The Minasi Forum Meet 2008 (http://web2.minasi.com/forummeet2008/) took place a few weeks ago in Virginia Beach. If you haven’t heard of the conference yet, you will.
If you’re a serious Windows SysAdmin, then likely you’ve heard of Mark Minasi. He’s written several of the top selling Mastering series of books and he has several Reader’s Choice awards as “Favourite Technical Author” from CertCities. He also writes a column for Windows IT Pro magazine and sends out a monthly Windows Tech Support newsletter to his email list.
Back in 2002 Mark started an online forum (http://web2.minasi.com/forum/) and opened it up to his email list. Started as a way to help his readers share information, it soon formed into a community of like minded Windows admin’s, willing to help each other resolve technical issues. The Minasi Forum Meet grew out of a desire of that community of regular forum members to get together and to teach/learn/share information in person.
In it’s third year, and started by Mark and members of his online forum, the conference has doubled each of the past two years, starting with about a dozen forum members the first year to over 50 attendee’s this year. Forum members from all over the world (Canada, Ireland, England, Denmark, the Netherlands, United States, etc.) come each year to share, teach and learn from each other. Forum members are given the opportunity to share their knowledge and present sessions on current technologies that they’re working with. To encourage more forum members to share, Mark did a talk this year on “Successfully Teaching Technical Topics: How to Teach ‘Em Without Tucking ‘Em In”, which got comments from attendee’s about how they want to do a session next year. Past attendee’s have taken the community aspect of the forum and the Minasi Forum Meet back home with them and they’ve started their own User Groups and blogs to share with their local IT Pro communities.
The Minasi Forum community has grown over the past few years and several industry professionals have taken notice and posted answers to questions on the forum or attended the Forum Meet. Previous attendee’s of the Forum Meet who did sessions included: Darren Mar Elia, the GPO Guy (http://www.gpoguy.com/ and http://www.sdmsoftware.com/); Todd Lammle (http://www.lammle.com/) author of Cisco books and President of GlobalNet Training; Rhonda Layfield, Windows Deployment expert (http://www.minasi.com/); and of course Mark Minasi. This year was no different and some of the new industry professionals we had included: Don Jones, Windows PowerShell MVP (http://www.sapien.com); Greg Shields, author and speaker (http://www.sapienpress.com/Windows_Server_08.asp); and Jeremy Moskowitz, Group Policy author (http://www.gpanswers.com).
For the Forum Meet 2008, we had some great sessions by current Forum members. Nathan Winters (who started the Microsoft Messaging & Mobility User Group UK, http://www.mmmug.co.uk/, after the first Forum Meet) did sessions on Exchange 2007 and Office Communication Server 2007. Curt Spanburgh did a session on Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server 2007. Eric Rux (who also did a great job of putting the Forum Meet together this year) did a session on Windows Home Server. And James Summerlin did a session on Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Integration Services.
After listening to all the presentations and talking with all the other Forum members, what I came away with this year was that I shouldn’t get stuck in reaction mode. I need to keep looking forward to see where I want to go and start learning what I need to know now (like learning PowerShell since Microsoft is building everything on top of it). And with a great community of professionals willing to help each other out, an answer to a problem is usually only a forum post away.
So if you’re looking for a great community of IT Professionals and are looking to share what you know, join the Forum. If you’re looking to attend a conference next year, mark your calendar for the Minasi Forum Meet 2009. You may even see me doing a presentation next year!