West Coast Community Leadership Summit (AKA CLS West)

The fourth annual West Coast Community Leadership Summit will be on February 2nd, 2013, at the eBay Town Hall Conference Center in San Jose. Join experienced community leaders and organizers to discuss, debate and explore the many avenues of building strong community in an open unconference setting.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

No More Free Tickets Without More Sponsors

The good news is we reached our original target of 150 people registering for the West Coast Community Leadership Summit (CLS West) today. The bad news is that, without some additional last minute financial sponsorship, we will have to start charging $20 per ticket for late registration next week. We have some sponsorship leads, but, most of them can only be followed up after the holiday weekend has passed. You can expect some additional tickets to be available one way or another sometime on Wednesday, January 6th. Check back here regularly or follow @CLSWest for updates on additional tickets next week.

We are still accepting sponsors at the Gold ($1000) and Silver ($500) levels. The sponsorship levels and the associated benefits are outlined in this one page PDF document. You can also contact us directly with inquiries about CLS West sponsorship at:

sponsorship [at] clswest [dot] us

Posted via email from CLS West's Posterous

Friday, December 25, 2009

CLS West Theme: We Are Family

Not surprisingly, I found my inspiration for the theme of our first West Coast Community Leadership Summit in Jono Bacon's new book: The Art of Community. Of course, I ordered a copy of the book as soon as it was available and have been reading it in small doses over time since then. This past week, I was reading chapter 10 which covers creating and running events when I found our theme in the section entitled Building Family Values:
"Great communities are built on great relationships. When people really feel a sense of belonging they are enjoying not only being productive but swimming in the tide of your community’s personality. When you put productive people together in a room (real or virtual) and they feel a sense of family, your community will be inundated with belonging."
I don't expect everyone attending CLS West to immediately feel that we are all part of one big San Francisco Bay Area community leadership family. However, our main goal with this first CLS West gathering is to begin to foster that sense of family. Thus, our theme for this year: We Are Family.

P.S. This is by no means intended as a sales pitch for Jono's book. It is freely available online to enjoy, share and modify under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike Non-Commercial license. If you can not afford to buy the book, you will find the link to the free ebook PDF download at the bottom of this page. In my opinion, it is a must read for people who are serious about community management.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Check Out Our Attendee Photo Gallery

We decided to create an Attendee Photo Gallery to make it easier to connect the names with the faces during CLS West. It is already seeded with the photos of the event organizers and the unconference speakers. Check it out:


If you like, you can upload your own photo to the wiki and add yourself to this photo gallery. Please be sure to insert it alphabetically by first name into the existing gallery. If you would rather not do it yourself, Mark Terranova has volunteered to help get everyone's photo into the gallery. Mark will be handling email requests to add people to the photo gallery sent to this address:

people [at] clswest [dot] us

It could be as simple as sending us a link to your Twitter account or your LinkedIn public profile. That would be enough information for us to use your Twitter or LinkedIn profile picture and link your name below the photo back to the corresponding account. Of course, you can provide a specific link for your entry in the gallery even if you point us to your Twitter or LinkedIn profile for your gallery picture. If you do choose to send in a photo via link or email attachment, an image with square proportions and at least 73x73 pixels in size is required.

That's All Folks, Van

P.S. The reason we didn't include Facebook as one of the easy options is due to the fact profile pictures on Facebook are not constrained to square proportions. We are trying to avoid the need for any additional image processing on our part when handling requests to add people to the gallery.

Posted via email from CLS West's Posterous

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Final Speaker Roster for Ignite CLS West

In conjunction with the CLS West Unconference, this community-themed Ignite is being held on the very same day in the evening. This will be a private event for CLS West attendees and their invited guests. If you are a community leader in the bay area, you should consider signing up for both events.

If you just like the idea of a community leadership ignite event, you should find someone you know in community leadership that is attending the unconference on our attendee list and ask them to invite you as their guest to the Ignite. The community leaders giving Ignite Talks on January 9th are:

All of our speakers except for Ann Winblad and Robert Stephenson can be followed from this Ignite CLS West Speakers twitter list. They are also listed in the CLS West People Photo Gallery on our wiki. Check it out!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Busy Week on the Sponsorship Front

The big news is the Adobe User Group Program run by Rachel Luxemburg has signed on as a Silver Sponsor. Marsee Henon from the O'Reilly User Group Program has been busy lining up several other book publishers as In-Kind Sponsors too. In addition to the O'Reilly books that Marsee is sending, she has arranged for Packt Publishing, Pearson Education's User Group Program and Peachpit Publishing to all donate books to CLS West.

We could still use a few more Gold ($1000) and/or Silver Sponsors ($500). At our current sponsorship level, we will have to cap registration at 125 people in order to be able to cover both the CLS West Unconference and Ignite CLS West expenses and still keep these as completely free events.

We already have 90 people registered to attend and we will definitely hit the 125 limit fairly soon at our current sign up rate. I would hate to have to limit participation or charge attendees due to a lack of sponsorship support. Our Sponsorship Sheet outlines the various levels of sponsorship available and the sponsor benefits for each one. If you have any leads/questions in regards to sponsorship, you can contact us at:


Posted via email from CLS West's Posterous

Monday, December 7, 2009

Wow! 9 Adobe User Group Leaders Signed Up for CLS West Today!

