As Published In
Oracle Magazine
May/June 2013

COMMUNITY: Up Close


How to Grow a User Group in China

By Jeff Erickson

 

A young user group leader helps Oracle reach Chinese DBAs and developers.

The day I met Shi Qiu (who goes by the English name Marshall) at Oracle headquarters, he was carrying his Chinese-language copy of Expert Oracle Exadata (Apress, 2011). Shi was on campus to represent the All China Oracle User Group (ACOUG), of which he was obviously proud. “It’s the first book to introduce Exadata in China,” he said. “The translators of this book are all members of our Oracle user group.”

ACOUG was founded in 2010 by two well-known Oracle ACE Directors, Leyi (Kamus) Zhang and Guoqiang (Eygle) Gai. Their intention was to give members of a popular online Oracle forum a place to meet in person. Shi worked with them on a translation project and later that year agreed to become the group’s Webmaster. That role morphed into a position as vice president of membership and events.

Shi uses tech forums and social media to spread the word about ACOUG. He maintains accounts on Renren, China’s version of Facebook, and on Weibu, China’s version of Twitter, where he has 2,600 followers. “We push news and events, and people repost them,” Shi says. But perhaps his best location for promoting is ITPUB, a decade-old Oracle technology forum with more than 2 million members. ACOUG has also established its own forum on the ACOUG Website. “When we have an event coming up, we post on these forums and lots of people show up,” he says.

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ACOUG has grown furiously in terms of membership and the number of its live events. When Shi and I spoke in January 2012, ACOUG boasted 1,700 members, and membership is growing fast. Shi also expects attendance at live events to double from 2012 to 2013.

“In the past three years, we’ve held 28 events,” says Shi. “Most events take place in Beijing. Last year we held two events in Shanghai, one event in Guangzhou, and two others at college campuses.” For the second half of 2013, the group will focus on Oracle OpenWorld Shanghai, July 22–25, as well as two OTN Tour events in October with top international speakers, including Jonathan Lewis. “These two tours, along with many smaller events, will help to spread Oracle’s message to more cities and universities,” says Shi.

The twentysomething Shi seems to be enjoying the crazy ride. “Can you imagine another way that I would get to ask Tom Kyte my questions face-to-face without ACOUG?” Shi asks. “That’s what I get to do now—and so do many other Chinese DBAs.”

While Chinese DBAs benefit from the user group, Oracle gains equally. ACOUG members recently produced two other books, Oracle DBA Notes 2 and Oracle DBA Notes 3, as well as many other papers and even popular videos. “There are now four Oracle books with the ACOUG logo on them,” says Shi. “And a few years ago, I helped translate a video by French Oracle expert Stéphane Faroult.”

The young user group works with Oracle to find meeting rooms for its monthly meetings in Beijing and to source expert speakers in performance tuning, backup and recovery, security, and Oracle Exadata.

Oracle Exadata is a big technology focus for Oracle DBAs around the world, and the ACOUG is building on that focus. “We founded an Exadata SIG last year and now have Exadata tracks at all of our events,” says Shi, flashing his Chinese edition of Expert Oracle Exadata.

From online presence to offline events and production of books and media, Shi and ACOUG are establishing themselves for future success.


Jeff Erickson Headshot


Jeff Erickson
(jeffrey.x.erickson@oracle.com) is a senior editor with Oracle Publishing.

 

 



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