As part of our new PHP User Group Program, each month we'll tell you all about one of the user groups that makes the PHP community great. This month we highlight Austin PHP. We sat down with Logan Lindquist, one of the organizers of this group. Here's what he had to say:
How did the group get started?
The AustinPHP group got started about 10 years ago with a few people showing up every month in coffee shops around town. The original creator has since moved on, but we have several of the original members who have been attending for over 9 years.
What is a typical meeting like?
We have two meetings a month. Our learning/sharing focused meeting is the 2nd Thursday of every month. During this meeting we encourage members to speak about topics they care about. We have a pool of experienced speakers in Austin to draw from, so we try to intersperse these throughout the year. Our second meeting is on a different night, normally on the 4th Wed. It is a social group, or the Subgroup as we call it, focused on getting to know one another over beers. It is a great networking opportunity that doesn't distract from the learning focused meetings.
What kinds of resources do you offer to your members?
We are in the process of building a set of approved training and reference materials for our members, no matter what their skillset is. In the past, one of our most experienced members, Josh Butts, has taught classes on PHP. We give out lots of free stuff. Tshirts are very popular. We are hoping to do another batch this year. We have a book sponsor with enough to last a year. We have awarded through contests or raffled off tickets to PHP conferences. What I think everyone appreciates the most thou is all the free beer at the Subgroup every month.
What's the structure like of the group? Is it pretty informal, or do you have a more formal structure?
We have two organizers (Josh Butts and Logan Lindquist) who run things and the rest of it is pretty informal.
What makes your group so awesome?
The web community in Austin is the best in the world. I think a large part of what makes the group so awesome is where we live and who lives here.
What advice would you give to someone starting their own group?
Pick a night that, ideally, doesn't conflict with any other group. If your group is related to an already existing group, talk with the other leaders in the community to let them know your intentions. Most of the larger groups would rather be inclusive instead of exclusive. Splinter groups just hurt the larger community as a whole.
We are happy to be sponsoring their meeting on August 9, and speaking about Lithium. We'll also have plenty of swag and festivities on hand. If you'd like us to consider your group for the User Group of the Month, please make sure you join the PHP User Group Program.