Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Well, that was disappointing

For last night’s UtahValley.rb meeting (Sep 25th), we had two Microsoft guys come fly in to talk about IronRuby and another hacker come to talk about Ruby.NET. I was deeply disappointed—not by either of the projects or the presentations, but because we only got 5 people to show up, and as we all know “Five is right out.”

So, what went wrong? We (Mike Moore and I) talked things up on the URUG mailing list over the last three weeks, Mike tried to engage the local .NET groups, we even came up with a bunch of schwag to give away (three books and a copy of Halo 3). With all that, we still had one of the poorest turn-outs in a while. I can think of several things that might have been the problem:

  • there’s just not a lot of local interest in Ruby on the CLR/DLR—but even if you’re not interested in that implementation (I’m not), this was a pretty cool opportunity to learn more about it and about Ruby in general.
  • there’s just not a lot of local interest in Ruby—I really hope this isn’t the case, we have almost 260 people on the mailing list and are looking forward to another regional Ruby Conference in the spring.
  • we have a bad meeting night/time/place— if this is the case, please let me know what would be better.
  • the local rubyists don’t want to be involved in a users group—I just don’t get this at all. It seems like there are a lot of ruby users in the area who know about the group, but won’t join the mailing list or participate in meetings. To me, local Ruby Brigades are just about the best resource you can find.

I’d really like this to be more than just a rant. Please (especially if you’re in URUG, the UtahValley.rb, or a rubyist in Utah County) let me know what you think, I want to make the UtahValley.rb as successful as it can be.

8 comments:

Ben Mabey said...

Hey Pat,
I'm sorry to hear you had such a poor turnout. I try to make it out to every URUG meetings in SLC and so I think location plays a part in this as well. While I was interested in learning about these implementations the drive just wasn't possible/worth it for me. I think fellow URUG rubyists not living down south would say the same. For larger events like this one (having people fly in) perhaps a more central location would allow more people to come. I realize that this should of been raised during the past three weeks but I always assumed that the utah valley URUG group was strong enough to warrant that kind of meeting by themselves. Perhaps URUG is too fragmented and we should maybe combine all meetings in a more central location.
-Ben

Joe Eames said...

I myself am VERY interested in Ruby on the CLR. In order to have any possibility of doing Ruby at my current job, then having it integrate with the CLR is the only way. I haven't been to a Ruby meeting in a while because of time constraints, and the reason I didn't attend last nite was for that exact reason. Even living in southern SLC it was still a bit too far to go, in conjunction with all the other things I have going on right now, and last night was just particularly bad.

Levi Pearson said...

I'm really sorry to hear about the poor turnout. I only found out about the meeting yesterday, and I was planning to go, and then my wife informed me that I had to attend a pinewood derby. :/

I was definitely set to go to the meeting, but if the program didn't look as interesting as this one, I would probably have decided not to drive all the way down to southern Provo.

Chris Cameron said...

I wanted to go to the meeting last night and am actually interested in the possibilities of using the .Net libraries in Ruby apps.

I often want to make it to the meetings, but it's rare that I can. I don't know what everyone else's situation is, but nights are just nearly impossible for me to take out and make the meetings. I have a family with four kids and so nights are always spent on family stuff.

I want to spend more time with other Ruby programmers and sharing more about Ruby, what if we had a day time meeting, maybe an extended lunch. If people are using Ruby in their jobs wouldn't their employer be smart enough to give them an extra hour for a Ruby luncheon. For me I primarily only do Rails apps, I'd love to have a Ruby on Rails luncheon once a month. I'm curious what other people think about it, would a day time group meeting actually work better and improve attendance?

vontrapp said...

I live in Provo and still didn't make it. There are numerous reasons that added up. For one, I didn't really know about it. It shows up on my calendar (from the xml feed) so I knew there was a meeting, however the interest wasn't strong enough that I remembered it. Which is what I mean about not knowing, I didn't know what it was about. (Granted, I'm not all that interested in CLR ruby, but I am interested in door prizes :). The urug list is actually a very loud list, not so much noisy, it's very on topic, which is good, but the sheer volume makes it difficult for me to even look at it when I'm in school and have homework and labs and such. So either having more info in the xml feed or maybe a more focused mailing list for utahvaley.rb would help with knowing about the meetings. Third is just plain time. I'm very busy during school and I just don't have a lot of time. Between plug, uug, and urug I have to be selective about the meetings I attend, which means a meeting has to spark a particular interest to get selected, which goes back to knowing more about the meetings.

Anyway, hope that helps you understand where at least one uruger is coming from.

Jacob Fugal said...

In my case I've been rebuilding resolve to start coming out to meetings on a more regular basis. Over the weekend, I had got to the point of committing myself to go to the very next URUG meeting, but didn't know at the time when it would be (I haven't had time to keep up with the URUG list for a while and don't subscribe to the XML feed -- I should).

Monday I got in to work and checked my email and noticed that the meeting would be Tuesday -- which is great as Tuesday is still one of the few nights a week I have open -- but my elation fell as I realized that just the day before I'd made a separate commitment for this particular Tuesday. :(

So that's my excuse for not being there this month, but I *really* do want to get back into the swing of the group, so if you don't see me at the next meeting, you have my permission to badger me with extreme prejudice!

Ken Cluff said...

I feel terrible about missing the meeting. Especially, since I spent a lot of time trying to find the meeting up at BYU on Tuesday. (The "map" still shows the Utah Valley group meeting in the TMCB on the 4th Tuesday.. ) I'm new to web development and really like the potential of RoR. (I'm a backend/SQL dev my self).

I'll pay closer attention to the emailings, but I'm pretty interested in learning/participating in the local Ruby groups

Tim O'Brien said...

I would have been there, but the drive from Chicago would've been a bit much for me to deal with just for this meeting :-)

Seriously though, I've always had a problem motivating myself to go to UG meetings, even local ones.