I wrote a series of posts recently about the developer community. I started each post with a linked summary of the previous posts, which I will continue here:
On Developer Communities...
I hold the following hypotheses about successful, growing, and thriving developer communities:
- First, you need a team builder.
- You can run a company like a user group, but the inverse is not always true.
- Quality always works.
- People are not resources or assets.
- Don't go away.
- Have a (Sponsorship) Plan.
A Sponsor's Perspective
I recently emailed one of our sponsors to ask them "What do you get out of this?" With his permission, I share the response from Brock Barnett of MaconIT, a direct hire staffing and consulting firm in the Richmond, Charlottesville, and Roanoke Virginia markets:
"MaconIT has been involved with the Richmond .NET and Richmond SQL Server User Groups for a couple of years. Over the past two years we've become Platinum sponsors and our investment (both time and money) has been well worth it. Our involvement with the User Groups has allowed us to get introduced to new clients, potential new candidates, learn cutting edge technology and expand our name recognition in the area. The committment that the User Groups have made to Richmond have also helped to promote the growth of Microsoft products in the area which in turn has helped to keep the local IT market very dynamic. While it's sometimes difficult to measure ROI, we feel that our sponsorship of the User Groups has been vital to our growth. We feel very fortunate to have been a part of the .NET and SQL Server Groups and look forward to continued invovlement!"
Thanks to Brock, Gregg, and Carin at MaconIT and dozens of companies in the Richmond market, the Richmond Developer Community is experiencing record participation, growth, and event attendance. We appreciate all our sponsors do for us!
I believe successful user groups are part of the local business ecosystem. We fill a niche by providing free training to folks who are interested enough to give up an evening or day of personal time to attend an event. These people are the passionate developers (or developers-to-be) that companies like MaconIT want to represent in the market. And, believe it or not, schmoozing with the local developer community is an excellent networking opportunity. At each meeting, someone is in attendance looking for a developer or DBA. Cards and email addresses are exchanged and announcements are made.
It's really cool of local technology companies like MaconIT to participate in our endeavors. It's even better that they realize tangible results for their participation. I love win-win scenarios!