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How to Start and Grow a JUG: Community Corner 2009 Podcast

Posted by editor on July 2, 2009 at 5:45 AM PDT

Have you ever thought about starting a Java User Group? Matt Stine spoke with me at JavaOne about his experiences with starting and growing the Memphis/Mid-South Java User Group in a java.net Community Corner podcast titled JUG Leadership: Lessons Learned. Go to Matt's blog to get the slides so you can follow along as you listen to the podcast.

Matt works at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. He started the Memphis/Mid-South JUG in 2007. The JUG reaches out to three states: Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi. Matt started the JUG soon after JavaOne 2007. He put up a web site, and serendipitously the JUG's biggest sponsor saw the web site and expressed interest in providing support almost immediately. Carol McDonald also found out about the new JUG and came in to speak early on.

So, Matt doesn't feel like it was all his doing that the JUG got off to a strong start. But keeping the group going is something I think he can take a lot of credit for. He had the experience of belonging to a JUG in the 1990s. That JUG did not continue, so Matt was quite aware that there's more to keeping a JUG going than just creating it.

Matt's two years of experience with founding and growing the Memphis/Mid-South JUG led to a list of eight key points of advice, the lessons learned that he offers to other JUG leaders and anyone who might be thinking of starting a JUG. I can't go into all the details Matt presented in our almost 26-minute talk in a blog post, but here are Matt's eight focal points for starting and growing a JUG:

  • Web Presence
  • Cultivate Sponsorship
  • Network
  • Grassroots Marketing
  • Encourage Participation
  • Wide Topic Spectrum
  • Never Say No
  • Stay the Course

It was a very interesting interview for me. I'm not a JUG leader, but I do think there are similarities between my role as java.net editor and what a JUG leader tries to accomplish. We're both trying to bring people together and stimulate participation and community that is hopefully beneficial to everyone who participates. In fact, as I sit here writing as I re-listen to the podcast, I find myself wanting to find my local JUG (I'm in rural Northeastern Connecticut, the "Quiet Corner"), schedule a visit, and maybe even give a talk of some type...

It was great to have Matt in for the JUG Leadership: Lessons Learned podcast. I learned a lot, and I think anyone who is considering starting a JUG or who currently leads a JUG will come away with valuable information from listening to the podcast.

You can find all the 2009 java.net Community Corner podcasts on our JavaOne Community Corner Podcast page.


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Have you ever thought about starting a Java User Group? Matt Stine spoke with me at JavaOne about his experiences with starting and growing the Memphis/Mid-South Java User Group in a java.net Community Corner podcast...