NetSquared Local Organizer Spotlight: Mike Baldwin from Lafayette, LA

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Mike Baldwin, NetSquared Lafayette, LAEvery month, the NetSquared Community comes together offline at NetSquared Local events around the world to mix, swap stories and ideas, build new relationships, and collaborate to help the local community. Our local organizers are volunteers dedicated to helping create local opportunities for learning, sharing and using technology to make a difference. In this Organizer Spotlight series we bring you interviews with organizers from around the world.

We're happy to introduce: Mike Baldwin!

Mike is one of the organizers of the NetSquared group in Lafayette, LA, USA. You can check out his profile and ways to connect on the NetSquared Local Organizer Team page. Are you in Lafayette? Connect to the NetSquared group here!

Tell us who you are in less than 140 characters.

I'm an IT student with a passion for editing video and developing tech communities.

How do you spend your time when you're not organizing NetSquared Local events?

Mostly studying for school, but also working on electronic music (shameless plug! http://soundcloud.com/jembancroft). The other project I'm working on is http://dirtycajuns.com which is a blog run by Drew Landry and myself dedicated to the cause of reporting the aftermath of the Gulf Oil Spill and how it affects coastal communities and its' residents.

What inspired you to organize local NetSquared Local events in your community?

I saw a void in Lafayette in terms of Social Networking. With the deployment of LUS Fiber, construction of the LITE center and businesses such as Global Data Networks, Lafayette was quickly on the map in terms of infrastructure but was lacking a social networking element. After seeing what Net2NO did for New Orleans, I decided that we should give the NetSquared meeting structure a shot and see what it could do for Lafayette.

What's the hardest part of the job?

Finding speakers and topics that will draw a crowd and keeping a consistent attendance. Luckily I have a co-organizer: Mike Bass who is a total rockstar when I'm stumped. It's been challenging these past couple of months but we keep trying month after month.

How do you measure the success of your events?

The conversations that sparks during and after the events. It's great to have a healthy turnout, but if the members are talking about something other than the topic that was discussed for the most part then it wasn't really that successful. We do encourage social networking however, and do not want to limit our members to just talk about what we bring to the table.

Tell us about the best NetSquared Local event.  What did you learn from that experience?

Probably the first one, just because it was brand new and we had the largest turnout. I think there was a lot of excitement because we didn't really know where we wanted to go with the meetings so we took the oppurtunity to discuss what was going on in the Tech community and what we could learn from each other. I learned that free booze will attract a crowd! In all seriousness, it was a great thing to have a lot of tech heads from different points in their careers and different industries to be talking about the local scene and what could be done for it.

What's the local social-web-tech scene like in Lafayette?

The geeks get it, and some of the social media guys get it, but I think it's still in it's infancy here in Lafayette. Social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook are utilized here, but the adoption rate is still kindof low, in my opinion. I'd like to see more local businesses use social networking and have specials. I think that could really help not only stimulate their business but also appeal to consumers on a more widely adopted medium.

How do you envision NetSquared Local events evolving over time?

I hope they will include more than one presentation, perhaps a few short presentations so that it can appeal to a larger audience and the group as a whole can learn more. I'm not really sure where it'll go over time though. We'll just have to wait and see!

What's your change-the-world philosophy?

Change the world? The world is changing everyday!

What music are you listening to now-a-days?

A lot of French House, most of the artists on Ed Banger Records such as: Busy P, DJ Mehdi, Justice, Daft Punk, and Mr. Oizo. But also what I like to call "collage music" like The Books and Baths... And (here are the curveballs) Hank Williams Sr, Danny!, Big Boi, and various Cajun artists.

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