Category: Alfresco Meetups

Crikey! Alfresco Day Sydney is Almost Here

Sydney Opera HouseCrikey! Alfresco Day Sydney is almost here. On Thursday, August 22, I will be with the local Alfresco Sydney team at the Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel. We’ll be doing a day long meetup aimed at both business and technical audiences. We want to show anyone who is interested what Alfresco has to offer.

I’m hoping to see strong representation from customers, partners, and other community members. I want to get you all talking to each other about how you are using Alfresco, what’s worked, what hasn’t, and what we can do to help you be more successful with the platform.

I’ll be giving talks on CMIS, developer fundamentals, and how you can get involved with the Alfresco community. We’ll also have talks from Alfresco customers and partners.

If you haven’t signed up already, you can do that here. I look forward to seeing you in Sydney!

Alfresco Berlin Meetup Agenda

On Friday, May 10, we’ll be having a half-day meetup in Berlin, Germany in conjunction with the Codemotion conference happening at the same time. Everyone is welcome to attend and there is no cost, even if you are not registered for the Codemotion conference. You can register for the meetup here. The agenda will be as follows:

15:00 to 15:15 Welcome (Jeff Potts, Alfresco)
15:15 to 15:45 Introducing the Alfresco API (Jeff Potts)
15:45 to 16:15 Group Discussion: How Are You Using Alfresco? (All)
16:15 to 16:45 SmartWCM (Florian Maul, fme)
16:45 to 17:00 BREAK
17:00 to 17:30 Enhanced Script Import Tooling (Axel Faust, Prodyna)
17:30 to 18:00 Alfresco Workdesk (Bernhard Werner, Alfresco)
18:00 to 18:15 Invitation to Join the Community (Jeff Potts)
18:15 to 19:00 Bratwurst, Beer, & Networking

If you would like to present a 30-minute customer case study on how your organization implemented Alfresco, please let me know.

Earlier in the day I’ll be giving a talk at Codemotion Berlin on CMIS and Apache Chemistry in Action. So, if you are at Codemotion and you want to learn how to use an industry standard API to manage content in ECM repositories like SharePoint, FileNet, and Alfresco, come to my talk.

I hope to see you there!

Alfresco Stockholm Meetup Agenda

On Monday, May 6, we’ll be having a half-day meetup in Stockholm, Sweden. Everyone is welcome to attend and there is no cost. You can register here. The agenda will be as follows:

13:00 to 13:15 Welcome (Jeff Potts, Alfresco)
13:15 to 13:45 Introducing the Alfresco API (Jeff Potts)
13:45 to 14:15 Customer Case Study (TBD)
14:15 to 14:45 Alfresco Administration Best Practices (Redpill-Linpro)
14:45 to 15:00 BREAK
15:00 to 15:30 Media Viewers Add-On (Peter Lofgren, Loftux)
15:30 to 16:00 Alfresco Workdesk (Barbara Lemke, Alfresco)
16:00 to 16:45 Lightning Talks
16:45 to 17:00 Invitation to Join the Community (Jeff Potts)

If you want to do a lightning talk (probably 5 minutes, max) or are interested in presenting a case study on how you implemented Alfresco in your organization, please let me know.

I hope to see you there!

Alfresco virtual meetup via Google Hangouts on July 2

On Monday, July 2 at 13:00 US/Central 19:00 London time we will have the first-ever Alfresco virtual meetup using Google Hangouts on Air. Planned panelists include Luis Sala, David Draper, Chris Paul, and myself. We’ll be talking about some cool side projects these guys have going, including a low-level JavaScript client for Alfresco called AlfJS, a Share Activities Browser Plug-in, and a look at Alpaca, a client-side forms and templating engine.

The meetup will be broadcast live on the Alfresco Google+ Page and recorded for later viewing on YouTube. Join us!

9 Things You Must Do to Have a Good Meetup

I spend a fair amount of time encouraging the formation of local community meetups around Alfresco and, when I can, attending many of these in all parts of the world. Alfresco meetups are especially fun because I get to meet people I’ve previously only known through the forums, IRC, or twitter.

I’ve started to identify characteristics of successful meetup groups. I thought I’d share them here and maybe others will add their ideas to the list.

Set an (interesting, relevant) agenda

Some meetups are staunchly anti-agenda. They exist because it is fun for people in the same or similar profession to get together to socialize. These have their place. For Alfresco meetups, however, I think it makes more sense to have a set agenda for each meeting. Sure, the agenda can have a “socializing” item on it, but I don’t think an Alfresco meetup that is based purely on socializing will last.

