Sharing the Code: Tech User Groups Sync Up

The inaugural SyncRVA was a fashion show, of sorts. Attendees wore jeans, others sported khakis, yet others went with suits or dress skirts. Some were jacketed, others not. But such a fashion menagerie is expected when you put the hackers, the corporate IT types, and the web developers – all with diverse technology backgrounds and workplace attire standards– in the same room together.

The inaugural SyncRVA was a fashion show, of sorts. Attendees wore jeans, others sported khakis, yet others went with suits or dress skirts.
A second SyncRVA will be held in November, with a plan to hold breakout sessions after the main program, giving people the chance to learn from a group of similar, but different, peers.

That was the mission of SyncRVA, a program built by RichTech to mesh 12 smaller, technology-focused user groups together as one. The event was this summer at the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business; planning for it took nearly a half-year.

“It took about three months to figure out who’s who,” RichTech executive director Robby Demeria (coat and tie) told the crowd of roughly 150, recounting the complexities involved in uncovering all the technology groups in Richmond. Flanking him was a hacker from HackRVA (super casual), a Java group representative (somewhat casual), a Ruby on Rails guy (casual), an even a longtime member the Richmond chapter of AITP (suit), the IT professionals brother- and sister-hood that’s been a part of the city since 1953.

The result was a networking event that brought the 12 groups together for one speaker, PC Magazine editor Dan Costa (jeans and sport coat) and a cocktail hour. The niche interests, which include sharepoint linked lists and software process enthusiasts, will continue to meet on their own, but it’s Demeria’s hope that they can all get together a few times a year. Demeria says new groups are continuing to turn up.

For J. Keith Middleton (suit and tie), a former executive at Performance Food Group and current partner at Fahrenheit Finance, the event allowed the opportunity to get out of his normal routine, typically limited to the far West End, and meet others in Richmond. “There’s a lot of entrepreneurs across Virginia, and what I like is we all have a passion and enthusiasm to bring all these groups together toward a common goal.”

Jon Sealy, a freelance copywriter (casual), said he appreciated the chance to expand his network. “SyncRVA gave me the chance to meet a lot of new people and introduced me to several local associations I wasn’t familiar with,” he said. Demeria says RichTech, even after months of planning, is still finding new groups to bring in.

A second SyncRVA will be held in November, with a plan to hold breakout sessions after the main program, giving people the chance to learn from a group of similar, but different, peers.

SyncRVA.com also went live this summer, compiling all of the local technology events from each participating group. According Demeria, “Richmond has tremendous opportunity and the technology community is insistent on capitalizing on that potential. Once we prove the model works, we’ll be the first to share the code and sync up others.” No dress code necessary.

The Sync Groups (so far)

CategoriesCollaborators, General, News, Startups, WorkTagged
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