Purpose Of This ‘PHP User Group Interview’ Concept
This is the #4th set of ‘Know Thy PHP Usergroup‘ in an attempt to create more awareness of:
- what is $this PHP UG about + get to know the leaders/Founders/Community behind it
- what is a PHP User Group in general
- to personally know all the PHP user groups Around The World – that excites me and I hope you too!
This concept is also a good opportunity for new #elePHPants to know about PHP UGs.
PS: Are YOU the founder or organiser of a php user group? Get in touch with me for a similar interview, make a comment below with your email and I’ll get back to you!
Join This Concept And Initiative On Facebook & Google+
This 7PHP “Know Thy PHP usergroup” Series also has a group on FB and G+, do join us there!
Welcome To The Las Vegas PHP User Group
>> Hi Adam Englander, tell us a bit about yourself..
I am a technology profession with nearly 30 years of development experience with the last 7 having PHP as my primary language.
>> What is a user group?
A user group is a place where users of a particular service or technology can take advantage of disperse levels of knowledge and expertise among the members to increase their own skill level.
>> What is your User Group about?
Helping new developers build their skills through eduction and mentorship as well as helping seasoned PHP developers keep up to date on advances in frameworks, libraries, and utilities that aren’t part of their daily route.
>> The exact place where this group resides?
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
>> The web presence of this group
>> Your motto?
None in particular
>> What are the objectives and aim of this user group?
The Las Vegas PHP Users Group is a group dedicated to PHP developers learning from and teaching each other. Many PHP developers are experts in one segment or another. This group will be an opportunity for all of us to teach what we know well and learn what we do not. All skill levels are sought after. If you are looking to teach, learn, network, or just mingle, join the group and participate on the adventure.
>> When was it first launched?
Mar 2, 2013
>> Number of people in the group
183 members as of today
>> Could you briefly tell us about the key people behind this group and their respective roles
I am the founder and coordinator. I do basically everything related to the group.
>> Could you lay down some “daily routine” or functioning of this group
Day to day there is not much to do. We make the majority of the decisions at the regular meetings. I do get information requests from time to time and respond to those.
>> How is the routine task dispatched among the team?
There are other members that assist from time to time but I do the bulk of the work.
>> How many meetups have been organised till now?
We have had twenty-five meet ups to date.
>> How do you plan your meetups and what is involved?
We have regular meetings and the topics are usually picked at the end of the previous meet up.
>> Frequency of meetups
We currently meet twice per month. One meet up is for a full presentation. The other is a learn and hack that is currently geared toward newbies.
>> The average number of attendees to meetups
We average 25-30 for the presentation met up and 10-15 at hack nights.
>> The highest number of attendees to meetups
Our highest attendance was 35.
>> Do attendees comprise only members?
We do not restrict attendance to members ad have had non-members attend on occasion.
>> How do you go about finding sponsors, what are the key aspects to successfully find sponsors?
The first sponsor for the group was my own company and it paid for the groups website presence on meetup.com. The expense in minimal.
The second sponsor was a co-working space for our meeting location. We have multiple co-working spaces in Las Vegas that were thrilled to have our group meet at their location. I was introduced to the co-working locations through local developer events.
The final sponsor was found by just looking at the sponsors for other user groups around the country. I found that JetBrains had sponsorships on a number of groups throughout the country and reached out to them. They provided free licenses for raffling off at our meetings. I also reached out to O’Reilly for discounts on books to our members.
>> Challenges involved in finding sponsors?
We didn’t really have any challenges finding sponsors but our expenses are minimal.
>> Do you also organize conferences open to the general PHP Community? Frequency?
We do not currently.
>> On what criteria does the team select speakers, what are the key areas that you seek to select a speaker
So, far we have picked relevant topics the groups wants to hear about. If we don’t have a group member volunteer to give the presentation, I will find a subject matter expert in the community to speak about it.
>> Rejection emails, how do you handle them?
I haven’t had to reject a speaker yet. We have some amazing subject matter experts and primary developers and contributors on some popular open source projects.
>> What unique opportunity does leading a user group, presents?
I certainly get a lot of interaction with local CEOs and CTOs. I also have had the opportunity to interact with the leaders of the other user groups in the community. It has been a fantastic networking opportunity for me.
>> How is it different from other PHP user group?
I can’t speak for other cities but I know that it’s different from the last user group that died a few years back due to the rapid evolution of PHP, its frameworks, and its tools. The past couple of years has seen an emergence of truly game changing open source projects in PHP. There is plenty to learn and plenty of people wanting to both teach and learn.
>> Things that it excels at, as compared to others
We excel at having a fantastic core of very high level PHP developers that are willing to teach.
>> Areas where it lacks as compared to others
- We haven’t really hit our stride in the learn and hack for beginners.
- I also think we haven’t really gelled as group and come together to author any open source software.
>> Lessons learned so far
- Just do it.
- Plug away and spread the word.
- Use any and every available social platform at your disposal to spread the word.
>> How is organizing and running a user group different from organizing a conference?
A conference is a long planning cycle with a beginning and an end. A user group is a continuous and short cycle.
>> A mistake that you made and would like to share with us
We haven’t made any glaring mistakes yet but it’s only been a year.
>> Your message to the people who are part of the group
Spread the word and share your knowledge.
>> Any message to the external world?
PHP has become an exciting language with so many tools and frameworks it’s impossible to keep up. Help each other and we all benefit.