It's Free for User Group Leaders Too

Matt Lombard writes today about how to get free admission to SolidWorks World 2009 by presenting a technical breakout session.  And you should.

There’s also another way – become a User Group Leader.  User Group leaders are rewarded each year with a complimentary full admission pass to the conference.  It’s the least we can do considering the amount of time and energy they put into their groups.

Now I’m not saying that you should run right out and start your own user group just for the free pass.  There are a bunch of other things to consider…ask yourself these questions:

Is there already a SolidWorks User Group in my area?
That’s easy to find out, just visit the "Find a Group" Page at the SWUGN website.  If there’s an existing group within say 40 miles, there’s a reasonable chance that the area is well covered.  Starting another user group where one already exists won’t endear you to the current group leadership.  There are exceptions to this, but you have to be in cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York.

If there isn’t a SolidWorks User Group in our area, do we need one?
The right answer here is yes.

Do I have time to start and run a SolidWorks User Group?
Most user group leaders report that they spend an average of 2 – 3 hours per week dealing with group business.  Some spend more, some spend less.  You’ll definitely spend a few extra hours as meetings draw near.  The amount of time you put in to running a user group is up to you.  You have only your group members to please.

Am I ready to lead a SolidWorks User Group?
I’ll answer this question with more questions.  Are you passionate about SolidWorks 3D CAD?  Are you passionate about engineering and design?  Are you interested in learning more about SolidWorks from other users?  Do you want to make new friends?  Do you like speaking in front of a crowd?

If you answered yes to 3 of these 5 questions, you’re ready.  If you answered yes to all of these questions, call me.  Right now.

The SolidWorks User Group Network (SWUGN) website has plenty of information on starting a SolidWorks User Group.  For (ahem) starters, take a look at the "Starter Kit" page.  This document was produced by SWUGN several years ago, and has helped many user group leaders through the years.  I’m sure it will help you decide.  Poke around the rest of the site too, you’ll find presentations, support documents, and other items that make running a user group easier than if you started from scratch.  You can thank your (soon to be) fellow user group leaders for that.

There are currently 140 SolidWorks User Groups worldwide, and there’s a decent chance that there’s one near you.  Unless….

You live and work in Los Angeles (10 million people, 1 user group), Southeast Chicago (and down around Gary, Indiana), Spokane, Las Vegas, any city in Montana, Wyoming or the Dakotas, and, believe it or not, New York City.  If you’re in Paris, Beijing, Frankfurt, Tokyo, or Rome, it’s wide open.

So forget the free pass to SolidWorks World, and do it because you want to, and because there’s a need.  I assure you that the personal satisfaction, and the chance to learn from others will be more valuable than $800 off a conference fee.

Besides, just like I’m doing this week for 140 user group leaders around the world, I’ll send you that VIP pass code.  It’s one of my favorite things to do all year.

Richard Doyle
My official title is Senior User Advocacy & SolidWorks User Groups - but most people just call me "The User Group Guy". I've been a SolidWorks user since 1997, and was one of the founding members of the SWUGN Committee. Since starting the Central Texas SolidWorks User Group in 1999, my career path has led me to DS SolidWorks and a dream job supporting the SolidWorks User Group Network worldwide.
Richard Doyle
Richard Doyle