Why It’s Called a User Group…

On Tuesday night was the first meeting for PASSMN, the SQL Server User Group in Minneapolis/St. Paul this year.  As the new Chair, I came early and got the announcements rolling, the LiveMeeting set up and the SWAG laid out.

For this meeting, Joe Webb of WebbTech Solutions was presenting on writing good queries via LiveMeeting.  No big deal, right?  When it came time for him to take over I was unable to make him a presenter.  I am sure there is something I missed, but I was unable to get this resolved.  Joe and the users, to their credit, were very patient as we tried worked through the technical issue.

After struggling with LiveMeeting, Joe and I decided to have him send me the slides and he would have to direct traffic via the conference call we had going.  About that time one of our users (Bob) came up to the podium and suggested that we try http://join.me.  This would allow Joe to share his screen with us so we could see the demos he had ready for us.  Joe fired up join.me and he was able to do his presentation complete with demos.

I think there are a couple of lessons learned from this experience:

  1. Check the LiveMeeting or conference call prior to going live
  2. Always have a backup plan (which for us is join.me. (Check it out, you may find it useful in your group as well.)
  3. Users can and should contribute, it is there group after all

While 1 and 2, I will try to remember each time never forget because I will remember join.me and the call capability of our space, number 3 may be the most important.  Because a user rescued me and the meeting Tuesday night we were able to enjoy Joe’s presentation.  This even spurred additional conversation afterwards about the importance of users being involved in the group.

So, in that vein, users, you need to step up and contribute whenever there is an opportunity.  You are the key to the success of every user group out there.  Thanks for your ongoing participation and contributions, it matters.

User group leaders, we need to find more ways to get more users involved in our groups.  PASSMN has a six member board with more opportunities at events such as SQL Saturday.  We continue to encourage more involvement and are looking at ways to grow the speaking skills and the speaker base in our group.  Without users our group will die we need them.  A group of one is not much fun.

Our meeting was a success because a user stepped up to help out.  Thanks again Bob.  You helped me survive my first meeting as the Chair and MC.


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