Unfortunately, the Sydney Architecture User Group that Omar Besiso and myself run in Sydney, is closing its doors.
It has been running for around 2 years now and we have had some great sessions, however there are a number of factors that have caused us to make this decision.
Primarily, we lost our funding. Datacom (the company I used to work for and where Omar still works) were originally kind enough to foot the bill for the venue and food (which was substantial), however Datacom Software Solutions are undergoing their own financial issues and as such, had to stop funding. While Microsoft also provides some funding, it was not enough to cater for the current venue and we did not have another venue to go to. Now that I work for the awesome Saasu.com, its a little hard for me to try and push this issue.
- Secondly, it was getting harder to organise speakers. Presenting takes time and effort, and the availability of speakers was getting low. The last few months meant that Omar and myself would often have to juggle presenting.
- Lastly, interest in the group was slowly declining. We have seen this a lot lately where some user groups are either closed down, or become part of a larger group in order to survive. I think this may be indicative of the community in general. There are a lot of user groups locally in Australia. Probably too much. The ones that survive seem to specialise in certain areas. In addition, the amount of online technical learning content available means a user group has to offer something different to be effective.
So, we close our doors. However, we are looking at re-inventing a new learning mechanism soon. Something that differs to a user group and can offer value that traditional user groups and online content cannot provide.