Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Starting a .NET User Group

In February of this year I took a new job and we moved to Duluth, MN to be closer to my wife's family.  One of the things that I'd  noted while researching the area, was the presence of a well established meetup surrounding web development.  I saw they had monthly meetings and a surprisingly a large number of members for the size of the local area.  I also noted the absence of any formal meetup centered around the .NET technology stack.  Having served for a short period on the board of the North Houston .NET User Group, I felt that the community could benefit from a similar organization.

At work I'd mentioned to a coworker the desire to start a .NET user group in the local area.  I was directed toward another co-worker who was also wanting to formalize a group around .NET.  After a few months of throwing ideas back and forth, we finally decided that the best way to get it off the ground was to set a date and have a meeting.

I tasked myself with setting up a basic web-site http://www.duluthdnug.org/, and putting our information out at http://www.meetup.com/Duluth-NET-User-Group/.  It feels mildly redundant to do both, but we figured having a website couldn't hurt when it comes to the matter of obtaining sponsors.  I did some research and found http://www.ineta.org/ which "maintained" a listing of .NET user groups.  I say "maintained" because upon submitting our user group for listing, I was notified that INETA is dissolving.  Bummer!  Next step was to submit information about our group to all the companies I could find online that offer user group sponsorship, Jetbrains, APress, elastic, etc.  Our workplace was gracious enough to provide a conference room for the meetup.  With all that in place our group is official as it gets!

We are headed into our third meeting next month.  Our first meeting had 6 people, our second had 10 and now the total group membership is 24 members.  We look forward to growing the group within the next year!

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