Over the past two years at 10gen, I’ve had the privilege of meeting some really interesting people who do amazing work with MongoDB. It’s inspiring to see so many people contribute to the project, whether it’s via code contributions, writing books, docs, and blogs, answering questions on the free support forum and StackOverflow, running local MongoDB User Groups, and more. While the 10gen staff has interacted with all of these people, there hasn’t been an opportunity for them to interact with one another, particularly since these folks are dispersed all over the world.
For awhile now I’ve wanted to create a forum to bring together the key people in the community. I had a few goals in mind. One was to reward and thank those who have been the most active in the MongoDB community. The other was to introduce these people to one another, get them talking to one another, and encourage the exchange of ideas. We also wanted the opportunity to educate MongoDB community leaders on the project roadmap, so that as ambassadors of MongoDB they’re well-informed. And finally, a key goal was to get feedback from the community on the direction of the project and the open source community.
On the day prior to MongoSV, we kicked off the MongoDB Masters program with the first annual Masters Summit. Of the 30 or so people we invited to the program, about 22 attended the summit, with people coming from four continents to attend. In terms of format, we took the lead from Community Leadership Summit and organized the event in unconference style. Prior to the event, there was some discussion on the masters mailing list and the masters wiki about topics that we should cover at the summit. The morning of the event, anyone could stand up and pitch a discussion session. We took the suggested sessions, written on post its, and arranged them on a wall to create a schedule.
Throughout the day, there were a few main themes/groups. There was consistently a set of people discussing their experiences running MongoDB in production (key contributors included Ian White, who ran the first production installation of MongoDB, Kenny Gorman from Shutterfly, and Tony Tam of Wordnik). Driver and ODM development was also an important topic throughout the day. There was also a small subgroup consisting of Justin Dearing, Craig Wilson, and David Makogon that discussed .NET and Windows.
In addition to these three main themes, there were several other sessions sprinkled in. One of my favorites was moderated by Nathen Harvey on how to run a MongoDB User Group. We had a great discussion with contributions from Nathen (organizer of the DC MUG), David Mytton & Harry Marr (organizers of the London MUG), and Takahiro Inoue (organizer of the Japanese MongoDB Community). A few days following the Summit, David sent me an email with an ordered list of ideas and suggestions for re-invigorating the London group. Nathen wrote two blog posts outlining how he runs the DC MUG, and my colleague Francesca put together a page on mongodb.org with tips & tricks for running a MongoDB User Group.
After the Summit, the Masters joined the broader MongoDB community for MongoSV. It was great to have so many of them at the event.
Now that we’ve had such an enthusiastic and fun kick off, we need to continue the momentum in 2012. In addition to our mailing list and IRC channel, I would like to start having monthly meetings — probably on Google Hangout or IRC to start. I’m very excited to see what ideas and feedback come from this group.