It’s also important that the agenda be interesting and relevant to your local community. I can’t tell you what that agenda is. You as a local community organizer should know. If you don’t, ask your attendees. Your attendees might be mostly technical. If so, you may have a code-filled agenda. Or, you might be completely non-technical so your agenda will be about end-user issues and solving business problems with Alfresco. I’ve been to some meetups that have a mix of both, so they start with a general interest topic and then split into technical and non-technical breakouts. The key is to know your group and what is going to work for them.

It shouldn’t be up to you to set the agenda for every meeting anyway. Make it a group effort. Or maybe rotate the responsibility.

Share responsibility

Speaking of that, find ways to get more people involved. A lot of these groups start out because one person is particularly passionate about a topic. That’s fine in the beginning, but look for ways to get others involved. It’s less work and it forms a stronger nucleus when others share the burden of the work that goes into consistently providing a quality meetup on a regular basis.

Provide food and drinks

It’s an easy win. A lot of times these meetings happen over lunch or dinner. Providing something to eat and drink helps people make the decision to come to your meetup when they are torn between their usual lunch spot and your meetup. Plus, pizza and beer are cheap crowd pleasers. Of course not everyone drinks beer so it’s a good idea to have something else on-hand, but you get the point.

In small groups, depending on the makeup, you might rotate refreshment duties. Or, try to get someone to sponsor your group and let them pick up the bill.

Foster connections

One of your roles as a community organizer is to act as a connector. You have a unique insight into each of your attendees’ motivation for attending the meetup so when you see two or more people that can help each other meet their goals make that introduction. The more connections you can make the more likely it is those people will return.

You might also consider setting up a channel for collaboration that can happen between meetings.

Publicize your meetup

Once you’ve set a time and a place for your meetup, you’ve got to get the word out. Many local Alfresco communities use but there are alternatives. Regardless of where you host information about your meetup, make sure you are listed on the Local Communities wiki page.

If you are a partner and you are hosting or helping organize the meetup, contact your clients that are in the area and give them a personal invitation. You might even follow up on the day of the meetup to make sure they are coming.

If you let me know about your meetup I can help get the word out by inserting a blurb about it into Alfresco’s “Event Roundup” that goes out each month. I can also tweet about your meetup on my account and Alfresco’s.

I think sending out tweets a week prior, the day before, and the day of works pretty well.

Prohibit hard sales/recruiting pitches

If it turns out that your meetup is just an excuse to sell people your products or services, or people are descended upon by packs of rabid recruiters the minute they walk in the door, you’ll kill any chance you have of building something cool and long-term. No one wants to take time out of their personal schedule to hear a sales pitch. If you are a partner hosting the meetup, pay particular attention to this. People may walk in the door skeptical–you don’t want to confirm their fears with a hard sell.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t mention who donated the space or who paid for the sandwiches. If you want to keep getting free space and sandwiches you’ve got to do that. Just be cool about it. I think giving a sponsor two minutes to talk about what they do while everyone is grabbing a drink is reasonable.

As the meetup organizer it is your job to work with the rest of the group to establish ground rules about acceptable behavior and to swiftly (but professionally) deal with people who act outside the norms of your group.

Pick a central location

I live in Dallas, which isn’t just a city, it’s a “Metroplex”, which, roughly translated means, “No matter where you decide to have your meetup, someone’s going to drive an hour or more to get there.” That can make picking a meetup spot tough.

Especially when you are starting out, look at who’s coming and where they are coming from and try to pick a central location. You can try a different location for each meeting, but I’ve found that you will end up just getting a different set of attendees each time based on where the meeting is. There’s no easy answer. The best advice is to pick a central location, near main arteries and mass transit, make sure your start time comprehends traffic patterns at that time of the day, and make your agenda compelling enough that someone will want to make the journey.

Welcome everyone

It is important that everyone feel welcome at our meetups. This idea of inclusiveness is comprehensive. It covers everything from your relationship with Alfresco (Enterprise customer, Community user, partner, employee) to your demography (age, race, religion, sex, orientation). Everyone shares in the responsibility of fostering a welcoming atmosphere and raising the issue with the group its leaders if something is out-of-line.

Have fun!

Last, your meetup has got to be fun. We all sit in mind-numbing meetings as part of our day job. Why would we want to spendĀ  personal time in yet another one? Part of this is about encouraging interactivity. Don’t just have presentation after presentation. Ask the attendees to share short stories about their projects or implementations. Maybe set a common goal to develop an add-on for the community and challenge another local community to do the same.

