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LUGs are important - they are very VERY important

Mat Newman  June 26 2011 15:36:06
Lotusphere is a HUGE event.  As anyone who had made the trek to the mecca of all things IBM/Lotus would know, the cost of conference fees and accommodation can often be dwarfed by the investment required to get there.  However, at UKLug I was a little surprised at the response when Warren Elsmore asked during the OGS how many people had actually been to Lotusphere.  To a man, the respondents were almost exclusively the speakers and organisers, out of the 300 strong crowd the number of attendees who had made the trip was minimal.

I was surprised because getting to Orlando from the UK isn't as cost prohibitive as getting there from Australia.  When I asked the same question to local user groups earlier this year in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne,  I was not surprised that so few of us (Australians) have had the benefit of a Lotusphere experience.

Often during economic downturns, such as the recessions currently affecting much of the world, the first thing that is often cut from many IT budgets is training.  For the people who run your IT infrastructure, whether it be as an Administrator, Developer or Manager, this can have a dramatic effect on the solutions deployed to run your business.  Keeping up with new technology, and even taking full advantage of what you already have, can often come down to one or two little gems learnt during a training course or at attendance at a conference.  The old adage 'If it ain't broke...' is often raised at times such as these to counter the justification to send staff to training.

Many years ago, WALNUT (the Worldwide Association of Lotus Notes Users and Technologists) meetings provided Admins, Developers and IT professionals with a meeting point - often a social gathering - where problems, solutions and experience were freely shared among the participants.

During the last couple of years, the resurgence of the Lotus community, particularly through user groups (more affectionately called - "LUG's") has helped to address the decline in education and further understanding among users and specialists.  These LUG's are usually FREE for attendees, and provide content that is compelling for the best implementation, deployment and management of IT infrastructure based on IBM/Lotus software.

The other important aspect of LUG's is the ability to socialise and network with your peers, to share your experience and discuss solutions to common issues, often whilst enjoying one's favourite beverage.

Following inspiration from UKLug, ILug, BLUG, IamLUG and many others, a team of dedicated Australian enthusiasts and evangelists has come together to produce the FIRST all-Australian Lotus User Group meeting.  We have huge ambitions and aspirations and we are working to bring the cream of talent from across the country and around the world to provide a conference that will ensure YOU are able to make the most of your IBM software investment, and receive a glimpse of what's just around the corner.

AusLUG now has dates and our venue locked in, for more details, to register your attendance, to sponsor the event, or even notify us that you are interested in speaking, please visit the registration page on the AusLUG web-site.

Lock in the dates, August 29th and 30th, 2011 at the Aerial Function Centre in Sydney, Australia.  And don't forget - thanks to our generous sponsors, attendance at this event is FREE!

And don't forget to follow us on Twitter, join our group on LinkedIn, or like our page on FaceBook to receive the latest news and updates surrounding the event.

We intend to bring a little bit of Lotusphere to you, because WE know that LUG's important ... they are very, VERY important!
Comments

1Aidan Cooper  06/26/2011 18:57:55  
LUGs are important - they are very VERY important

One of the greatest benefits of the User groups is meeting people who work in the same technologies, facing the same issues and being able to offer advice. Unfortunately, companies usually just ask you to list what sessions will be relevant and what you'll be able to bring back. It's hard to put a price on the value of the networking opportunities available at the LUG's. Certainly from my point of view it will be disappointing to miss out on something like this, seeing as we get so few opportunities in Australia for training and discussions of this kind. I'm sure it will be a good one.

2Theo Heselmans  06/26/2011 19:21:30  
LUGs are important - they are very VERY important

Mat, Barry and the rest of the crew: thanks for having the guts to start a LUG at the other side of the world. You're getting yourselves into a lot of work. It will give personal satisfaction, but above all you will make a lot of (local) people happy too.

Educate, share, learn, network, but make sure you are having fun!

3David Schaffer  06/27/2011 1:42:13  
LUGs are important - they are very VERY important

Mat: For those of us in the US the cost of travel and lodgings at Lotusphere is a bargain, but the US$2,000 fee is the often the stumbling block. Free and low cost LUGs are a great resource that more folks should avail themselves of.

That said, the online training that is proliferating is also a big help to me. Both IBM and the community -- and you quite noticeably -- are to be commended for that.

David

4Mat Newman

06/27/2011 12:43:49  LUGs are important - they are very VERY important

@1, Aidan: I'm glad you've highlighted one of the major benefits of attending an event such as AusLUG - meeting other people who work with the same technologies as yourself with whom you can share your experiences, THAT introduction alone is invaluable. Unfortunately, it's also intangible. One day someone will work out how much value there IS in 'community' and be able to put a $ value on it. From my own experience, it's priceless! We hope to have some news shortly that may change your attendance plans.

@2, Theo: Thanks for the advice mate - Yes it is a load of work, and thankfully Barry and the team are sharing the burden. Thanks again for all of your support and assistance. THAT is what community is all about!

@3, David: Thanks for the hat-tip mate. You are right about the free LUG's, the biggest problem is making people aware of them. It's not restricted to being aware of LUG's though, I'm still surprised when I encounter someone who hasn't even heard of PlanetLotus! Maybe someone needs to dress up in a yellow suit, jump around like an old style court jester, get noticed outside 'the bubble' and then use that profile to help spread the word ;-)

Mat Newman IBM Champion

5Albert Buendia  06/27/2011 16:44:54  
LUGs are important - they are very VERY important

Mat, you're so right !!

One member of the ESLUG had an idea: make Lotusphere free for the IBM Champion winners.

{ Link }

The best for the AusLUG group !

6Mat Newman

06/27/2011 18:36:06  LUGs are important - they are very VERY important

@6, Albert; LOL - next someone will be asking Alistair to vacate the top floor for the reception ;-)

Seriously though, we hope that we can live up to the standards set by yours, and other events around the world. Next step, reaching people who aren't aware of the community who use the software so we can ensure they are involved!

Mat Newman IBM Champion

7Software  06/28/2011 15:38:00  
LUGs are important - they are very VERY important

Often during economic downturns, such as the recessions currently affecting much of the world, the first thing that is often cut from many IT budgets is training. For the people who run your IT infrastructure, whether it be as an Administrator,

--------------

Sandy

Mat Newman

THE Lotus Notes Guy. Productivity Guru. Social Evangelist. IBM Champion for IBM Collaboration Solutions, 2011/2012/2013. IBMer. Views are my own.

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