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!

32 comments:

  1. That's fantastic news Van, and welcome to the wonderful world of getting paid to do community work!

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  2. That's a great news! Congratulations!

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  3. congratulations on your new stint !!

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  4. This is truly fantastic news for you, Van, and for Google. A perfect match up.

    I trust we will still be seeing you at SV-GTUG, not in your old role but in you new Googler role.

    Paul Masquelier

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  5. Congratulations Van. I wishes the best for you. Saludos desde Perú!

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  6. I've learned a lot attending GTUG SV. Congratulations on your new opportunity and best wishes for your continuing success.

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  7. Great news Van! You're officially a Googler now!

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  8. This is fantastic news! Will you be able to do some dev work part time as well?

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  9. Awesome! Most excellent news Mike, congratulations!

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  10. Couldn't happen to a more deserving or more capable person. Working with you and the great people you attract to support the first, & now partly managing the second CLS West event, has been extremely instructive, a rewarding experience, and a great motivator for me. We all know you will do great things Van, and will help many others do so, better and more capably than anyone can possibly expect. Abbas

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  11. You've been a great ambassador for Google, and will no doubt continue to be.

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  12. Fantastic news Van. You'll do amazing work as you always do. I hope we get to work together on many other projects.

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  13. Great to see you in a position where you can do no evil ;-) Good luck and many great community experiences!!

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  14. Congrats! And thanks for the many great events you've facilitated. Kind of interesting that Keith S. of SilVaFug (Flex user group) also moved into the company for which he facilitated a very successful user group - Adobe.

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  15. I can't think of a harder working Community GUY than Van... Congrats Van...it's been a long time coming...Very Cool!

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  16. Van, that totally rocks. Congratulations!

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  17. @AlanC I see this all the time. It is quite common for companies to offer jobs to people that are excelling as volunteer evangelists for their products. I wouldn't recommend going that route solely with job aspirations. The journey must still be rewarding for you or you will most likely burn out quickly. It is a lot of work, but, for folks like Keith and me that enjoy the work. It is a win/win.

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  18. @Alan: Adobe has hired a number of community people into a range of roles at the company - including Keith, at east six in the last 12 months. Having a passion for a company and marketable skills is a solid combination to get yourself hired. (I should probably do a blog post on this....)

    Sorry to threadjack Van! Looking forward to seeing you at CLS West. :)

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  19. Mikey,

    I wish I knew what you were talking about...but I am very happy for you. It sounds like your gift. What a terrific situation to be compensated for doing just that. Hope to see you soon. I need to post that video of Greg from Chrissey field. Take care. Bill Cimino

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  20. Mike Van Riper

    Congratulations on becoming the Google Developer Relations Advocate Leader from London.

    I remember going to JavaOne 2005 and saw your JUG in person at Verisign on my extended stay in California. It was impressive to see Don Brown speaking about Struts 2/ WebWork 2 back then and certainly an inspiration for my own leadership of the Java Web User Group. If I want to get back in the community relation at anypoint in the future, I only need to remind myself of your efforts in the little time I saw them. Google have hired a most excellent community leaderfor today and tomorrow. So Google do not muck up this fantastic opportunity ... I will check back in Dec 2011

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  21. Congrats Dad!!! Might be time to change the ol' occupation on your Blogger account ;)

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  22. Congrats Mike, well deserved!

    Google is pretty fortunate to have you on board :)

    Cheers,
    -Alex

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