Tis the season to come out from behind our computer screens and be merry! Join us at the Fox & Hound to drink, eat, and play pool. Sign up for the gift exchange at https://www.elfster.com/exchange/view/24747732/aa4124/
Wear your ugliest holiday sweater and worst holiday hat. There will be a prize for the worst (best?) of each, as well as a raffle for door prizes.
Arrive by 7pm to participate in the contests! RSVP on meetup.
Starting with our May 23rd Meet up we will be meeting at the FedEx Institute of Technology at 356 Patterson St
in Room 225. Thanks to the FIT for hosting us as we look forward to using the venue and connecting with
University of Memphis students interested in PHP!
php[tek] Open Spaces - User Groups and Community Building
Open Spaces sessions are very similar to unconference sessions. They are ad hoc sessions where anyone can sign up for a topic and lead a discussion.
At my very first php[tek] conference in 2014 Michelangelo van Dam held an Open Spaces
session about User Groups. As I was already a User Group leader I joined and was excited to be able to speak in person with so many other individuals
who were also running user groups as well as people interested in starting their own User Groups. Michelangelo and others also did this again in at php[tek]
2015 and again I participated and was excited to share knowledge about User Groups.
At php[tek] 2016 Michelangelo was not able to attend
so I mentioned doing a User Group session to Chris Spruck from AtlantaPHP,
Sammy K. from Chicago PHP, and Ben Ramsey
from Nashvile PHP.
Ben Ramsey had the idea of streaming the Open Spaces via google hangouts. Below is the recorded version of our session. I hope you enjoy it as I certainly
enjoyed being able to host the session. Thanks to everyone that joined us at php[tek], Ben for being our cameraman, and others that watched live and contributed during the event.
Notes that Chris Spruck took during the session:
User Group Leadership Open Spaces
Attendees: Chris Spruck (AtlantaPHP), Joe Ferguson (MemphisPHP), Sammy K.
Powers (Chicago PHP UG), Mark McCollum (St. Louis Full Stack Developers),
Dave Stokes (North TX MySQL User Group), Cal Evans (Palm Beach PHP UG,
NomadPHP), Brian Retterer (DaytonPHP), James Titcumb (PHP Hampshire, PHP
SouthCoast conf), Ben Ramsey (NashvillePHP), Bill Condo (Columbus, OH PHP
User Group), Matt Turland (Gnocode New Orleans), Jeff Geerling (Ansible and
Drupal St. Louis), Michael Pickreign (NE PA, looking to start a group),
Travis Fettig (Palm Beach PHP UG)
How do you handle lack of attendance? Joe said that MemphisPHP tries to
provide quality content, and not just a hack night. He encourages members
to present, and does more social events (which usually yields better
response due to the shorter time committment than a full meeting). Dave
made the point to be aware of time issues and entrance security processes,
depending on the location. James made the point that lack of attendance
isn't necessarily bad, and any consistency is good, even if you feel like
the numbers are low. Chris said that fast/immediate growth isn't urgent.
Activities among groups? Cal and others mentioned joint Christmas parties,
summer BBQs, etc. with multiple groups, and Bill mentioned things like
Laravel/Wordpress/PHP joint activities. Don't forget about groups that use
PHP, but are more focused (Drupal, WP, etc.) - opportunity for speaker
cross-over and softer skills talks that can apply to any developer. Joe
mentioned "Super User Group meetups" - lightning talks across groups,
holiday parties, etc. These can be specific to group leaders or involve
Beth Tucker Long (of MadisonPHP, @e3BethT) has "training talks" or some
kind of material developed to encourage cultivation of conference speakers
from within her user group.
Someone mentioned using a Trello board for group members to suggest talk
ideas, talks they can present, etc.
consider remote presenters or other groups.
Look for chances to bring in someone nearby or passing through. Examples:
Coderabbi was at Laracon (in Kentucky), so Bill from Columbus asked him to
stay an extra day to present to Columbus PHP (Bill went to pick him up,
etc.) AtlantaPHP just had an extra "special speaker event", because
Sebastian Bergmann was in town the week after their regularly scheduled
SammyK - summarizes RFC activity for his group, so members can get a taste
of PHP internals w/o the stress.
Alternative formats to consider: Show and Tell nights; test fests; bug fix
night; pair programming; screencast live coding; "bring your problem", code
Cal asked "how do you level your content?" for junior vs advanced devs.
Dave said one of the Dallas groups has a different meeting for junior devs,
and Boston started a virtual online class for juniors, where people could
contact more experienced group members for help.
It's a good idea for organizers to try to spot new people, to at least say
hello and make them feel welcome. Name badges are very helpful to break the
ice, remember names, etc.
Do groups have free beer? A few people raised hands and said it's typically
sponsored by recruiters or third-parties. Some go out after the meeting to
Try to have the next meeting topic ready to promote in advance, so people
know what's coming up and can plan accordingly. It definitely helps reduce
organizer stress to have a few speakers lined up ahead of time, and have
backup plans for cancellations.
How to start a new group? Definitely get on Meetup, as the discoverability
factor is worth it. Ask attendees to bring new people. Public libraries are
good for meeting space, as well as banks and other places with a "community
space". Find local companies with devs, as they can help with space, new
presenters and attendees, etc. Look at local universities.
Dues or fees? Depends on need and scope - some charge per event or special
event, some have annual dues, most have none. May need to charge for a
given event to cover expenses to bring in someone from far away.
How to handle recruiter spam? Stop it at the source - moderate your mailing
lists. Be firm, but polite in person and set the expectations for their
behavior at meetings. Some openly allow recruiters to attend and speak or
mingle, and others limit it to before or after meetings or at
after-gatherings. Have solid guidelines for posting to your lists (see
AtlantaPHP's guidelines at http://atlantaphp.org/jobs/ - feel free to use