18 января 2010 г.

Talk around the GTUG (english)

Stephanie Liu с В.Ивановым (aka elGephest)
на GDD2009 в Москве
English version of Google Wave-marathon with Stephanie Liu, Developer Technical Programs Manager / Google Technology User Groups

elGephest: When, where and by whom first GTUG was created (a variant of reply - Sergey and Larry )))
Stephanie Liu: There were two groups created around the same time. The flagship one in Silicon Valley in Mountain View, and one in Pune, India. 
SV-GTUG was created by Kevin Nilson and Van Riper, the local Java User Group leaders.
This is the group that I'm most involved, and basically existed for over a year before we announced GTUGs at Google I/O last year. 
The Pune group was started by an ex-Googler in India, though they're much smaller and less active now.  

elGephest: The biggest and the smallest GTUG you know? (Real samples). 
Stephanie Liu: I don't keep membership numbers of all the groups because I work mostly with the organizers.
However, the sv-gtug Meetup group has over 1500 people, as does the Beijing Google Group in China. These two are far and away the groups with the largest followings. 
There are many small ones — many groups have only one person :) These are mostly incubating groups who have not yet gotten off to a good start.

elGephest: How many GTUG's are registered to marathon day? What is dynamic? 
Stephanie Liu: Not sure about this one -- the organizers wil have to answer :) As far as I know, there are a few groups participating from around Ukraine and Russia.  

elGephest: Any samples of the most effective and successful GTUG's?
Stephanie Liu: The two large groups that I mentioned above are considered successful, of course. SV-GTUG meets monthly, and I believe Beijing tries to meet at least twice a month.
Just size doesn't determine success though, so there are plenty of other groups that are active and serve their local communities. The Taipei group in Taiwan has done a good job of holding hackathons and having good discussions. Stockholm has also done many great events on Android and App Engine, etc. Chicago GTUG has worked with other sponsors like Motorola to hold a large Android hackathon in February.  

elGephestWhat is originality of GTUG on different continents/countries? 
Stephanie Liu: Hmm, not sure I understand this question. Originality? Which groups were first movers in different regions? Or what creative things have people done around the world? 

Hmm.. different groups tend to have different focuses (like Android or GWT for example), but I feel like this is more the influence of the organizer than necessarily the slant of the whole community.
You'd think I could come up with more quirks since I work with organizers all around the world, but in reality, many of the groups are much the same :) They want to come together to learn and meet people, and generally go about it similarly.  

TimurKa: What are the most brightful achievements of GTUGs?
Stephanie Liu: The SV-GTUG held a 3 day hackathon last summer for 200 people for Google Wave. That was a pretty intense event, and it was very successful. (This is the group I work with the most and the one that has been around the longest, so many of my examples are drawn from here :).
If you mean GTUGs in general, I'm extremely proud of all the organizers who have stepped up in their local communities to provide a forum for discussion and education. Since July of last year, GTUGs worldwide have held over 120 events, which is phenomenal. This kind of grassroots activity could not happen without these groups.  

TimurKa: The most common problem of GTUG.
Stephanie Liu: I don't think GTUGs have any specific problems that general user groups don't have. It can be tough for new organizers to get enough interest, to find venues, to find speakers, etc. These are problems common to all local meetups.  

TimurKa: What does Google wait from GTUG? What do you wait from GTUG personally? 
Stephanie Liu: Well, at first, GTUGs were responding to what other people were telling us. We had passionate people coming up to us and wanting to start local groups and get support from us. That's why we expanded the program at Google I/O last year.
As we spent more time on it, the vision for it grew a little more mature.
Google is a very young developer company compared to other big names like Microsoft and Sun. We've only had a third party developer program for ~3-4 years. We are hoping to connect and foster a healthy global developer community through GTUGs.
Since this is my project, I, personally, want GTUGs to be awesome :) That means being very active, holding lots of events, giving us lots of feedback. When we have new developer products and I ask for feedback from the organizers, it's great when groups go out and plan events around these topics. Things like that.  

TimurKa: How, when and why you have come to Google?
Stephanie Liu: I've been with Google since November of 2005, since I graduated from college. I've worked with AdWords, Google Video, and YouTube before starting to answer developer questions for the YouTube legacy API. At that point I moved to the developer relations team, and worked with the YouTube Syndication team for awhile. Eventually, I moved more into general developer programs and events, which is where I am now. 

