Back in February when I was given access to an Azure MSDN account with free credit to use I was a little lost. After much searching on the Internet and trial and error I started to figure things out within the Azure world, but I was hungry for more. After more time on the Internet I discovered that there were no user groups in Glasgow or Edinburgh where I could go and get some helpful hints and find other Azure users. So I thought, right let's start a group!! After a survey on Twitter checking to see what demand there was for the group I organised a meetup in a Starbucks in May. Despite it being on a Bank Holiday (a faux pas on my part) we had eight people turn up to chat and start the ball rolling on what was wanted/needed from the group. Now that I had a rough mandate from interested parties I set out about getting sponsors to help provide us with user group essentials, a meeting room with projector etc, pizza and beers. My first port of call was to reach out to my contact at KEMP Technologies as I knew they had previously worked with user groups, and much to my delight and surprise they kindly offered to be involved and provide the group with support. My second port of call was with my contacts at HAYS Recruitment. I had also had good experiences with HAYS when I was on the job hunt and thought they would be a good fit for trying to grow the user group. Again much to my delight the team at HAYS were super excited about the idea of the group and came on-board as both the venue sponsor and food/drinks sponsor. I also managed to secure the excellent services of Product Forge to live stream and record our events.
On the 23rd August we held our second meetup in HAYS Glasgow City Centre offices. We had David Samuelson, Adrian Lavery and Christos Matskas speaking. And with over 25 people in the attendance it was a great success. At this point we were very pleased to welcome on board Servent as a venue sponsor giving us access to the large meetup space within Collabor8te, also in the Glasgow City Centre. This venue space allows us to host meetups with up to 80 attendees. Our third meetup was held on the 25th October, we had Declan Gildea, Kenny Lowe and Gemma Allen attend as speakers. The theme for the event was Azure, Security and HoloLens and was well attended with nearly 40 people in our new venue. The last event of the year was held in conjunction with the SQL Glasgow User Group, bringing the two vibrant communities together. This time our speakers were Ed Baker and Stephen Armory, and they focused on the latest ways to share files within the Cloud and the various different data platforms available within Azure. It was a great end to the year with 30 people in attendance, and 20 people watching live on the live stream as well.
With over 170 followers on Twitter and over 60 subscribers to our newsletter at the time of writing this blog post it's great to see the IT community getting so involved with the group. In 2018 we are planning six events on the following dates:
- 21st February
- 25th April
- 27th June
- ]29th August](https://gaugaugust18.eventbrite.co.uk)
- 24th October
- 12th December Tickets are available for some events already. As a group we will also be getting involved with TechUG when it comes to Glasgow on the 22nd February.
I am looking for speakers for next year's events, if you would be interested in speaking at an event please reach out, via our speaker submission form. User groups are a great place to dip your toe into public speaking if you've never done it before, Samuel Mullen wrote a great article about why you should consider speaking at a user group - http://samuelmullen.com/articles/why-youre-not-speaking-at-user-groups-and-why-you-should/
Thank you to everyone who has supported the group this year and I look forward to seeing you all in the new year!