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.