Sat Dec 31 2011

31 days ago, I decided to spend each day of December exploring the technical community across the Midwest. I knew I would just scratch the surface of our larger community, but my goal was simple, just start. January 20th 1961, John F. Kennedy made the famous statement during his inaugural address:

"And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."

Community is everywhere, it's all around us. Church, Sports, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and of course our own technical communities. When I see people complaining about communities online, I sit there an just wonder, why? Why do they feel the need to invest so much energy complaining online? I am always reminded of what John F. Kennedy said, stop complaining and either be a true part of it or try and fix what you think is broken.  Community is exactly what you make it, nothing more. Community doesn't owe you anything.

Gandhi once said, "Be the change you want to see in the world"...

As a software developer I think it's important to always do two things. One, step back and celebrate. Two, learn from the past while continually improving. When it comes to communities, we all have a thing or two to learn from our peers, not only in "your group", but the groups around you. There is so much to learn, why would anyone ever do it alone?

I want to thank everyone across the Midwest and beyond who helped support me over the past 31 days. I know I missed groups, and this doesn't stop today. Over the next few months, myself and anyone who wants to help will be starting a new site called The purpose of the site is to help consolidate and distribute information across our technical communities, and anyone involved with them. For the past 31 days I've gathered a great deal of information about communities across the Midwest, that of course is one example of the information that you will see on the site. It's just a start of a larger journey, one where we can start to break down some walls and join together.



Group City Post
MADdotNET Madison
Wausau Area SharePoint Users Group Wausau
ECRuby Eau Claire
Fox Valley .NET Users Group Appleton
Black Hole .NET Marshfield
Greater Milwaukee Script Club Greenfield
Chippewa Valley . NET User Group Eau Claire
MADdotNET's Geek Lunch Madison
WI .NET Users' Group Milwaukee


Group City Post
angleBracket Grayslake
Chicago DNN OakBrook
Sangamon Valley .NET User Group Springfield
Chicago .NET Ninjas Chicago
Chicago SharePoint Users Group Chicago
Rockford .NET Users' Group Rockford
Chicago Sencha Chicago
Chicago SBS Users Group Chicago
Chicago Windows Phone Developer Group Chicago
Chicago Visual Studio ALM Users Group Chicago
Software Craftsmanship McHenry County McHenry
Chicago ALT.NET Chicago
Chicago Information Technology Architects Group Chicago
CNUG Downers Grove
Lake County .NET Users Group Grayslake


Group City Post
South Bend Software Craftsmanship South Bend
SharePoint Users Group of Indiana Indianapolis
.NET Users' of Ft. Wayne Ft. Wayne


Group City Post
Central Ohio Windows Phone User Group Columbus

Again, a huge thank you to all of the communities leaders for helping me make this possible. Make sure you thank them too.