MacCo: GTUG of your dream?
Stephanie Liu: A group that's consistently active with a diverse group of developers. One that has a really active community that feels bonded to each other, instead of just showing up because they're interested in the topic. A real community that helps each other and cares about the group as a whole. I'd want to see a group that is creative and switches up the format and type of their events -- one that tries new things and can teach the other GTUGs new and fun ways to do things. 

MacCo: What do you like/unlike in GTUG most of all?
Stephanie Liu: I love meeting passionate developers who love our products. It's constantly gratifying to work with people who pour their own time and energy into creating community around Google. It still amazes me sometimes.
On the downside, passionate people can also be stubborn and not get along. It's very frustrating to deal with conflicting personalities when there's drama between organizers or groups.

Maxim Vasiliev: Sorry again. Why they not called GT(p)DGs ? :) (developer groups instead of users)
Stephanie Liu: Just a legacy thing. I wasn't around when the original name was conceived.
Chris Schalk was the original Googler who worked with Kevin and Van in Mountain View. He's also a big Java guy, so I think they were modeling the name on the JUGs. Maybe they just thought GTUG sounded better than GDUG :)
Also, there are a few groups that try to focus a little more on tech-y topics that aren't necessarily pure developer topics. Since I've worked on the program, however, I wanted to narrow the scope and audience to just developers.

MacCo: Do you speak Chinese? How are you perceived in China? How you perceived China?
Stephanie Liu: I do speak a little Mandarin, though it's pretty poor since I grew up in the States.
I've never gone to one of the China GTUGs events, so I don't know how they'd perceive me :) Bill Luan, our developer advocate lead in China does like to make fun of me for my lack of Chinese skills though.
I've only been to Beijing once, as my family is mostly in Taiwan. My impression was that Beijing was too big :) There are A LOT of people, and it's definitely still a city in transition.  

MacCo: How, when and why you have come to Google? 
Stephanie Liu: This is similar to the other question, but I came to Google because it's an amazing company to work for. I get the opportunity to work with extremely smart and competent people with great ideas. 

MacCo: What did you ask Santa Claus about in childhood? Have it filled? 
Stephanie Liu: I stopped believing in Santa Claus at a pretty young age :)

MacCo: What would you be if not IT?
Stephanie Liu: Not sure -- I've been on this path a long time. My first love was always writing and journalism, but as an adult, I'm not sure that lifestyle would suit me now. I really do love the tech industry.  

Alexander Belozor: What do you expect of GTUG program? 
Stephanie Liu: See my answer to similar question above.  

Eugene Pavlov: Will Google work directly with any local GTUG to achieve certain results?
Stephanie Liu: Sure, we've worked directly with GTUGs for certain events in the past (like the Wave team's tour across Europe). 
We generally try to work with local groups if we have speakers or team members in the area. 

Eugene Pavlov: Does GTUG organized flash-mobs on practice?
Stephanie Liu: No, as far as I know there's never been a GTUG flashmob ;\

Eugene Pavlov: What you should not be done that local GTUG quickly die as born? 
Stephanie Liu: Don't sweat it. Just care about the people and the topics. Listen to the each other and work together as a real community.
It gets bad when there's too many egos and people only want recognition or spotlight.  

Eugene Pavlov: What I and our GTUG need to do to get a job at Google?
Stephanie Liu: We're hiring right now, just check out the job listings online and apply.
In general, we're looking for people with a lot of energy, people who have proven records (ie. great school records or otherwise amazing projects to show their skills), and people that are a little bit different :) People who will come up with innovative solutions to hard problems.  

Eugene Pavlov: Is it worth it? 
Stephanie Liu: Working at Google? Yes. 

Walter WolfsbergerWhom with GTUG-s may be cooperative (universities – already have got one
interested, youth organizations, geek clubs :-P)? 
Stephanie Liu: Sure, you got it. Universities and other technology meetups are generally good groups to coordinate with.  

Walter Wolfsberger: What status will advanced GTUG-s have? Will they have some sort of official status? 
Stephanie Liu: There's nothing above "Active" status right now. But maybe in the future :) 

Walter Wolfsberger: How are serious/advanced GTUG-s organized? Are there member hierarchies, obligation differentiations?
Stephanie Liu: Depends on the group. A few groups have committees where they can split up the work, but mostly it's just one or two people who handle everything.  

