Long time readers of this site know my position on User Groups, I love them. I was excited to hear that a new one is holding its inaugural meeting this week.
IBM i Southampton will be holding its first meeting on Thursday, in the city of the same name, Southampton, in the south of the UK. When I learned of this I contacted Liam Allan, who has been working to get this started, to learn more. Liam is someone I am sure we will all be hearing a lot from in the future. This young fellow is a pioneer in working with open source languages and utilities, and with the IBM i. He is a Common Education Foundation winner. And you might have seen him one of one the events he has spoken at in the USA, UK, and Sweden.
I took the opportunity to ask him a few questions on his goals for the new group.
RPGPGM: Why did you decide start an IBM i user group?
Liam: It's about the community. I like bringing people together to discuss what's new. Doing it face to face is always better. It gains interest in new technology that you might not be able to try at the workplace.
Also, knowledge sharing. A big part of what I have learned is from sharing knowledge in person and over the internet. I just hope this continues vibe on.
In your time in the USA have you been to any user group meetings?
I'm not sure if COMMON is counted as a user group meeting, but if it is: then that's the one. Also the RPG and DB2 Summit.
Also COMMON Sweden, which was in Stockholm.
I presume that attending those groups inspired you to form IBM i Southampton?
Of course! I wanted the passion from these groups, but to be more local to me. This might encourage local business to be more open about the platform they use.
What is the status of IBM i and PowerSystems in the UK?
The status is: they're busy. Power Systems always make an appearance at the other user group, i-UG and are very approachable. Last I heard, PowerSystems in the UK is preparing for Power 9. As for IBM i, it's as big as ever - I just hope more people come together with a user group in the South of England.
What are the kinds of subjects you will be covering?
I think one of the key focuses may be open-source technologies. Other than that it will be focused on what issues people are facing and what people are generally doing on the system, be it unique, fun or really generic - people are always interested to see how the platform is used.
When is your inaugural meeting?
The first meeting is this Thursday. 13th October 2016 at 6:30pm BST. Meeting is at a place called Central Hall in Southampton.
Directions, etc. can be found on the Central Hall’s website here.
How have you been promoting the meeting?
Currently, we have a LinkedIn group and a Facebook group. The LinkedIn group got more attention than the Facebook one did, but Facebook is useful for organising events. So I am advertising on LinkedIn and using Facebook to track the event currently.
What are the addresses on LinkedIn and Facebook?
- LinkedIn group https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8566386
- Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/ibmisoton/
Has there been much interest in attending?
It might not be a lot, but I'm hoping for the first meetup that we get around 15 - which is good for a first meetup.
What is the subject of the first presentation at this auspicious night?
Just to get to know one another. Talk about what we're doing with the platform I think. Then we'll come on to topics about new tech I think.
I wish you and the group the best of luck and hope that you do get a great turn out for your first event.
If you are in the south of England this will certainly be the place to be on Thursday night. Go there and be part of the start of something special.
If you want to see if there is a User Group near you check out the User Groups page. If you are member of one that is not on that page please use the Contact Form, in the right column, to let me know its details.