Growing technical user groups into startup communities

First in a series about growing a startup community

 

CTDOTNET-Logo1Starting from 2006, Connecticut .NET Developers Group (CTDOTNET.Org), a technical developers group, grew from about 300 in its membership list to about 2300 today. Its monthly meetings, usually held at Microsoft Farmington CT office, has an average attendance of about 50 professional developers. Annual Code Camps are held at the New Horizons Training Center with attendance of 120 to 150 each year during 2008-2012 (the 2013 6th Annual Code Camp had over 160 attending the event). The technical content of monthly meetings and Code Camps are topical – representing the evolving Microsoft .NET platform and technologies for web, database, mobile, cloud computing and enterprise applications development. Event speakers included local developers, book authors, Microsoft MVPs and Microsoft technical staff.

The recent years has shown a high growth of applications sold directly via online stores for mobile & other platforms: Google Play, Apple App Store and Microsoft Windows store. The online store lowers the barriers to entry for the application developer. In addition, the decreasing costs of development and hosting of web applications has unleashed creative applications and ideas from developers. Majority of CTDOTNET members are enterprise developers working at major corporations. The corporate enterprise IT market is about $1Tn in size and has shown an ongoing growth of various applications in healthcare, financial services, ERP, CRM, and other sectors.

While the events and activities of the technical group continue, there remains a need to address the user group members who seek to evolve from a software developer to a software entrepreneur. To answer the need – the Connecticut Developer Startups (CTDEVSTARTUP.Org) was formed earlier this year. Its past three events contained topics ranging from business planning, app stores, lean startup and insights from various software entrepreneurs who have already launched their ventures. The focus of this new group is on the business side of software and independent of any technical platforms – Apple, Google and other platform developers are welcome. Refinements for this new startup community are still being worked on, including a new Meetup group ‘Software Startups’ for event announcements and other information.

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