Looking for IT Info, Education, Camaraderie? Try EBIG

With new developments in information technology constantly unfolding, it's more important than ever to stay informed about new products and methods that can help your business. One way to meet professional education needs and also build a network of local contacts in the same industry is through the East Bay Information Technology Group, or EBIG, the East Bay's leading technology forum.

"We are one of the biggest non-profit technology organizations in the Bay Area that focuses on the broad spectrum of technology," says Kristen Kuhns, the group's executive director. "We have just under 10,000 people in our database right now, mostly East Bay people, but we also have people from Marin, San Francisco, and San Jose who come to our events."

EBIG, now in its fourth year, typically sponsors eight to 12 events every month that cover the spectrum of today's business-related technology.

"One of our three areas of focus is hard core technology, and this is where the bulk of our events take place," says Kuhns. "They're very specific geared toward a technology that people have an interest in. For example, we have a Best Practices Special Interest Group (SIG), which is probably our most general SIG, and it talks about implementation of technologies: how to write software and how to use the methodologies that are out there. Anybody who's a project manager, a software developer or architect, a network manager or sysadmin, would find that useful."

Other EBIG SIGs cover Blogging; Telecommunications and Wireless Technology (COMM SIG); Borland's Delphi programming language; Java; Microsoft and Partners Technologies; Networking; Open Source; Sales and Marketing; Start Ups and Venture Capital; Web Development; and the Women's Information Group, which explores the unique issues and concerns faced by women in predominantly male technology fields.

Conveniently, many of EBIG's SIGs, including the COMM SIG, Microsoft and Partners SIG, Networking SIG, Sales and Marketing SIG, the Start Ups and Venture Capital SIG, and the Women's Information Group, meet in the Tri-Valley area.

What makes EBIG activities particularly worthwhile, though, is the useful information that's made available to attendees. "We have a series coming up from the Sales and Marketing group that talks about all kinds of different sales and marketing techniques, especially those that can be implemented on low budgets," says Kuhns. "So it's great for any company that's interested in getting the most out of their money, whether it's e-mail marketing or running a sales team or how to go out and effectively market using the Internet. To complement that, we will also be offering a series of six classes on how to use the Internet specifically to market your company's products or services. That includes how to use pay-per-click advertising, search engine optimization, how to write your web content so it's compelling and reaches your customers, how to build a relationship with customers who find you online, and so forth."

Kuhns also points out that EBIG is run exclusively by volunteers and is not dependent on a particular sponsor, which means that the information exchanged at EBIG events is free of sales or marketing hype. "We spend a lot of time with our SIG chairs and our speakers to make sure that the content that they're delivering is really solid. You don't come to any of our events and have people try to sell you something."

Complete information on EBIG events and membership can be found on their web site at www.ebig.org .

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