Friday, December 3, 2010

The Most Amazing Thing To Me

Some people would say it is pretty amazing all the volunteer community work I managed to do over the years with Java User Groups (JUG), Google Technology User Groups (GTUG), and Community Leadership Summits while still holding down a full time job as a web developer in Silicon Valley. The most amazing thing to me is that I will start getting paid to do community work as part of the Google Developer Relations Team on December 13, 2010. Or as Steve Martin would say, "the most amazing thing to me is ... I ... get ... paid ... for doing ... this."

I have the dot com bubble burst to thank for getting me started in my developer community efforts. When I escaped the imploding Silicon Valley startup world for a safe haven at VeriSign in 2002, I started the Silicon Valley Web JUG in early 2003 to scratch my own itch simply because I missed hanging out with other Java developers. I had no idea it would lead to me being part of a Global Community of JUG Leaders or that I would be the one creating our JUG Community Map or that I would eventually be selected by my peers to be a Java Champion. Of course, none of that would have happened without the support of Aaron Houston during his tenure supporting the JUGs at Sun or without Kevin Nilson coming on board as my JUG Co-Leader when I was on the verge of volunteer burn out.

I have Chris Schalk to thank for prodding Kevin and me to start the Silicon Valley GTUG. When we held our first GTUG meeting in January of 2008, we had no idea that three years later ours would be the longest running GTUG with 2400+ members. It has been wonderful to see the explosive growth recently in the number of local GTUGs all over the world. Stephanie Liu has done an amazing job supporting the GTUGs over the past two years. I am so looking forward to working with her to keep the GTUG momentum going strong.

Finally, I have Jono Bacon to thank for organizing the first Community Leadership Summit (CLS) in the summer of 2009 and Marsee Henon for putting the bug in my ear to organize the first CLS West in January of 2010. It was my involvement in the main CLS and subsequently in CLS West that made me realize it was time to make the move from software development to working with developer communities for my day job. If you get a natural high from hanging out with other community leaders like I do, then come party with me at our second annual CLS West gathering on January 15th, 2011.

That's All Folks!