Centers of Gravity

The past couple of years something interesting has been happening with the Linux Users Group, it’s growing. After a long number of years of lulling in the low 20s and sometimes teens in meetings, we’re now regularly in the 30s and ran up past 40 folks twice last year. Our last meeting had 34 people in the room for the lecture, and 19 come out to dinner afterwards (and this is all in a new location that’s slightly harder to find). I’ve had various theories as to why, but another one cropped up last night after the Hudson Valley Drupal Meetup: Telecomuters.

There is a new reality out there, with a very large chunk of the population telecommuting. But giving up an office means giving up lunch with colleagues, and the small talk and hallway chatter that gets the brain juice flowing. These things are really important for a healthy psyche, and a healthy business, so people are reaching out for new face to face venues to get those interactions. This has taken the form of coworking spaces, regional conferences, and users groups. These are becoming new centers of gravity for the tech world.

Last night, after the Hudson Valley Drupal Meetup, some really cool connections were made between local folks, and I’m really excited to see what comes out of it. None of it would have ever happened without this growing constellation of face to face technical communities we’ve got in the Hudson Valley: MHVLUG, Squidwrench, and emerging so, the Drupal Meetup.[1] I am really fortunate to be a part of this, and to have great peer Organizers in Sean Swehla and Ben Stoutenburgh that are equally dedicated to fostering this. While each of these entities are distinct things, they feed into each other very strongly, which is becoming a great virtuous spiral.

If you haven’t checked out your local technical community, you are missing out. Start with Google and Meetup and see what’s going on, because you might be really surprised and impressed with what’s in your own back yard.

1. I play favorites here because these are the groups I’m actively involved with, but we’ve got a more comprehensive list at the HVSTEM Calendar.

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