Walter Wolfsberger: Will I get some Google T-shirt, badge, or bag from google as a GTUG member? Will always wear the thing, I guarantee it. :-P 
Stephanie Liu: We do swag care packages, but I can't guarantee that you'll get something. Talk to your organizer :)  

Walter Wolfsberger: Will we get access to new google technologies (with blackjack and hookers :-P) earlier than others? :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)
Stephanie Liu: Uhhhhh.. not aware of any new projects with blackjack or hookers :P
But in general, I do try to get groups early access to certain things if I can. That kind of thing doesn't happen very often though.  

Walter Wolfsberger: I hope you love Futurama series.
Stephanie Liu: Futurama is pretty sweet.  

DoomCross: How many people are now in Kiev GTUG? How long does it exist?
Stephanie Liu: Sounds like a question for the organizer.
Vladimir Ivanov: You know us very well, core of Kyiv GTUG Center was formed last year in August in GoogleSandBox, where we test Google Wave. You know blog UkrWaves, Wavers Club, Wave marathons…
You can read about history of our group in our blog and join us here.
First offline meeting was November, 25 when we orginize marathon with Lars Rasmussen. I think it was one of the first or even first GTUG meeting on exUSSR.
In GTUG catalog we was registired December, 17.
There are near 50 people in our group list and no virtuals – to join us you need to answer to 3 questions and leave contacts.
Unlike the well-known virtual projects, membership in Kyiv GTUG Center includes off-line activity.
You can use Twitter to keap in touch with. 

DoomCross: Who will manage, coordinate us?
Stephanie Liu: Your organizer, in this case, Vladimir. (Or if you're part of a different group, whoever the organizer for that GTUG is.) You can check at gtugs.org/directory, though you should really know who your organizer is.  

DoomCross: What exactly should I do, as a member of GTUG?
Stephanie Liu: Just participate, give feedback, be active. Be encouraging and supportive to your organizer and other members.  

DoomCross: Will I get money for working in GTUG?
Stephanie Liu: No, these are free local community gatherings. All volunteer.
There are folks who go to local meetups to get contacts and such for consulting gigs and other things like that.  

DoomCross: If I and my team will be good boys/girls, then we'll get a Google Nexus One? )))
Stephanie Liu: There is no Santa Claus :)

Taras Mischenko: How many GTUGs can be in one country (city)?
Stephanie Liu: Ideally, there's only one group servicing one city. But there is no actual limit -- it's just a matter of how many groups the community in that region can support.  

Taras MischenkoHow Google plans to attract new members to the GTUGs? Do you plan to hold any competitions, events?
Stephanie Liu: GTUGs are mostly a grassroots effort. We don't put much marketing effort into it because at the heart of it are willing organizers. 
Like I said above, sometimes we work with local groups to give them exposure, but in general, it's a grassroots effort.  

Taras Mischenko: What forms of interaction are possible between Google and local GTUGs? 
Stephanie Liu: Depends per group. Sometimes there's a strong relationship with the local office, sometimes there isn't, or there isn't an office close by. Sometimes local offices can help with venue and sponsorship, but it depends on resources in that region.
I try to make sure that when we have team members or speakers in the local area, that they work with GTUGs for speaking gigs.  
Sam Brodkin: Our Google Office in Amsterdam helps us out by pointing us to resources, letting us use their office, and telling potential members about us. 

Taras Mischenko: Will GTUG members be among first testers of new Google products and services? It is a significant question for motivation.
Stephanie Liu: As I answered earlier, yes, I try to make that happen. However, this sort of thing doesn't generally happen that often.

Hazya: What is the ultimate goal of the project GTUG if there is any?
Stephanie Liu: To help foster and realize the Google developer community. 

Hazya: Can we call this project the association of developers and programmers under the banner of Google? 
Stephanie Liu: Not totally sure what your question is.
GTUGs are made up of developers who come together to discuss Google technology.  

Hazya: Are there any priorities of the project participants or each group acting on your own?
Stephanie Liu: Groups are very independent. Once awhile I'll try to suggest particular topics -- ie. Chrome extensions because the gallery is launching to the consumer channel very soon. 
However, each organizer and group can choose topics as they wish.

