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Providence Geeks – July 15, 2009

From the Providence Geeks:

Join us for the last Geek Dinner till September – yes, we take August off. It’s going to be a good one!

Established in 2008, Little Compton-based ThinkBalm is an independent analyst firm dedicated to work-related use of the Immersive Internet | virtual worlds and campuses, immersive learning environments, and 3D business applications. ThinkBalm is breaking the mold in how they perform the work of an industry analyst. Rather than study a technology market from afar, they use the emerging technology themselves every day. And rather than gather information from occasional conversations with practitioners, they founded and operate the ThinkBalm Innovation Community, which has a mission of advancing adoption of immersive technology in the workplace. This community, which currently has about 280 members, has evolved into a mix between a social network, a collaborative laboratory, and a guild.

At the July Providence Geeks dinner, former Forrester Research Analyst and ThinkBalm co-founder and principal Erica Driver will give a live demo of the ThinkBalm Data Garden | a data visualization experience in Second Life, built around a recent ThinkBalm study about the business value of using immersive technology in the workplace.

5:30-8:30pm
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
AS200, 115 Empire Street

Please RSVP at Facebook (In the interest of making it more “viral”, this month we’re experimenting with doing our RSVPs on Facebook – and while you’re there please join our Facebook group. And if you want to join our very-low-volume email announcement send an email to Jack Templin, jtemplin over at Gmail with your name and affiliation.)

More info about the totally free Providence Geeks event at their website.

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9 Responses to Providence Geeks – July 15, 2009

  1. ihart July 16, 2009 at 9:21 am #

    I like the concept of the geeks dinner, but after attending a few i came away with very negative impression of the group.

    There was no one to greet you or introduce you to the community. Making the rounds in attempts to start casual conversation, I was met with resistance almost as if i was not welcome in their little high school clique.

    Providence geeks dinner is the most superfluous, pretentious gathering of elitist moon bats this side of the valley.

  2. Brick July 16, 2009 at 11:25 am #

    Are they superfluous and pretentious or are they perhaps just shy and socially awkward? The two can be easily confused.

  3. ihart July 16, 2009 at 11:30 am #

    well, i introduced myself, they ask if i was part of a start up in providence, i said no but i would like to be part of the tech community here in providence

    they said, well what are you doing here then? do you know jack templin?, again, i said no, then they said the group would really like to concentrate on local ‘talent’ as opposed to catering to ‘curious bodies’

    some scene, if i knew i had to re-experience the high school cafeteria i would have stayed home

  4. Jef Nickerson July 16, 2009 at 12:32 pm #

    I’ll let Jack know about your feedback. They used to have a table and make people sign in and stuff, but it has been going for a few years now, and most attendees are regulars at this point. They’ve maybe got a bit complacent about welcoming newbies.

    Brick is right though, many geeks are shy and socially awkward and having a social night for them can be weird. Especially if you are not as plugged into the geek world as they are (which I am certainly not).

    The crowd often depends a lot on what the presenter is. If they are really purely a tech outfit, then the crowd is very much geek. But often the presenters use technology for another industry, like marketing, in which case you have a lot of non-geek marketing people in the room, which changes the crowd.

  5. Matthew Coolidge July 16, 2009 at 12:33 pm #

    ihart, sorry to hear you had a bad experience. My experiences at the geek dinners have always been positive.

    Like any social gathering, when approaching a group of people you don’t know, sometimes it’s easier to start with a question, and thus lead the conversation, instead of trying to hop in on what others may already be discussing.

    Many times I’ve gone up to random people and simply asked, “What do you do?” I find most people are usually very happy to talk about themselves, and usually that will lead to a fine discussion.

    Of course, no one screens the participants, so you may have just approached someone who wasn’t very good at conversation. To criticize the entire group, however, seems to be a rather broad brush. I invite you to try again in September. Maybe you’ll meet one of the fine folks I’ve met, or myself, and have a splendid, welcoming conversation.

  6. Jack Templin July 16, 2009 at 12:55 pm #

    Hi ihart, I’m sorry to hear you’ve had bad experiences at Geek Dinners. I’m quite surprised that this has been the case for your multiple times. In general it really is a warm, welcoming (and yes, sometimes socially awkward) group.
    I think Jef, Brick, and Matt all make very insightful comments on the group. In particular, we probably should be making some sort of concerted effort to welcome new folks. I will discuss with my co-founder Brian Jepson – arguably the world’s nicest person.
    If you do come again, and we hope you do, please be sure to introduce yourself (just don’t call us any names 😉
    Also, I hope that you and anyone else feels free to email Brian or me any time with concerns – bjepson and jtemplin at Gmail
    Thanks,
    Jack

  7. Brian Jepson July 16, 2009 at 1:13 pm #

    ihart, I am very sorry to hear about your experience. I can tell you for sure that curious bodies are as welcome as anyone there. If someone told you that we are only interested in local talent, they were not speaking for Providence Geeks as a whole.

    For me, one of the most exciting things that can happen at a geek dinner is meeting a new face, no matter where they come from or their level of talent.

    I’m usually up at the front, sometimes fiddling with the projector or the speaker’s laptop, and always happy to talk to new folks and introduce them to people who might have intersecting interests, or even totally random people who are just generally interesting.

    We’ll take your words to heart, and make an effort to look out for first-time visitors.

    P.S. Thanks for the kind words, Jack. And thanks Jef, Brick, and Matt for your comments as well.

  8. Jim July 16, 2009 at 1:37 pm #

    ihart, I’m not overly social (at least not until I’ve had a few). I’ve always felt welcome at PVD Geeks and last night’s was no exception. I’ll admit, I do know a few of the regulars, which might make it easier for me. The first time I went, I knew no one. I’m not a local talent with big ideas. In fact, I work in what many consider the least geeky of IT roles… helpdesk. Regardless of that fact, I was still welcomed with open arms and even met some new people last night, though I did know them from Twitter.

    That being said, I will suggest that they have some kind of newcomer thing, even if it means Jack and Brian get to sit at the table with the name tags and mailing list sign up sheet. It’d be a great way to welcome newcomers.

  9. ihart July 16, 2009 at 1:39 pm #

    i understand that painting a broad brush about the entire group is unfair and grossly inappropriate but understand i attended a few of these ‘dinners’ and each time i had more insight from the folks at Pacifica Taquería about what was going on in the as220 space than from the folks who actually run the show

    and i don’t believe i’m the only one who had a sour experience at the ‘dinners’ so i guess, for one, i am pleased to have engaged in meaningful dialogue with the folks who represent the providence geeks but as far as the community is concerned they have already alienated a few geeks in providence who may have contributed greatly to the group or at the very least contributed to the conversation of the night

    it would be a shame if a few regulars have already painted the group in negative light, but i for one hold no grudges, just wanted to use this public forum as a place to balance the ‘message’ as the above blog post paints this ‘event’ in such positive and glowing light that i felt i need to present my argument from an outside perspective

    it’s a shame that this communication was conducted in the ‘comments’ section of a blog, so what says this about the people that represents your community?

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