Editors note: This is the (hopefully) first in a series of posts by guest authors … all of whom are candidates for the COMMON Board of Directors. These articles will be posted in the order they are received, with no preference being given to anyone.

I love the i and the Power platform and I have grown increasingly fond of the user community that surrounds it. This community is as good as the hardware that binds it! In this disconnected, virtual, anonymous world we live in, it is pretty sweet to have a “real” community: A community of real people, dealing with real challenges, in real time. I think it is important to leverage this community to maximize our productivity in our jobs and maximize the joy we have in doing our jobs. As a board member of Common, I am looking forward to implementing the following goals for IBM i users specifically and Power system users in general:

  1. Encourage greater community participation in conferences, workshops and local user group meetings
    1. Conferences – As a board member I will promote finding smaller and less expensive venues for annual conferences. I will also promote the reinstatement of volunteer credits to help defray conference participate costs.
    2. Workshops – Although I am a great fan of face to face, instructor led workshops, I also appreciate the opportunity to learn online. I will promote the establishment of member led distance learning workshops where the member and Common can both benefit financially.
    3. Local User Groups – LUGS are extremely important to a vibrant i community. The difficulty is in managing these local user groups with limited resources. I will promote the use of Common’s infrastructure to provide support and resources to grow local User groups.
  2. Reinvigorate the IBM Power community’s interest in Common.
    1. Provide a “credit” system for earning credits that can be used for defraying the expense of participating in Common activities. This is an expansion of the credits given for volunteering at Common annual conferences. These “credits” can be earned in a variety of ways:
      1. Contributing to Common sponsored Open Source Projects
      2. Contributing to articles and blog posts in Common Connect and Common online
      3. Delivering online workshops, seminars and chats
      4. Speaking at the Common annual Conference, volunteering for Common positions.
      5. Moderating and responding to questions in Common sponsored forums.
    2. Provide more ways to directly communicate with the Common board.
    3. Develop a comprehensive plan to promote Common among IBM i Users specifically and IBM Power platform users generally

I believe that key to COMMON’s success is the leveraging of IBM i and Power community member resources to grow the Common community. These resources are experienced and motivated and should be given the opportunity to not only contribute, but earn “credit” for that participation that can be then used for further participation in the community. There is no other user community that so leverages their membership, and I believe that the success of Common was in the unique way of encouraging participation through using “credits” to help defray costs. I believe this system should be expanded because, properly managed, it can be a win-win situation: Both the members and Common can benefit.

I believe the best days of COMMON are still ahead. The Power platform and IBM i’s unique position on that platform is just beginning to be appreciated by the IT industry. They want a simpler and more power platform. I want a simpler and more powerful COMMON community and as a board member I will work hard to see that become a reality.


About Pete Helgren:
Currently President of Value Added Software, Inc. Pete is an MCSE with over 20 years of system 3X/AS400/iSeries/System i experience. He is also an RPG/C++/VB/Java programmer. He is an IBM Certified Specialist -- iSeries Solution Sales eServer i5 and eServer i5 iSeries Single System Administration. His passion has always been in system integration and currently focuses on Open Source applications and integration activities. He has had previous lives as a Regional Training and Support manager for Pearson Plc and HR Director for Meridian School District, Meridian, ID.