I met Keith Sutton at Silicon Valley Code Camp in October of this year. Keith runs the most excellent Silicon Valley Flex User Group. I invited him the other day to join me at CLS West on January 9th at DeVry University in Daly City. Today, he signed up and he managed to get 8 more people all involved in the local Adobe User Group (AUG) communities to sign up with him. I did something similar inviting local Java User Group Leaders to CLS West, but, the solidarity of the AUG Leaders all signing up on the same day is quite impressive. I look forward to meeting them all at CLS West. So, are you involved in community leadership locally? If so, you should join us on January 9th and invite your peers in community leadership to sign up too. Registration is free and takes just a minute to complete online here:

You should see who all is coming and who our sponsors are. It is going to be a great community event. What are you waiting for?

Posted via email from CLS West's Posterous

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Joining the CLS West Mailing List

Joining the CLS West mailing list is simple. All you need to do is enter your email address into the following box, click the Subscribe button and then click on the link that is emailed to you to confirm your subscription.


To email the list, send email to:

clswest AT googlegroups DOT com

I want to stress that the CLS West Mailing List is to be used for discussions of regional community leadership issues specific to the Western Region of the United States. For example, the communications around the organization and planning of CLS West are a perfect example of what this mailing list is to be used for. Conversely, any general discussions relevant to the global community of community leaders belong on the International CLS Mailing List.

Finally, I want to assure everyone that we have setup our CLS West Mailing List with an eye towards spam prevention. We have post moderation turned on for initial posts from new members. Our mailing list moderators will be banning any new users attempting to spam the list. This also means your own first post to the group could be slightly delayed in going out. If that happens, you can contact us at:

info AT clswest DOT us

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ignite CLS West Speakers Announced . . . . . . . More Sponsors Still Needed

I thought it was about time to give an update on our plans for Ignite CLS West. We have confirmed speakers for 8 of the 12 available speaker slots. We plan to have the remaining 4 speakers confirmed within the next week or so. Follow @IgniteCLSWest on Twitter to get real time updates. There is also an Ignite Speakers Twitter List associated with this Ignite. The confirmed speakers so far are:

Sudha Jamthe - PayPal X Developer Network

Although attendance at this Ignite will be limited to CLS West Attendees and their guests, we do plan to live stream the talks on the web. Plus, we are hoping to professionally record all the Ignite Talks for later viewing online. However, we could really use some additional financial sponsorship help to make that happen. Sponsorship opportunities are still available at the Gold ($1000) and Silver ($500) levels. If you would like to be a CLS West Sponsor or can provide potential sponsorship contacts at local companies, please contact us

Last but not least, we have official Ignite CLS West Schwag available for purchase online. I am not talking about low-grade marijuana (not that there is anything wrong with that ;-) ). Check out our Ignite CLS West Cafe Press Store.

That's All Folks, Van

Posted via email from CLS West's Posterous

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Whole is Greater than the Sum of the Parts

We are fortunate here in the San Francisco Bay Area. There are many vibrant user communities in this area. Looking just within the local Java developer community, there are active groups in San Francisco, Oakland, Palo Alto and Mountain View. That doesn't even include the more specialized groups like the recently formed JavaFX User Group or the Bay Area Scala Enthusiasts. This is just the groups that I am aware of and just within the sphere of Java development. There are similar clusters of developer user groups around other technologies in this area too.

All these individual groups are great in their own right, but, I truly believe there is the potential for some real synergies where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. This is why I enthusiastically participated in the first ever Community Leadership Summit this past summer. It is also why I have taken the lead in organizing the West Coast Community Leadership Summit (CLS West) coming up on January 9th, 2010. It will be a one day unconference for community leaders/managers/evangelists at DeVry University in Daly City. The event will be free, but, we are asking people to register in advance here.

That is not all. Ignite CLS West that same evening is taking place at the Google office in downtown San Francisco. Our community themed Ignite is open just to CLS West attendees and their invited guests. Kaliya Hamlin, Leslie Hawthorn, Sudha Jamthe, and Grant Bowman are already on board to give Ignite Talks.

We are grateful for the venue sponsorship being provided by DeVry University during the day for the unconference and by Google in the evening for the Ignite. We are also thankful for the financial support of our Silver Sponsors: the O'Reilly User Group Program and the Oracle Technology Network. Sponsorships are still available at the Platinum ($2000), Gold ($1000) and Silver ($500) levels.

For Twitter users, you can follow @CLSWest and @IgniteCLSWest on twitter. There are also Twitter lists for the CLS West Organizers and our Ignite Speakers.

Finally, it is my hope that our CLS West gathering in January will inspire the formation of a meta-community locally for community leaders providing mutual support and synergistic collaborations going forward for years to come. Please join me at the inaugural West Coast Community Leadership Summit and be a part of making this vision a reality.

Friday, October 9, 2009

West Coast Community Leadership Summit

We will be having a West Coast Community Leadership Summit (AKA CLS West) event in January. It will start with a one day unconference similar in format to the first Community Leadership Summit that was held this past summer. The unconference will go from roughly 9am to 5pm on Saturday, January 9th. It will be held at DeVry University in Daly City.

In addition to easy access by car (with free parking at DeVry), it is one short block from the Daly City BART station. People will be on their own from 5pm to 7pm for dinner. I recommend taking BART into the city for dinner. After dinner, we will be reconvening at the Google office in downtown San Francisco from 7pm to 10pm for a Community Ignite event. CLS West attendees will be allowed to invite 1-2 guests each to join us at the Community Ignite.

Both venues are confirmed for January 9th, 2010, thanks to the efforts of Irene Koehler (DeVry) and Stephanie Liu (Google). We could use some more help with the planning and preparations for CLS West. Please join this CLS West group in order to be involved in the planning over the next three months:


That's All Folks!