This is a difficult one to announce, but I have to let everyone in the Fox community know that I’ve made a drastic change to the Sydney VFP User Group.
In this post I’ll outline the reasons why and the outcomes I am hoping for.
Firstly, I need to let people know that the Sydney VFP UG is effectively closing down.
In its place I am starting a new group which focuses (in a broad, general sense) on Business and Technology, designed primarily for software managers, team leaders and software company owners.
Secondly, I want to outline why this has come about, because it has not been an easy decision in many ways (although in some ways it has). The basic reason is due to poor user group attendance. With so many other avenues available for Visual FoxPro content, many developers were finding it difficult to make the trek over to the user group each month. These things tend to go in spirals, so with less people attending, there is less chance to network with people, and it gets harder to organise speakers, and then the cycle repeats. This meant that lately the effort put in by speakers and myself was hard to justify. I felt that my time and theirs could be much better spent serving the developer community in other ways.
Thirdly, let me explain why I picked the ‘new’ direction. Interestingly, in many ways the group had been heading down that path anyway. The talks had started to encompass business related sessions (Eg sales, marketing, perception) and the technology topics had opened up (Design Patterns, .Net, SQL Server, etc). So, in a way the new group is really just the culmination of changes that had been happening over the last 6-9 months. But for me personally, I tried to follow a path that is of interest to me (what’s the point of running a group you are not interested in?) So, for me, as CTO for a software company, I picked a direction that applies to me. I expect there are many others (including some of the senior managers at Talman) for who this will also apply. Time will tell if it is of enough interest to keep the group going. I am hoping so.
Fourthly, I need to be honest and say there will be very little in the way of VFP content at the new UG. When Sedna is released, there will definitely be a session on it, but other than that, not much. I feel it important to state this upfront rather than try to fumble through with some ‘it is just the same VFP group with a few other broader sessions added’ distracter.
Finally, I want to reassure people that this is not me abandoning VFP. It seems odd that I should have to say this, but one of the reasons that I held onto the group so long was because I was worried about the signal ending it would send to the community in general (in and outside VFP). But I realised recently this was silly. Although there will probably be a few people upset (and perhaps even one or two who throw a few stones – send your emails here btw firstname.lastname@example.org) I am convinced this is the right decision. I expect many attendees of the new group to be Fox people, and in turn I hope that many of the new attendees get to hear about VFP from me and them – perhaps for the first time. And let me state that I still plan to continue with other VFP ventures like OzFox.
So, there you have it. A difficult decision, but an exciting one in my opinion. I hope you agree, or at least understand.
Thanks to those who have been very supportive (including almost all of the current UG members) as I’ve worked through this process.