2019 state of the ugroup

>In my world, the Chicago AWS user group wraps up in early December. Post-reInvent there isn't much time to plan an event beyond a Holiday Party. Plus, on the plane back from Vegas I was able to pour my brains onto a page.

Thinking back to last year we had a lot of hits:

  •  membership keeps growing. Over 4,200 Chicagoans
  • Moved from spotty meetup.com attendance to Eventbrite tracking – easier for hosts and security. No more ‘you can’t get in’ after jan 2018 event (sorry!) and No more waitlists!
  • More and different sponsors, hosts, venues
  • More and different talks, speakers and topics
  • 1st ever Community day in Chicago working with regional ugroup leaders
  • Growing interactions with AWS Chicago office and awesome SAs, reps
  • Serverless workshop with the Serverless group – 1st hands on, longer format event
  • More events with other Chicago groups like OWASP, serverless and DevOps
  • First ever Galentines Day event – for women/nb by women/nb but not exclusive
  • 1 full year of having website with FAQs, contact form
  • Another year with a code of conduct and no incidents or complaints
  • Slack group has grown and more active - #askexperts and #jobs most active
Rooms with improvements:
  • More diversity efforts – no women applied to speak at Community Day. More intro-level topics to welcome all levels. We'll be adding pronoun stickers to all events to be more welcoming.
  • Community day was very Chicago heavy, with speakers and attendees. But let's be honest, Chicago AWS users are the best ;)
  • More AWS topics like IoT, ML, AI, mobile, enterprise/work tools, topics for non-tech folks like APN partnerships, on boarding, managing, etc
  • There are tech evangelists in USA - let's get them to Chicago
  • We emphasized in person events with no recording/ live stream but it didn’t change attendance or help anyone who can’t be there for schedule/mobility/social obligations reasons
  • Still not 100% transparent about talks vs pitches for sponsors. Need better ways to clarify with sponsors and convey value of $$
  • More repeat sponsors and speakers. Balance ‘the usuals’ and newbies
  • Website updates – blog? newsletter archive; bigger links to slides/videos past; updates; photos from past?

We did another year-end survey, and got great feedback. I'm so glad I've just asked people what they want for topics rather than guessing! The usual topics are always big: security and serverless. New topics requested are containers, infra as code, and AI. I'm excited to put them together.

new in 2019.001

What's next??