Thanks so much for raising this topic, polling the members, and most of
all being the spearhead and the gardener that has been keeping the
community thriving. Despite any complaints you might be hearing - I'm
sure most people are much happier that it is here than if it weren't,
even if they're not always happy with any specific topic that gets
chosen - but choices have to be made!
As a strong advocate for self-organization, I'm really glad that
Meetup.com is built to make it easy for people to propose their own
meetups. If anyone has complaints - I suggest they just organize their
own mini-meet. I'm glad that the proposed meetups can get right onto
the calendar such as the Drupal sessions, the Joomla sessions, etc. But
I know that these specialized meetups would not be as healthy were it
not for the umbrella group - and for the healthy attendance at the main
I think you've been doing a great job, and I echo what others have been
saying. Kudos to you for the Montana Programmers - thank you for
keeping the fire burning. And please forgive me and other members who
don't make it to every meeting - it's not always easy balancing all the
choices. May you have a great barbecue event next week - I wish I could
On 8/5/10 12:53 PM, Ian Merwin wrote:
I posted this on the discussion board:
A member has sent me an email with a totally valid concern they have.
The concern is based on content of meetings/topics/etc.
I just wanted to let everyone know that we have had discussions on
meeting topics regularly. And, I felt it's probably time to take a
moment and make a statement -- to bring some facts to light of the
complexity of the MTP group.
One of the challenges of having a successful group is the strength in
numbers concept. Unfortunately a 'tech group' in Montana is never going
to have strength in numbers if it limited to a specific focus -- say
'Ruby' or 'PHP' or 'C#' -- there would be like 2 people at the meeting.
Seattle–Tacoma–Bellevue, WA Metropolitan Statistical Area, with an
estimated population of 3,344,813 is well over 3 times the entire
population of the STATE of Montana. My guess is that they have some
STRONG/Well attended .NET, C#, VB, MSSQL (specific) meetings there.
(Just as an example) Point being you could probably get a Commodore 64
meeting with 50 members in Seattle... and maybe 2 in the State of MT.
Another challenge is keeping everyone satisfied with meeting content
and applicable content. We have always tried to keep the topics rolling
and changing so that at any given meeting - one can be satisfied
learning something new and somehow applicable - if for nothing else the
exposure to the technology.
This is why we have monthly meetings and STRONGLY encourage feedback
and discussions as to topics / etc. This is, after all, your group. You
decide. AND, this is why we encourage 'mini-meets' in each area. As an
example, we have VERY successful DRUPAL meetings going on Missoula each
and every month. Andy Laken has done an awesome job heading that up.
Finally, MTP is simply a gathering place. Fertile soil for seeds of
knowledge to be planted, watered, nurtured and to grow. It as good as
all of you make it. Our goal for the 'MAIN' meetings has always been
1) Have a time of food/drink/conversation. This is to get to know
others. Maybe find others interests and how you can help them - or
maybe who to stand beside and listen to - to learn something.
2) To get away from the 'cave' as many of us semi-affectionately call
it. To get out and see the light of day.
3) To give someone in the group an opportunity to share on a topic that
they are passionate about - which 100% of the time there are others
that are at least interested in (at the minimum) being exposed to the
4) To provide a time to further the discussions, ask questions, change
the subject.. whatever.. again - relationship and knowledge building.
Our goal for 'mini meets' has been to:
1) Provide a more casual environment - for spontaneous discussions.
2) Provide a time/place to gather again and talk about specific (and
3) A time where Mentors can DIRECTLY mentor on whatever....
4) A time where you can go and say "I need help with JQuery" or "anyone
know anything about..." for example....
5) A time to further friendships, better ourselves, give/receive, and
build the tech community.
So I have to ask your patience for the meetings when a topic doesn't
pertain - please don't give up on us. In addition to that I have to ask
your continued participation in the meetings - regardless of whether
you like the 'main topic' or not - you never know when/where you're
going to learn - or who you may be able to help. Even if the topic
doesn't pertain every time - the other 2/3 of the meeting should
pertain as to meeting others, asking questions, giving answers. It will
be worth your time to suffer through the presentation to be able to
hang out and ask around to find others with similar 'focus' -- then,
maybe you can post mini-meets for that topic in your area Like the
Joomla and Drupal groups in Missoula.
I'm here to promote tech/entrepreneur/business in Montana. I'm here to
increase all of our skill-sets and opportunities. My goal is to mentor
and be mentored and to build relationships. I will help you get a group
started wherever/whenever -- just ping me anytime. I think that
realizing and working within our parameters here in MT (with patience
and grace) we can build an effective tech community.