INETA is turning 10 this year, on February 12 to be specific. This is a great time to reflect on how INETA and our .NET Community have grown. In addition to founding and running several user groups in Orange County, California I had the honor of serving INETA for several years, first as Membership Mentor for California, then as Treasurer and finally as Vice President.
Here’s a little history:
INETA is a worldwide support organization for user groups. INETA North America’s main objective is to provide a body of resources and support for starting and successfully running user groups focused on Microsoft’s .NET technologies.
INETA was founded February 12, 2002. The original board members were Bill Evjen, Brian Loesgen, Keith Franklin and Keith Pleas. Initially there were about 40 user groups, however within the next four years INETA grew to about 500 groups with 170,000 members. Today, INETA has more than 1,500 user groups representing more than 1,500,000 developers worldwide.
INETA has five worldwide regions (Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Middle East-Africa, and North America), each with its own board of directors. INETA was created by volunteers and continues to be run almost exclusively by volunteers. Each region is responsible for the planning and implementation of its programs and services. The regional leads also talk and meet regularly to coordinate high level issues across all regions.
The first word in INETA is International but initially INETA’s focus was on the United States and Canada. However, in our second year we expanded to Europe with the assistance of Christian Nagel, then to Asia Pacific with Mitch Denny taking the lead and Jose Berrios in Latin America. At present Joe Guadagno is President of INETA NorAm, Jose Berrios continues as President INETA LatAm, Damir Tomic is President INETA Europe, Sanjay Shetty is President INETA Asia Pacific and Daron Yöndem is President INETA Middle East and Africa. For each region, the mission is the same – a worldwide support organization for user groups. Each region focuses on the unique needs of its user groups.
INETA is committed to providing valuable resources to user group leaders around the world. The focus is on providing support for all user group related needs, while providing valuable third party resources for technical information needs. With so many .NET experts involved in INETA, members get a front row seat to the .NET revolution as it continues to unfold. The INETA community model further provides members with an opportunity to be a contributing member of this revolution.
INETA North America resources available to member user group leaders include:
- Community Speaker Program
- INETA Live
- Support for community activities such as code camps
- INETA Community and User Group Leader Offers
- INETA Newsletters
- Support and suggestions on how to set up and successfully run a user group
- Sponsorship (this stuff doesn’t come for free)
Typical member groups in INETA Noram come in all sizes. From groups with thousands of members and meeting with attendance in the hundreds to groups with a handful of members per meeting, INETA provides support without differentiation. Members of typical user groups come from all kinds of backgrounds including independent consultants and corporate developers, people with lots of experience with .NET and those just getting into it.
INETA programs and activities are focused on building and sustaining user group participation and membership. They include a TechEd presence, support for local user group membership growth activities, newsletters, promotion of industry events, and partnering with the Developer Evangelists from the local Microsoft office.
INETA continues to build a strong community around .NET. This can be seen in the continued growth in membership and user groups, as well as success of events that bring people together such as Code Camps. Through a continued close relationship with Microsoft user group members to have access to product teams, special discounts and offers, and early education about upcoming products.