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User group etiquette 101

The organization overseeing the global coalition of Storage Networking User Groups has issued a code of conduct for such meetings.

Although the rules were written for SNUG in mind, we felt they are a good set of guidelines for all such gatherings.

When done properly, independent user group meetings provide a wealth of information. At times, vendor presentations can be a mind-numbing trip through Marketing FantasyLand, but when delivered in front of an intelligent, pragmatic and probing group of potential users, the resulting interaction can provide a fierce scrutiny of the product or approach being introduced. Woe be the ill-prepared vendor presenting before the D.C. Beowulf Users Group or the CIO Council's XML Community of Practice. These meetings are populated by folks who know how to dissect a technology, pinpointing its true value and drawbacks. (Alice Marshall provides a thorough list of Washington D.C. user group chapters in the right-hand column of her blog).

Anyway, the general precepts for SNUG are:

- Keep an open mind and be prepared to learn, ask questions, and share your experiences.

- Trust that the person you network with at the SNUG meeting is not going to be giving you an unsolicited sales call the next day.

- If you work for a storage system vendor company, take a break from selling and enjoy the company of your fellow storage professionals.

(Those last two points should be noted by vendors attending government-oriented groups. This is not the place for the hard-sell). As an aside, the fledgling D.C. chapter of SNUG is holding its next meeting later this month. Storage admins might want to check it out.

Posted by Joab Jackson

Posted by Brad Grimes, Joab Jackson on May 01, 2006 at 9:39 AM


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