In the last 3 weeks, I've been getting my community on. I started organizing a PHP User Group here in Northwest Indiana, and I actually got a meeting planned, talked to some people about sponsoring, and reached out to some local businesses. My wife finds that incredible because those aren't things aren't in my wheelhouse, like at all. I'm also going to be reviving a SugarCRM User Group out of our office in Chicago, which will be a little bit different feel. I look back a few weeks though, and I think about the progress I've made with trying to organize people; it's hard freaking work. That being said, without people in the PHP community being so willing to help, mentor, and guide, none of it would even matter.
To put this in perspective though, I've been going at it for a few weeks with NWIPUG; if you know me at all then you know emailing local businesses to tell them how awesome this is going to be and emailing companies to ask them to sponsor the group (ie give me free stuff to give out) is something I'm not comfortable with and I don't like doing. I've got 7 people registered on the meetup.com page and 1 person so far that has RSVP'd to the first Meet and Greet event. It's hard work, and it's so rewarding when someone joins your group and says they're going to come talk to you about PHP for a while.
I have to talk about the really awesome group of guys that make up Secret Project Sentinel. Interacting with Sean, Patrick, Chris, and Neal has been great; it's people in the community like them that reach out and befriend you and help you grow as a developer. I'm fortunate enough to live close-ish to Patrick and got a chance to checkout LKPUG up in the Northern Suburbs, and I'm sure I will again.
The last thing I wanted to touch on was that Grumpy had put out a call on Twitter that he was looking for people to mentor in the ways of testing. I was grateful to be one of the 3 people he selected to mentor and I can't say enough about how cool of a thing that is for someone to do. Obviously, I'm going to learn as much from him as I can, use the things I learn as much as I can, and teach the things I learn as much as I can. It's really been a great couple of weeks and I can't help but be excited for what's to come.
The only community that I have found that's even remotely close to how the PHP Community operates is the running the community. For those that don't know, I get my jollies by running really long distances, cramping up, throwing up, all that good stuff. Something about being reduced to a sobbing bag of bones makes you respect the other people that do that to themselves. If you are serious at all about PHP, or if you manage PHP developers, you need to start going to conferences and user groups. To have so many great people willing to help you out and not take advantage that is stupid. If you don't know how to get involved ask someone, tweet me @mfrost503, go in the #phpc IRC channel, or checkout meetup.com.
In an exchange that pretty much sums it all up today:
mfrost503: ...being awesome is exhausting
rdohms: hell yeah it is...but it's worth it
That's the community I want to be a part of!