Hazya: What means this project for you? 
Stephanie Liu: I think it's a very important program. It's our team connecting directly with the pulse of our developer community. It's a two-way channel.  

Hazya: Is it possible to unite all groups to address the priorities?
Stephanie Liu: It's possible, but I don't mandate anything. If everyone chose to come together to work towards something, it could happen.

Eugene Smolanka: What benefits gains Google from GTUG idea popularization? What benefits have GTUG participants? What is the motivation? 
Stephanie Liu: I think the benefits are pretty obvious. The more GTUGs there are, the more developers are talking about our technologies. We also get valuable feedback in a more organized manner.
Participants get to be active in their local communities -- they meet new people, network, and learn from each other. There are also little perks like being in the channel of information from us. If there's important information, I try to make sure the organizers know first so they can pass it on to their groups. I try to make sure GTUG organizers and members have access to trusted tester programs when they're available. Things like the the I/O pre-sale were sent throught he GTUG organizers. These types of things are more ad-hoc and just extra perks -- the real reason people should be part of GTUGs is for the community.  

Eugene SmolankaWhat rights and obligations does Google afford to GTUGs?
Stephanie Liu: It's not really as formal as that. As I said, the program was originally created to fill a need. People were coming to us wanting to start groups. This is a grassroots effort that we just try to provide some centralized infrastructure for. In the end, it's up to individual groups to become successful and to create community. 

Eugene SmolankaWhat people does Google want to see in GTUGs
Stephanie Liu: Developers. Anyone who's interested in our developer technologies.

Segey Shepelev: There is no GTUG in Moscow now. Obviously, there are a lot of people interested in meetings. Is it going to change?
Stephanie Liu: A lot of people were interested at GDD Moscow and I followed up with all of them. Only 2 people actually returned my emails. These two developers are in the process of starting a group, and I think there are enough developers in Moscow to form a really great GTUG. However, it's not up to me, in the end, the organizers have to come together and make it happen.  

Segey Shepelev: As for you, when Google Wave will pass from Preview to public Beta?
Stephanie Liu: Don't know :) I'm not on the Wave team. 

mcdavid: Is there any defined structure of GTUGs inside a country? For example, GTUG Ukraine (country), GTUG Kyiv (region), GTUG Vinnitsa (town), GTUG Nemiroff (district)...
Stephanie Liu: Nope. I try to encourage people to scope the groups per city, but many groups are named after larger regions. It's up to the organizer to come up with the regoin they think their users will be coming from. 
I'm actively trying to change all the country-name groups to be more specific as it ultimately leads to naming collisions.  

mcdavid: As most of geeks - do you like tasty beer? If yes, what snack do you prefer? 
Stephanie Liu: Yes, I do like tasty beer :)
I try not to snack, I just like to eat.  

mcdavid: Are You a Mac or a PC? 
Stephanie Liu: I use a Mac laptop for work. I also have a Linux desktop and a really old PC laptop.

Maxim Vasiliev: Do you [use] Ubuntu?
Stephanie Liu: Goobuntu, it's a custom build of Ubuntu within Google. 

Settler: How there is an interaction between various GTUG?
Stephanie Liu: It's up to the groups -- I would like to see more regional interaction, and some groups do. The German groups are fairly close together and sometimes collaborate. The Italian groups talk to each other frequently. 
But again, it's up to the organizers.  

Settler: Who posesses an idea of creation GTUGs?
Stephanie Liu: Chris Schalk along with Van Riper and Kevin Nilson 

Settler: How there takes place the knowledge exchange between GTUGs and other groups of Google-developers (such as developers of different APIs)?
Stephanie Liu: I don't think there's any formal channels, but as with any community, there are overlaps with other, similar communities.  

Maxim Vasiliev: Will ever GTUGs be turned into party cells for building future ruling party to takeover the world? 
Stephanie Liu: It's not on the roadmap, no :P 

Sam Brodkin: how do you translate that russian quickly? is there a robot or something? Help me please... 
Hazya: there is no robot(( All text is translating by people. 
Sam Brodkin: ah crowd sourced translation. Nice of you. 

WhitefoxWhat are the forms of participation in the localization of Google products are assumed to the GTUG members?
Stephanie LiuThe other words: how can GTUG members be involved into participation of Google products localization/ adaptation?!
Stephanie Liu: Good question. I think that will vary per region. Each country/language can be different.

