Why I “Do Community”

by Tim Mangan, CTP, Boston CUGC Leader

Some people might say that I am a bit obsessed with technical community involvement. I do run a couple of local user groups, blog, tweet, answer questions in forums, make videos, and make a lot of tools. I’m a MVP and CTP, and I speak at a bunch of other conferences around the world. I am not alone in this kind of dedication to community, but because I work for myself, I might spend a bit more time on these activities than many others.

But why the heck do I do it?  Because I like to learn.  Let me explain…

In essence, it goes back to a Physics 101 class in college.  The class was an interesting hands-on class with lots of experiments including one where we calculated how long the professor’s car could remain with the headlights on and still be able to get the car to start.  Someone had to give him a jumpstart afterwards.

But after that class, I was asked by him to enroll in a second class.  In this class, we would act as tutors for students in the 101 class the next semester.  Since I aced the class, I thought it would be easy.  It was anything but.  I learned far more about the 101 class in that second semester than I ever did in the original.  This time, I was forced to see the problems not as I saw them, but through the eyes of the other students.  To be successful, I had to study the material beforehand with an eye not geared to get the job done my way, but to understand why other ways may or may not work.

I use this today to learn.  Nothing makes me master some technology more than the preparation it takes to explain it to others.  And that is why I “Do Community.”

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