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Re: [MontanaCoders] important please read....

From: Christopher C.
Sent on: Thursday, August 5, 2010 6:39 PM
First, all I can do is echo the great supportive feedback from everyone else.
Last, I love the sound of complaints, it's the sweet sound of volunteers voices we are hearing!
Cheers and much continued success- a grateful newbie to all this!
Christopher Cable

From: Harold
Sent: Thursday, August 05,[masked]:36 PM
Subject: Re: [MontanaCoders] important please read....

Hi Ian,

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 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 meetings.

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 be there.


On 8/5/10 12:53 PM, Ian Merwin wrote:
I posted this on the discussion board:

Hey all,

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 the following:
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 topic.
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 random) issues.
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.



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