This is a good topic to bring up in discourse with local offices, if such a relationship exists.

As far as I know, no group has participated heavily in product localization, though the GTUG group in Prague works very closely with the office to promote Google products to consumers. This is a special case, however, as Daniel Franc's "Gug.cz" group pre-dates the formal GTUG program, and it was formed in conjuction with the local office.  

Whitefox: On your avatar - a girl is jumping with a parachute. Is it you? If 'yes' - Were there lots of jumps in your life?! Is it your hobby? What else do you prefer to do at your free time?
Stephanie Liu: Yep, this is me on my 22nd birthday party :) There's actually a full video of it on Google Video somewhere.  

Not a hobby, I just did it the one time. It was a lot of fun, but I don't think I'd go through the expense and trouble to do a tandem jump again. (The first time you skydive, it's always strapped to the underside of an instructor.)

If I were to do it again, I'd probably take the day-long accelerated free-fall course and jump solo.

What is this "free time" that you speak of? :) I used to have free time, but not sure what it is anymore. I do like to read, and recently got a Kindle. Though, right now, I'm reading a physical book called "The Art of Community" by Jono Bacon, an Ubuntu community manager. My boyfriend and I are also slowly working our way through Super Mario Bros for Wii that we bought over Christmas break. I also do runs and bike rides.. I've done one marathon and several half marathons. I also do an annual 150-mile, 2-day bike ride for the MS Society.  

Whitefox: Also I'm wondering about your family. Could you please tell us something about them?! How they brought you up?
Where were you born? Where have you studied? Where were you before you came to Google?
Stephanie Liu: My family's pretty boring :) I have one sister that's ten years younger than me, and two middle-aged Asian parents that brought me up well.

I was born in Mountain View, CA, and have pretty much stayed around the Bay Area my whole life. I went to university at UC Davis, a college about an hour north of San Francisco. I also studied abroad for a month in Greece -- that was truly one of my favorite experiences.

I did a couple internships in college, but Google is my first job out of college. I've been here over 4 years.

Vadim Barsukov: What actions should be done to begin the registration group, and what are the conditions for registration of a new group (the site, some minimum number of members, etc.)?
Stephanie Liu:

You can apply on www.gtugs.org

Chapter Status Requirements:

Vadim Barsukov: What financial assistance can have Google Inc. to local groups GTUG? Books, gifts, money ... :)

If you have a working relationship with a local Google office, they can provide other resources like sponsoring food and venue as well. But that is on a case by case basis.  

elGephest: How does it work in Mountain View? How outer world is seen from Google main office? 
Stephanie Liu: It can seem like you're in the center of a lot of decisions and new things in tech, but then you get out there and travel and there's great discussions happening all over. 

elGephest: Your impressions from the marathon? Did you interested in it? Is this format effective for in-depth discussion?

Stephanie Liu: It was interesting.. I don't think this particular format worked well for in-depth discussions. I think a more real-time approach might have worked better for conversation. There were questions that were very similar, and some question curation would probably have worked better.

A better format is probably to have a Google Moderator board where people can vote up the best questions, the ones the most people want to hear the answer to. Then, have the speaker take one question at a time and answer it. Then, those who are in the Wave at the time can have discussion on it.

As it was, it took me 2 hours to answer all the questions, and I didn't have a lot of time to go back and forth and answer discussion questions, I was just trying to get through the giant list. Don't think that was the most effective thing to do to encourage conversation. 

Thanks for your questions, guys. I'm happy to see so much activity coming from Kiev and the surrounding areas :) 

I've given the organizers the questions I think are the best in the 5 categories at the top.

I hope everyone has a great new year :)


Organizers: Vladimir Ivanov (Kiev), Alexander Belozor (Saint-Petersburg), Vadim Barsukov (Ekaterinburg), Eugeny Smolanka (Uzhgorod), Aleksey Ivankin (Dnepropetrovsk)
Interpretators: Alexander Belozor (Saint-Petersburg), Oleg Bozhenko (San-Diego), Vadim Barsukov (Ekaterinburg), Katerina Chaukina (Prague), Maria Shapiro (Oxford), Andrey Bulanov (Minsk), Alexander Fedorov (Kiev)
Partners: EkaGTUG, Google Wave РоссияSmolensk GTUG   

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