Tampa Coldfusion User Groups: Coordination Fail

So I was contemplating my first time attendance of the Tampa Bay Coldfusion User Group and wondering how it can start to grow; it has been around for awhile (I never attended before because I suck) and its leadership is changing hands. This was a good inaugural meeting for me as Greg Wilson, our very friendly and competent Tampa-based Adobe evangelist presented on the forthcoming Adobe 9 (centaur) and Coldfusion Builder (bolt). The attendees were a good group of guys (not being sexist, there were just, unfortunately, no ladies present) and I think there is a renewed energy to grow our local user group into something useful and vibrant.

So, while taking inventory of my swag - there is at least one upside to low attendance, though it isn't sustainable - I thought to do a search for "tampa coldfusion developers" and was happy to see that first in the list was an active blog from a Tampa coldfusion developer - potential member, tremendous. So, imagine my surprise to find out that he started his own Central Florida Coldfusion User Group on June 5, 2009. WTF?

First, it is a really, really good thing. Not the least of which as there seems to be no cross pollination between the groups. And it looks like there is a local pool of Coldfusion developers and otherwise interested people. The challenge now is to get the two groups talking and potentially joining together. The existing Tampa group is already well acquainted with Adobe and has really great sponsorship by Kforce - at the very least, Kforce provides excellent meeting space. The new group seems to be acquiring members and be enthusiastic about Adobe and Coldfusion.

However, I'm scratching my head wondering how this happened. Did the Aaron Greenlee, creator of the Central Florida Group, not search to see if there was an existing group? Why didn't the TBFusion guys know about this new group? (I can't say that I would have in their place) Is there something else going on? Hopefully it just all ends well. I'll do what I can to meddle help.

The takeaway, if there is one, is to scout your local area to see who is already meeting. If you have a group, there may be a way to improve your membership in a wholesale way. If you want to start a group, you may be in for a pleasant surprise.

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Comments (Comment Moderation is enabled. Your comment will not appear until approved.)
James Brown's Gravatar While I was unable to come tonight because of a prior commitment, I would LOVE to be more involved with a local group. I wasn't sure how organized the Tampa group was but I would love to join if they are going to have regular meetings. I'm located in St. Petersburg, FL and would love to see more local involvement. I would even be interested in presenting or speaking at one of the meetings. We should try to have more communication between the local members to help build the group. I'd love to speak more directly to any local "ColdFusioners".
# Posted By James Brown | 6/26/09 12:41 AM
Christopher Keeler's Gravatar Funny you should mention that, as I started the SW Florida Flex Users Group, http://www.swfflex.com, two years ago. I contacted the TB CFUG back then, and did not get a response, so I decided to start my own group.
# Posted By Christopher Keeler | 6/26/09 10:10 AM
David's Gravatar Is the other group sponsored by Adobe? They don't like to let competing groups start up in the same area, for good reasons. Maybe the other group would like to join up with you, since Adobe gives away some good software for user groups. You'll need a co-manager that is involved and active if you are going to have a successful group.
# Posted By David | 6/26/09 11:41 AM
jason olmsted's Gravatar @James - I'm glad you found this post. Alex, my co-blogger, and I have been trying to get off our butts to be more active in the area and have been going to Flash-Flex-Air developer group meetings.

Last night was my first Coldfusion meeting, but my takeaway was that there is going to be a renewed effort to become a regularly meeting group and that Adobe, via Greg Wilson and his efforts, is there to help. Finding Aaron and the meetup group that he created is just bonus. I exchanged emails with him and am really hopeful that there is enough of a core of interested local developers to get some momentum going. As it is getting harder to get work justification to make it to conferences, it is all the more necessary to develop a local org that can attract speakers from all over, as well as highlight what we all are doing in the neighborhood.
# Posted By jason olmsted | 6/26/09 11:58 AM
jason olmsted's Gravatar @David - I've emailed Aaron and he seems open to joining forces. Like in Christopher's experience, there was a communication malfunction when he reached out to TBCFUG. I'm only just now going to meetings myself, so I have no idea why there were problems in the past.

And, to be clear, I won't be running TBCFUG, but will be helping out in whatever ways that I can. I'm feeling stupid now for not doing a better exchange of info last night, but I will try to get ahold of them and encourage them to, at least, update the web site. If I get any extra info, I'll post it here - particularly any meeting announcements to which I become privy.
# Posted By jason olmsted | 6/26/09 12:07 PM
jason olmsted's Gravatar @Christopher - I remember stumbling on your site earlier, but somehow lost track of it. Are you meeting regularly in Sarasota? Have you been attending the Tampa Flash, Flex and AIR Developers Group, http://www.tffadg.com/blog/ - all two of them?
# Posted By jason olmsted | 6/26/09 12:11 PM
Aaron Greenlee's Gravatar Thanks for making the communication issue public. The light you have focused on this issue will no doubt help resolve it. I trust the new leadership of the TBFusion group can resolve the communication issue.

I know how easy it can be to become overwhelmed with work and family. That is why I selected MeetUp.com to start the Central Florida Group. MeetUp makes it easy to administer events, welcome new users and foster communication.

For those able to make it, we will have our first kick-off meeting early next month. Details can be found here: http://www.meetup.com/Tampa-ColdFusion/


Aaron Greenlee
# Posted By Aaron Greenlee | 6/26/09 10:25 PM
Greg Wilson's Gravatar Hey guys - I'm standing by to help. Let's spark some life in the group - I'm convinced there are enough CF developers within a 30 mile radius.

Greg Wilson
Adobe Evangelist (lives in Tampa)
# Posted By Greg Wilson | 6/27/09 1:41 AM
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