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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I'm Rich, B....

Having money to spend on things you care about is always a great feeling. Spending someone else's money on things you care about is an even greater feeling. I have only been a member of the Signature Consultants family for a little under a month now and I am quickly learning what it feels like to have a very healthy (very, very healthy) discretionary spend budget. To sum it up, it feels AWESOME!

From my very first interview, Signature made a point to emphasize that one thing they believe in is investing in their candidates, clients, and the community. They love to entertain and heavily encourage their employees to spend money in the form of lunches, coffees, dinners, happy hours, user group meetings,, purses, Ann Taylor blouses (kidding, obviously). One thing I loved about my former role in Orlando was my involvement with user groups and the development community so this was music to my ears. I have always believed that in order to stand out, you have to get to know those involved in the community and demonstrate that you are invested. Pizza, beer, and raffle items aren't everything, but they certainly help, particularly in an economy where so many other firms are cutting corners and not interacting with those they are supposed to be helping on a daily basis. I am very good at spending money (Visa can back this up) so joining a company that gave me an open wallet to invest in the user groups that I love so much felt like a gift (seriously), and a gift that I was getting paid to enjoy, too. There are many things that suck a lot more than waking up and doing what you love everyday.

One of the first things I did when I moved to San Francisco was getting involved with the Bay Area .Net User Group. I made a lot of wonderful friendships in the Central Florida .Net User Groups and I wanted to get to know the San Francisco community just as well. And because my position with the Kforce office in San Francisco was on the health care team, I didn't get to interact with developers during the day, and that really bothered me. I knew I wasn't going to be given a budget for User Groups (.Net, at least) in San Francisco, but I still went to the meetings anyway to get involved in anyway I could. I quickly joined the volunteer ranks and helped with the meetings in anyway I could. I got to serve food, be the sign-in sheet monitor, room cleaner-upper, help brainstorm ideas to drive attendance, and assist with marketing. The third Wednesday of the month quickly became the day I looked forward to the most.

Signature was very aware of my involvement in the community in Florida and was happy to hear I was doing the same thing (or trying to) in San Francisco. When they hired me, they gave me an open budget for sponsorships, raffle items, lunches, happy hours, etc. At first, I thought they were kidding because it is a relatively expensive undertaking and I wasn't used to money being handed to me that easily (unless, of course, I was standing in front of my dad). They weren't. They were 120% serious. I was beyond elated. I immediately sent my buddy in the .Net group a message on Twitter and told him we were game to sponsor pizza until the end of time. He responded and was on board.

Fast forward to a week later.

I was having lunch with my manager, Scott, and we started to talk about the user groups and the developer community in San Francisco. I told him about sponsoring the .Net group and he asked what I was doing for a giveaway item.

Giveaway item? They were actually serious about that?

Long story short, he told me to feel free to spend $150 or so a month on a raffle item in addition to the pizza and drinks. Apparently Christmas was coming a few months late this year.

I immediately took my rich "Uncle Scott" up on his offer and started to do a Twitter poll on raffle items. Some of the responses I got were gift cards (Best Buy, Amazon, etc.), tech books, and a Zune, all of which I'm going to do. I'm also going to purchase some ReSharper 5 licenses, too, and get those into the mix (starting next month) assuming they have been released. I'm also toying with the idea of raffling off a signed picture of Ballmer. (I might "fix" that raffle, though, and keep it for myself. Ballmer would look hot framed next to my bed.)

I'm very excited about Signature's openness to the community because I really feel there are some great friendships to be made and those that know me, know I'm very relationship focused. In addition to the great friendships, there are some pretty cool and interesting speakers. The San Francisco Bay Area is home to many a brilliant technologist so some of the topics that get presented blow my mind. Earlier this month, some guy gave a presentation on Silverlight Media Framework and it was awesome. (Oh yeah, this "guy" was my boyfriend, Kevin Rohling.) Boyfriend or not, the presentation was great, interesting, easy to understand (even for me...thank you, small miracles), and he highlighted some of the goodness his company (Vertigo) was working on. (I'm still struggling with my Cat Cam, though...) Next month's presentation promises to be just as good. Check out the Bay .Net site to learn more!

To those that are interested in learning more about Signature, some of the great events we are participating in, want us to sponsor your User Group in the Bay Area, or have a raffle item suggestions, please feel free to contact me via email or Twitter. I'm equally addicted to both and would love to spend my newly acquired riches on you, too!

(Homeless people and those looking for a "sugar mamma" need not apply.)

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