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Community Leadership Summit Results


I want to thank everyone that came out to the Community Leadership Summit in Nashville. If you missed it, don’t worry. There will be another one around CodeMash time.

After the opening comments and lunch, we brain stormed a series of interesting conversations, and then scheduled them in a grid. Whomever came up with the session idea had to act as the proctor, and take notes. Each session lasted about 30 minutes. At the end of all of the sessions, each moderator presented the results of their session. Matt Hester recorded these summaries, and they should be available shortly. Until then, here are the notes. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to enter them into the local community wiki, so if someone wants to do handle that, that would be fabulous. Otherwise, I will try to get to in in October.

At this point I am just transcribing the notes. They are not complete. Many times I don’t know what the intention of the note is. If you know, please leave a comment here, or update the wiki (when that is working.)


Session One: Alternative Meeting Formats

  • Hands on meetings with the topic
  • Geek Dinner : meet out after the event for dinner. Everyone eats Dutch. Great way to socialize and network.
  • Fishbowl style: I know a lot of groups that meet this way. It is a great way to have a discussion about a topic and keep the conversation flowing.
  • Give tickets out for participation for the meeting prizes.
  • Code + Coffee : About 10 people show up before work at a local coffee shop to pair on some code they are interested in. No set topic. Bring some real code, a pet project, or just something you want to look at.
  • Virtual Meetings : Can’t find enough people in your area that are passionate about what you want to talk about? Start a virtual meeting. Using Facebook, Linked In, and services like Live Meeting or Oovoo, you can have your meeting no matter where people live.
  • Lightening Talks : A series of very short and targeted talks by a series of speakers. This is a great way to help new speakers get their foot in the door without a lot of stress and prep work.
  • Open Spaces / Community Courtyard : These are very popular, and most people are now familiar with the approach.

Session Two: Engaging the Open Source Community

  • The project needs a strong leader
  • A good project is easy to patch
  • Have your team adopt a project
  • Tool availability can be an issue
  • Popularity of a project
    • Presence
    • Need
    • Caretaking
    • Ease
    • Source included on install

Session Three: Growing user group membership

  • Membership drive
    • Have a minimum amount of new members for the big prize
  • Appropriate Venue
    • Size
    • Location
    • Perhaps multiple locations on different days
  • Meet the needs of the community
    • job
    • network
    • learn
  • Greet and include new members
  • Paid membership (need corp buy in)
  • Consistency
  • Use email to announce meetings
    • corporate
    • public service announcements
    • collect email of attendees
  • Flyers handed out about next months meeting
  • Golden rule: always have the next three meetings planned out
  • Bring a buddy, get first pick @ prizes

Session Four: Conquering the Digital Divide

  • CAP in Cleveland
  • How to bridge
  • Library free classes
    • use local community centers
  • How to find passion around cause
    • community events
    • after events
  • Work local individuals
    • work with Wal-mart
  • Use the tech community as a resource

Session Five: Providing value for event/UG attendees

  • Networking and relationships
  • People appreciate whenever they can contribute
  • Topic Variety

Session Six: Non Profit Status. When. Why. How.

  • Money
    • 2 board members on the bank account
      • both have to sign each check
      • limits are determined in the bylaws
  • Organization
    • Board of directors
    • Treasurer
    • Code of ethics
    • By Laws
    • Articles of incorporation
  • Submit to the IRS
    • Get temp tax number
    • can be used for sponsorship
    • Temp tax number will become EIN
  • When?
    • If you are taking money
    • Liability

Session Seven: Speaking More Better

  • Role Models
    • Seth Godin
    • Scott Hanselman
  • Dramatic volume and pauses
  • Play a character
  • Slide management (not too many)
  • Should be conversational
  • Reading: Presenting to Win
  • Find self confidence (You are good enough)
  • Audience size shouldn’t matter
  • Join Toastmasters
  • Practice, then practice again
    • Prep time is essential
    • Start with lightening talks
  • define your success factors
  • eval comments are more important than scores
  • Movie: Comedian (Jerry Seinfeld)
    • It is about honing your craft
  • Don’t submit a talk because you want to learn a topic or subject
  • Show the demo, then how to build it

Session Eight: Running a Lean Event

  • Do more with less
  • Prioritize spending with a list of everything at the event. As money comes in, move down the list.
  • Food is the largest variable cost
    • Surveys have shown 85% would prefer a free event with no food over a paid event with lunch
    • Plan for 45-60 minutes for people to go get food. There should be options close. A food court, or bring in a caterer that will take cash on the spot.
    • Do snacks only
  • You can charge a little to cover hard costs
    • $25 is just enough for people to make an easy spend decision, and also big enough to make sure they show up
    • Do a budget, with fixed and variable costs
  • Get T+Cs when people pay for a ticket from creative commons
  • Pizza isn’t required at a user group. You can meet without food.
  • Perhaps dues at a meeting
  • When trying to get a sponsor to renew for a new year, or the next event, send them the info with an invoice to make it easy for them to pay
  • Tshirts are usually a low priority at an event, and can be expensive
    • Have something different. Perhaps tall glasses, $1 each
  • Electronic session guides instead of expensive color printed guides
  • Location: find free space: MS Office, local college, community centers
    • Something free, especially if they don’t require to be the catering provider
  • Beg/borrow projectors and screens so you don’t have to rent them.
  • If using a college, have  student org sponsor you. They tend to have lower fees than an outside organization
  • Tap your network for resources
  • Liberally use the resources available to you at your company (use the photo copier, etc.)

Session Eight: Women in Tech

  • Digi Girls
  • Digital Eve
  • Start young
  • Channel 9
  • Games
  • TV Shows

Session Nine: Sponsorship ROI

  • Cool by association
  • Being elite is more marketable
  • training/brain dump
  • Reduce investment
    • Employee pays for part, or takes time off if the company pays
  • Community events build experience, which improves their marketability as a consultant
  • Networking … Local – people travel
  • Retain top talent
  • Email list
    • sales
    • recruiting
    • marketing


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