A question from a User Group first-timer.

From my inbox (blogged with permission).

Paul,

I’m somewhat new to the XPages stuff. As a software developer, I have found your site (along with many others) to be very insightful and helpful when it comes to making my brain into a sponge. I appreciate all the work you have posted here, it is very beneficial to us newbies.

What I wanted to ask you was regarding MWLUG next month. This will be the first MWLUG that I will attend, and I’m trying to figure out exactly what I need to bring, what sessions I should be going to, etc. I live in the Indianapolis area, so I’m fortunate to have it located in my back yard. Anyway, any advice you could give for a first-time MWLUG attendee would be greatly appreciated. (Hopefully there are more like me out there, because there really isn’t any information/tips anywhere online that I could find. I just want to be sure I bring everything I might need.

Thanks again.

____________________________

Chad Smith

 

There are many tips I can give.

  • Dress code is typically casual.  Business casual if you feel more comfortable but suits are few and far between
  • Remember the speakers are doing this for free, so be appreciative
  • Go to sessions that interest you.  I tend to stick clear of IBM marketing sessions, but they are few and far between after the keynote at Lugs
  • If you like the way someone blogs/writes, there is a good chance you will like the way they present
  • Look at the sessions that are not selling things,  unless its honestly selling them and doing it in a non-shitty way (that’s a personal rule).
  • Keep an open mind.  Something you hated a few years back may be better now
  • Remember the organisers do all this for free, so thank them and buy them a beer
  • The sponsors typically don’t do a hard sell at these events, but they have paid for everything so do keep and open mind and take a look at their products.  You never know that something could be useful to you.
  • Some speakers (IBM and non-IBM) say things they would not get away with at a real conference.  If they ask you not to tweet something, be good enough to comply.
  • Remember that everyone for the most part is as enthusiastic  as you.  Feed of it.  Talk to people. They want to share stories.
  • Bring business cards
  • Bring personal internet access (wifi usually suffers)
  • Try to stay near or at the venue
  • At all times, Obey Wheaton’s Law

But please, do join in if you have tips, or have a blog post where you already cover this.

13 Comments »

  1. Kathy Brown Said,

    July 25, 2013 @ 7:06 pm

    Meet people. Even if you aren’t a people person. Everyone there is a geek, so say hi. Go to any and all social events, like lunch, drinks after (even if you don’t drink). Networking is as useful (if not more) than the sessions.

  2. Tony Holder Said,

    July 25, 2013 @ 7:16 pm

    And make sure you go to Speed Sponsoring, it’s a great way to get a quick intro to the sponsor’s products and decide who might have something that might help you.

    Also, if you drink beer, go to the home brew contest on Wednesday, there will be some great beers! :-)

    Looking forward to meeting you, Chad.

    Tony.

  3. Ray Bilyk Said,

    July 25, 2013 @ 8:42 pm

    Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and feel free to ‘talk shop’ after hours, especially with a beer/beverage in your hand. I found the best interaction happens when people are just being themselves.

    Also, like Paul said, “Keep an open mind.” We’re all in this together!

    Can’t wait to meet you at MWLUG, Chad!

  4. Devin Olson Said,

    July 25, 2013 @ 9:18 pm

    +100 on Speed Sponsoring. I’m no longer a Vendor so I gain nothing from agreeing with Tony on this. Speed Sponsoring is a FANTASTIC event, well worth your time.

  5. Richard Moy Said,

    July 25, 2013 @ 9:58 pm

    As the MWLUG co-organizer with Gregg Eldred and also a sponsor, Speed Sponsoring is a great event. It is fun watching us sponsors try to talk as fast as we can in a short few minutes and near kill ourselves trying. Hopefully the MC for this event will be nicer on us sponsors this year. Sponsors are the ones that make this event possible. So take the time to meet them. Most of them will not bite.

    LUGs are much more relaxing, fun and you will find that speakers, sponsors, and attendees all are willing to talk and help you. LUGS like MWLUG shows the true meaning of what is “Social”. This is a community event so make sure you introduce yourself and join us in our enlightening conversation.

  6. John Stockbridge Said,

    July 25, 2013 @ 9:59 pm

    I especially like the part about buying the organisers a beer. Could all AusLUG attendees remember this for next year please.

  7. Vitor Pereira Said,

    July 25, 2013 @ 10:08 pm

    You forgot to mention berocca :-)

  8. Richard Moy Said,

    July 25, 2013 @ 10:18 pm

    John,

    I agree.

  9. Giulio Campobassi Said,

    July 26, 2013 @ 2:02 am

    @JohnStockbridge… Hear! Hear!

  10. Chad Said,

    July 26, 2013 @ 2:20 am

    Wow, thanks to everyone for their insightful responses. These suggestions have certainly helped my preparation for next month. It’s nice to have a sense of the atmosphere with this event before heading into it. Thanks again, and thanks for Paul for posting this. Look forward to meeting you all next month!

  11. Roy Rumaner Said,

    July 26, 2013 @ 3:44 am

    Chad, the most important thing that hasn’t been mentioned is that everyone at a LUG is part of a big extended family. True there are some people there that remind you of that weird uncle no one talked about or that third cousin twice removed that you have never met and for good reason, but after all that, we are still a family. We all bleed Yellow, okay, now we bleed Blue. Hey, does the combination make us Vulcan? No one is any more or less interesting than you, some are just more outspoken and want all the attention but who doesn’t want that among their peers. Just go, have a good time, meet as many people as you can, try to get their business cards, learn as much as you can handle efore your brain explodes, thank all the sponsors and make sure you remember to bring your chargers. If you are staying at the hotel don’t expect to get much sleep – the party goes until Gregg Eldred decides he is tired and sometimes I swear that man is a machine. Hope to meet you there.

  12. Andreas Imnitzer Said,

    July 26, 2013 @ 9:19 am

    Welcome Chad, speed sponsoring is extremely funny and gives you great information for planning your time at the LUG and making decisions. For myself, from some of the posters of the sponsors, I could not tell what they’d like to sell. And being shy, I didn’t want to ask and go in a long conversation to just find out, I can’t need the product. Speed sponsoring gives you “anonymous” quick info, and you can come back to the sponsors later.
    Oh, yes. have a beer budget. You can sleep at home, when you are back from a LUG. This community makes it easy for you to participate, when you are open.

  13. Mike Poole Said,

    July 26, 2013 @ 10:14 am

    Lovely post Paul

    Before sadly moving away from Domino development, my one UG visit was the Belfast one a few years ago that you ran. All your points stand

    I would say to definitely speak to people. As Kathy says, everyone is a geek and like minded and you never know what networking may bring you in the future

    . Swapping ideas/war-stories/concerns can be quite liberating and just confirm you aren’t the only person in a certain situation.

    I was stressed about stuff at work and where things were going – 10 mins of speaking to Bill Buchan and I was a completely different person!

    And after sessions, it takes 10 seconds as you pass someone in the bar to say “great session, thanks”. I tried to make a point of doing that – not always possible but “manners maketh the group”!

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