We had a discussion at the office this afternoon that centered around how to attract a younger group of people to the computer user group meetings. We got several suggestions out of this, but are looking for more ideas.
First of all, WHY do we want to attract a younger crowd? Well, the average age of the groups (Ann Arbor Computer Society, Ann Arbor Dot Net Developer Group, Ann Arbor Java User Group, Michigan Python User Group) is … well … "experienced". We could all benefit from a younger perspective, and the groups could use an infusion of new members. Makes sense to tap the untapped market. Winston Tsang tells me that the Ruby User Group is pretty young, and that's interesting. What are they doing differently, except that it's Ruby? Well, for one thing, the meeting is held on campus. That's interesting, because I initially shyed away from AACS when meetings were held on campus because I thought that it was a student group (it wasn't). I wonder if that would make a difference?
The programming has been pretty "hip" in recent years, and diverse. AADND has been focusing on .NET content, which has left AACS to mainly do "other than .NET". That makes sense.
This month's AACS topic is Domain Specific Languages in Ruby. I think that might attract a younger crowd but I'm not sure. We'll see. Oh yes, and AACS provides free pizza to all attendees, as well.
If you know anyone under the age of 30 that isn't in the habit of attending the user group meetings, can you reach out and explain what they are? Let them know that if they are looking for a job, want to learn more about the industry and/or the Ann Arbor area, or simply want to hang out with other techies for the night, the user groups are a good way to accomplish that. The meeting is at 6 pm.
Hopefully we'll have a big crowd on Wednesday for Joe's talk. And if you can't make it on Wednesday (ahem, or even if you can!), Thursday's MichiPUG (Python user group) meeting will be great as well. The Thursday meeting is at 7 pm.
Both meetings will be at SRT Solutions, 206 S. Fifth Avenue, Suite 200, Ann Arbor.