Last Tuesday I had the privilege to present at the Seattle DotNetNuke User Group, a group created by our very own Scott Willhite ( DotNetNuke Director of Community Relations ). Originally Charles Nurse had been invited as the guest speaker but due to a personal scheduling conflict he was unable to make it, so Scott Willhite asked me if I could fill in and I enthusiastically agreed.
This was a short notice request, so the best I could do is present a pared down version of the State of the Union keynote I presented at OpenForce 2009 in Las Vegas. This would certainly not classify as the technical deep dive which I am sure Charles was planning; however, the audience still seemed to be pleased with the content.
The SEADUG meeting was hosted at the offices of Personify Design, a website design and development firm located in downtown Seattle. I was really impressed with Personify’s spacious offices; especially the beanbag chairs, big screen television, and beer fridge! On a serious note, Personify has been working with DotNetNuke since version 2.x and has implemented some mission critical sites for very large organizations, including the Bellevue School District and City of Snoqualmie.
The user group meeting had approximately 12 members in attendance, but its important to note that its not always the quantity but rather the quality of the individuals which makes for a really productive meeting. Like most User Group meetings, one of the primary benefits is the ability to network with folks in your geographic area who share a common understanding and passion for a specific technology; in this particular case that technology being DotNetNuke. Some folks at the meeting were looking for answers to technical questions, others were looking for recent news about project, and others were looking to connect with experts in the Seattle area. It was really diverse and interesting group, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
One of the things I really like about User Groups is the two-way communication channel. Obviously, the User Group members get to pose their questions to the guest speaker but I also like turning the tables and utilizing the opportunity to get direct feedback from community members.
At this particular meeting, knowing that the majority of the audience had been members of the DotNetNuke community for a number of years, I thought it would be a perfect chance to get some feedback on the recent changes to the project and community in 2009. Specifically I asked them how they felt about DotNetNuke Corporation’s venture capital funding, the introduction of a commercial product, and acquisition of the Snowcovered Marketplace. I thought I may need to put on a helmet to protect myself from flying objects, but in fact I was pleasantly surprised by the response.
Overwhelmingly, the members of the group indicated that they felt the changes to the project were extremely positive. Specifically, a couple people mentioned that it has become much easier for them to convince clients DotNetNuke is a viable content management platform because of the fact we now offer a commercial version and professional support. One person mentioned that some of their fears about the longevity of the platform have been mitigated because there is now an understandable business model. A few other people also expressed that although they were initially very concerned about the platform becoming more proprietary and fracturing the community, they feel very comfortable with the “open core” model we are employing as it provides community members with an equal opportunity to leverage our core APIs. Many people indicated that they have been impressed with the number of significant releases we have delivered since being funded, and the improved product quality.
Overall it was good to hear such positive feedback, and I know we can raise the bar even higher in 2010.