If you are organizing local community groups around Alfresco and you haven’t yet introduced yourself to me, please do so. I can also hook you into our community of community organizers, which we call Team LoCo (I stole the name from Jono Bacon). And, if you have additional thoughts on what makes a great meetup, please share them in the comments.

Worldwide Alfresco 4.0 Community Release Party

You have probably heard that Alfresco 4.0 (formerly known by its codename, “Swift”) will be officially released in the Community edition at the end of September. I’ve been playing with the latest Community code sitting in subversion and I have to tell you that, although there are still plenty of issues to resolve, I’m getting pretty excited about the release.

I know I’m not the only one that’s been looking at 4.0 with building anticipation toward an official release. So here’s what I think we should do. Let’s celebrate. This year, the week of October 10 shall be known as the Week of Worldwide Alfresco 4.0 Community Release Party Meetups! Wherever you are in the world, pick a day that week and get together with 1, 10, or 100 other people and share why you’re excited about 4.0. It doesn’t have to be formal and you don’t have to go to a lot of trouble. Grab Community 4.0 from the download page when it becomes available (or use one of the nightly builds or build it yourself), install it, and give a demo. Or just get a conversation going about favorite new features, when/how you plan to upgrade, or how you are using Alfresco today. Exactly what you talk about doesn’t really matter–the point is to celebrate this major release.

I’ve already spoken to several of the local community organizers around the world and they are totally into it. Madrid, Paris, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Jakarta, The Netherlands, and Southern California are all likely to have events going on the week of October 10 to celebrate. I believe Germany will be doing some virtual meetups online. To help you find these and others that will hopefully be inspired to spring up, refer to this wiki page that lists new or still-forming meetup groups. If you don’t see one there, go to Alfresco Meetups Everywhere and sign up. When another person in your area signs up you can organize a time and a place to meet.

I really want to see this happen. And I know the way to an Alfresco Geek’s heart is through his or her stomach. So if you promote your plan to have a meetup the week of October 10 via Twitter, and then you post pictures of the event on Flickr tagged with “Alfresco”, you can submit your food receipt to me and I’ll reimburse you up to $100. If you plan to take advantage of this you must register your interest with me two weeks prior to your meetup date so I can get you the details. Just shoot an email to jpotts at alfresco dot com with your plans.

I’ll also try to get a “What’s New in Alfresco 4.0” presentation posted, maybe with some screencasts as well, to help with the content.

There you go: A major release of the software to the community, free food, and starter content. The only key ingredients remaining are you, your laptop, and a friend or two. What do you say? Are you in?

Last-minute San Diego Alfresco meetup on 7/13

A few of us are getting together in San Diego tomorrow (7/13) at the Hopping Pig to wallow around in some Alfresco topics. Want to join us? Hop over to the Orange County/San Diego Alfresco Meetup Google Group to let us know you’re coming, to check on logistics, and to be advised of last minute changes. This is an informal networking/planning type of meetup, so there is no formal agenda for this one.

Enjoyed the Atlanta Alfresco Meetup last week

Last week I joined about 15 other Alfresco fanatics for the Atlanta Alfresco Meetup. The attendees braved some seriously crappy weather to attend. We’re talking about trees falling on roads and power outages so I was pleasantly surprised it was more than just me and the guys who work in the building that showed up.

I gave a talk on my high-level plan for the Alfresco Community. Then, Dimy Jeannot of Armedia gave a project walkthrough based on some work they did with Alfresco Web Quick Start, the Web Editor Framework, Google Fusion Tables, and It was a good progression from business need to code. I think this particular meetup group is looking to get even more hands-on in the future–they’ve got a hack-a-thon style get together in the works.

Thanks to Dimy and Doug Bock for organizing the meetup and to Jim Nasr of Armedia for providing the location and snacks. I look forward to more great events from this group in the future.

This meetup was what I hope will be the start of several locally-driven Alfresco meetups happening around the world (see “Getting Involved with a Local Alfresco Community“). I know that the Boston, Washington, D.C., and Southern California groups are all planning on getting together soon. I’ll be at “Alfresco Day” in Madrid on June 22nd, which is an Alfresco-led event. I’m hoping to see (and attend) locally-driven Alfresco meetups in Spain and other parts of Europe later this year. South Africa is also planning an event that I’m really excited about.

If there’s not already a meetup in your corner of the world, put your name on the Alfresco Meetups Everywhere page and you can collaborate with others to get one started.