Friday, April 25, 2014

ORCLAPEX NYC - First Meetup!

Calling all APEX Fanatics in the NYC area, there's a new Meetup for you: ORCLAPEX - NYC. Here's a link to our first event!

Inspiration in New York City and abroad

I moved to NYC in 2013 and I've been loving it here ever since and for many different reasons. Something I've found to be very inspiring are all of the meetups one can join. I typically do 2 monthly meetups (AngularJS NYC and BooklynJS) and 1 weekly meetup (NY Pluralsight Study Group). I've found the meetups to be a great way to learn new things and meet people with similar interests in technology.

Oddly enough, I wasn't able to find an APEX specific meetup in NYC or any other city for that matter. I thought about creating a group but decided to put off any serious consideration until I returned from APEX World (late March 2014). However, while in Holland I had a conversation with Peter Raganitsch who confessed he was considering starting something similar. We decided to work together.

Conspirators and co-conspirators

About a week after returning from APEX World, Peter and I met online to brainstorm. We both wanted something fun, local, and unique. But we also saw some value in something shared or connected too. After our conversation I was convinced to try to start an APEX related meetup in NYC (he would take on Vienna). At that point I needed to find some co-conspirators...

One of the many advantages of living in NYC is having Marc Sewtz as a neighbor! I'd met with Marc and another member of the APEX team, Patrick Maniraho, for lunch a few weeks before APEX World. We had talked about how nice it would be to have a local APEX meetup so I reached out to them to see if they were interested in bringing one to life. They were on board immediately. Marc reminded me that Josh Millinger lived in the area and after a couple emails he was on board too. At the same time I was also talking to others outside of NYC and Vienna - more on that later. With the co-founders in place we moved on to the next steps.

Marc was able to secure us a room in Oracle's offices in Manhattan (woohoo, thanks Oracle!). Next we needed to plan the event. As luck would have it Peter was coming to NYC just about a month out. We asked if he would be our first guest speaker and he accepted. I hope his fiancee can one day forgive us for asking him to work on their vacation - we just couldn't resist. To round out the content we decided to have Marc kick things off with a brief overview of APEX 5.0.

In addition to the two talks we wanted another way to let the attendees participate and we eventually settled on Lightening Demos. The idea provide folks with up to 5 minutes to demo something cool that have done or a little trick they may know that could inspire or otherwise benefit the group. Finally, knowing that we'd be in good company in a great city, we figured we'd head out to a local restaurant or bar when the meeting is over - something we're calling APEX After Hours.

Out of the shadows

Once we had a plan for the first event I started a new group on named ORCLAPEX NYC and started working on various content. Here's the About Us:
This is a group for anyone in the NYC area that is passionate about Oracle Application Express (APEX) and is interested in meeting like minded folks to learn, share ideas, and have fun.
Although we're likely expand on that and other content on the site, that's us in a nut shell!

One thing we're really interested in seeing is local participation on both sides of the podium. This is a community event! We're confident that many developers in the area are solving interesting problems using APEX. We'll be trying to convince our members to organize their thoughts into a brief presentation which could be immensely beneficial to other attendees.

As a small group, we can be very flexible with the format and speaker times. If you feel you have something to say but don't need more than 15 or 20 minutes, that's great! We have some "seasoned vets" on hand that we can use to fill the gaps with great content.

Branching out

Within a few minutes of having created ORCLAPEX NYC, Peter finished creating orclapex Vienna!

I mentioned before that I was talking with others outside of Vienna and NYC. Like Peter, Doug Gault was also considering doing something similar in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and so ORCLAPEX DFW was born. Only it didn't stop there!

Jorge Rimblas created orclapex MSP for the Minneapolis area.

Scott Spendolini created orclapex NOVA for the Northern Virginia area.

Francis Mignault created orclapex MTL for the Montreal area in Canada.

That's 6 groups so far! The only thing we really share is the "orclapex" string in the name and we're not even consistent on the case (most people seem to be using lower case for orclapex)! :) Each group is independent for now and will have to find is own way along.

Where will all of this go? It's too early to tell. But it's exciting and I'm really looking forward to our first meeting and growing the group from there. If you think there's enough APEX developers in your area for some kind of meetup I'd encourage you to give it a shot. Feel free to borrow ideas from the NYC group if it helps get things off the ground, or go your own route.

I would, however, recommend using orclapex (lower case?) followed by the city/area name or acronym for the name of the meetup. That will help others find these groups where ever they pop up. Have fun and good luck if you decide to create a meetup!

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