On this back-to-wok Monday, there's no question that the time in Dublin last week was worthwhile in terms of supporting the successful Irish user group meeting.  Over 100 delegates -- 30% of whom were from outside of Ireland -- turned up for an incredible lineup of speakers.  While it didn't have the big event feel of last month's DNUG, it certainly had an intensity all its own.

In post-mortem mode, Paul Mooney has asked for the good/bad/ugly about the event.  He's already planning the next.  As I mentioned on Friday, I gave Paul (and Eileen Fitzgerald) small tokens of appreciation during the closing session (as they did for me and all the speakers...very class).  Paul's gift was bought spontaneously on Friday afternoon at, of all the places, a tourist shop.  It was a small tablet with the following saying: "Deeds make the man".  There is no question in my mind that Paul, through his deeds, is a class act on so many levels.  It wasn't just that he ran the event, it was that he took leave to entertain the speakers for a few days before and after...and hosted some in his own home, and organised dinners and drinking (what's with that coors light stuff, though?), and even called to check on people spontaneously.  

I've now uploaded some pics to flickr, where they reside with all other ILUG06-tagged photos.

One concern -- I'm starting to hit a wall on user groups.  It's nothing to do with this particular event -- if anything, this was an example of best-in-class user group operation.  But for me personally, I'm discovering that I'm not getting enough back from these events.  Sure, I'm helping my business effectively, but my interaction with individual customers is in small, short, disconnected bursts.  I've never sat down with one customer for 30 minutes during a user group meeting to talk in-depth about their current and future plans for Lotus Notes.  So, I'm not learning enough about the attendees and their environments.  

For example, Paul tells me that a certain large financial organisation attended the ILUG meeting.  Over the years, I've visited them at their offices twice....but it's been a while.  And now I feel quite disconnected from that customer.  Yet they were in the room on Friday.  

It seems there should have been a way to bridge that gap.

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