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The Rational Guide to Building Technical User Communities (Rational Guides) (Rational Guides) [Paperback]

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Item description for The Rational Guide to Building Technical User Communities (Rational Guides) (Rational Guides) by Greg Low...

In The Rational Guide to Building Technical User Communities, Microsoft Regional Director Greg Low explains how the most successful user communities succeed by focusing on people rather than technology. He explains the differences between user groups and user communities, how to ensure productive meetings, the importance of using speakers effectively, and tried and true methods of recruiting and growing a group. He also discusses the best uses for technology, remote and online communities, and the ins and outs of group dynamics. Advanced topics include legal and financial issues, such as funding, insurance, and sponsors.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   125
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.25" Width: 6" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 13, 2007
Publisher   Rational Press
ISBN  1932577327  
ISBN13  9781932577327  

Availability  0 units.

More About Greg Low

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Francis E. Low is Institute Professor Emeritus of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. With over 40 years in the field, he has lectured and published widely on theoretical and particle physics.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Computers & Internet > Digital Business & Culture > Culture
2Books > Subjects > Computers & Internet > General

Reviews - What do customers think about The Rational Guide to Building Technical User Communities (Rational Guides) (Rational Guides)?

Good collection of advice  Mar 14, 2008
This book does a good job of covering a variety of topics related to starting and maintaining technical user communities. The author's opinions come from years of working with user groups in various capacities, and all his opinions are backed up with stories from his own experiences. His ideas seem to be mostly common sense, but it is helpful to have all the information aggregated in one location.

The book is easy to read and is a good length. I found the discussion of recruiting volunteers to be very helpful. The one point on which I disagree with the author is his opinion that meetings should always have two topics. I certainly don't have the experience that the author has, but I have found that there is just not enough time to allow for disussion, handle group business and giveaways, and cover two topics in a reasonable amount of time.

Overall, I was very pleased with the book and will be passing it around to the rest of the leadership of our user group.
Easy going, sound advice.  Nov 9, 2007
Greg Low has been involved with technical user communities for some time. He is well known in Australian developer circles (and further afield) and is a frequent speaker at conferences as well as a Microsoft regional director. I'm currently helping to run the Perth .NET user group, so I was glad to receive a review copy of this book from Greg, curious to see if there was something we could be doing, but currently were not.

The writing style is conversational, easy to read and interspersed with recounted stories. The book is divided into the following chapters:

People, Not Technology
Something for Everyone
Finding Speakers
Tried and True
Pizza Does Not Define a User Group
Don't Reinvent the Wheel
Recruiting Members
Content and Handouts
Using Technology
Recruiting Volunteers
Conducting Meetings
Tips for Presenters
The Fine Print

The book makes it clear from Chapter 1 that "Communities, whether technical or not, are about people" and the reasons why people are motivated to get involved with a user group are examined.

In Chapter 2, "Something for Everyone", Greg describes his strategies for making meetings have relevance to all attendees:

- Avoid Single Topic Meetings
- Avoid Increasing Depth
- Some Repetition is OK

This advice might seem to fly in the face of how many user groups are organised but his explanations make good sense. I think this chapter could be summed up by the following quotes, which in other settings might seem cliché or hackneyed: "Participation is very important" and "Everyone wants to feel valued".

I think Greg did a good job of keeping the book short and easy going; I read it in 2 sessions over 3 nights. Not all of the advice will fit every user group, but I would be surprised if a single user group did not found something of interest that they can put to use. There are many valuable ideas that can be quickly put into practice. It was pleasing to find out that our group seems to be following much of the advice given in this book.

The only negative thing I found that was that there were a few short paragraphs that were repeated, but maybe that was just to drill in the message!

If you are thinking of starting a technical community or even already involved in one, this book is certainly worth reading.

[BTW Greg, the tale of the Avocado mouse pads made me smile!]

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