Announcing the Alternative Network Group

As my servers are all down to maintenance, I use this blog entry to repeat the announcement that was made on friday night at AltNetBeers 10 regarding the Altnernative Network Group.

We’re expanding the scope of AltNetBeer, and creating a proper structure behind it, the Alternative Network Group, together with some new areas in which we want to expand.

The Alternative Network continues with the tradition of the AltNetBeers, an environment in which all software professionals can get together and learn together. While its origins are in the movement, AltNetGroup is for everyone with a desire to become better at delivering software.

The history of AltNetBeers has shown that the topics people want to discuss are not technology-specific. We all share the same struggles and interests: from DDD to dealing with legacy code, from opiniated frameworks to agile methodologies, the topics we discussed and investigated over the last year are universal. It is the absolute and fundamental belief of this group that much is to be gained by not limiting ourselves to our vendor-driven sphere of influence.

The Alternative Network Group hopes to become the forum for those that want to enrich their understanding of software development and the practices that surround it. How? By putting at its core knowledge sharing and continuous improvement, by building on experience, and by creating a bridge between technical communities.

Beyond the regular AltNetBeers open-space flavoured event that is running monthly in London, we’ll be starting a couple of new initiatives.

  • Cross-technology presentations
    In those, an expert in a technology will present to a neophyte audience. Not so different from your typical user-group, except that each presenter will have to accommodate the fact that the majority of the audience may be completely unaware of the technical platform. Think RoR presented to .net developers, Android development presented to php developers, DSDM to Scrum people. The presentation format will be short (max 40 minutes), followed by an hour conversation to engage the audience, to engage people in thinking outside the box and see what other ways they could solve their scenarios of choice.
  • Viral workshops
    Each month, a number of half day workshops on specific topics, limited to 6 people. Each attendant will take a pledge when attending one of those workshops to become a workshop driver, be it as part of the AltNetGroup workshops, or in their company. Workshop topics will be offered to the community, and attendance levels will decide how often each workshop will be given.
  • Brown Bag Lunch Network
    We organize community events outside of office hours, what if we could bring all this knowledge inside the company? By setting up a BBL network, we’re putting together the people that want to share and the companies that want to receive that knowledge in their own offices, and helping everyone get in touch.

This is just the beginning, I still have plenty of ideas, and the community has come up with plenty more. As such, this list is only my pledge for the next 6 months, and will be adapted and refactored as seen fit.

Some of you have expressed your interest in helping out financially however you could, and I’d like to thank you for that. I’m glad to announce that there will now be a structure for you to contribute back in the form of cash, used for organizing all those events. As we want to deliver all this to the community for free (or as low cost as possible), we’re setting up a levelled corporate sponsor program, that stays very simple.

Supporter Level, £50 a month, by chunks of three months. You can renew your membership whenever you want. This will get you a presentation in one of the event when we salute the people that make it all possible, your logo on the website, and a reserved seat a month to workshops and the AltNetBeers event. We may include an online presence for likeminded people to get in touch for work, so if you see value in that, let me know.

Partner Level, for those that contribute above and beyond. We can discuss individually what you can do, want and what you hope to get out of it.

A new website is coming up at and will contain all this information.


When is it all starting?

September 09

Is this related to the UK Society?

No, they are two different organizations with different objectives. We focus on bringing knowledge to developers beyond their platform through group learning experiences. The Alt.Net UK Society is the organizer of the conference. We hope to continue working together on .net events where appropriate, just like we did for the weekend.

Is there a membership for individuals?

No. Individuals are the people we work on providing with content. Asking them to pay a membership is not compatible with the kind of events we want to organize. We want to stay self-sufficient and as lightweight as possible.