others.
Scope - ask folks what they want before starting a group.
help people with their comfort zones, to help learn something brand new that would work for them
Keep in Touch
@rgardler (MS Open Tech)
Daniel Johnson @teknotus teknotus AT gmail.com
Ward Pifer Ward.pifer AT fmr.com
Michael Hunger @neo4j @mesirii michael AT neo4j.org
Eric Holscher eric AT ericholscher.com
Kara Sowles (Puppet Labs) feynudibranch AT gmail.com or twitter @feynudibranch
Neil Theberge neil.theberge AT fmr.com
Jason Yee - jyee AT hellyeah.com (Drupal Portland)
Carol Huang - carol AT 10gen.com or @thisiscaroltoo
Heather Leson Heather AT textontechs.com / hleson AT ushahidi.com
Tom Fifield - tom AT openstack.org or @TomFifield
Robin.Haberman AT gmail.com