Thanks to Scoble!
A number of us were here in Atlanta for an INETA board meeting and I happened to notice a geek dinner being hosted by Robert Scoble (http://radio.weblogs.com/0001011/2005/07/24.html#a10745) in the Atlanta area.
Five of us from the INETA board, Chris Pels, Morgan Baker, Chris Wallace (of Denver), Brian Tinkler and I rented a car and drove to 5 Seasons Brewing.
I did not count but there were something like 25 or 30 people piled into the smoking section / bar. The good news is there were only a couple of smokers and this room also had the pool table and dart boards.
After we had been there a couple of hours, Brian Tinkler (http://geekswithblogs.net/btinkler/) and I started talking to Ken Grisnak (marketing and communications for 5 seasons) was very excited to have the geeks visit, had just discovered blogging and gave us a great tour of the brew room, restaurant and beer garden. It was originally a Friday's but you would never know it now. Turns out they have a large organic menu and good relationship with local farmers. See their website at: http://www.5seasonsbrewing.com/index.html and new today their blog: http://5seasonsbrewing.reger.com/ My wife's brother and his family live near by in Buckhead and I will definitely bring them there next time we visit Atlanta!
We knew a number of the "geeks" as active INETA volunteers we had just been with in Orlando for the User Group Leader Summit. This was my first official geek dinner and did not know what to expect but we ended up having a number of very interesting and productive discussions.
Matt Ranlett (http://www.devcow.com/weblogs/Fun+Times+At+The+Geek+Dinner.aspx) and Brendon Schwartz (yes they are super ug leaders, lots of ideas, energy and enthusiasm) had the idea of connecting a higher level "chalk talk" before or after the MSDN session to attract more people, help get the user groups involved with MSDN and address an audience that is looking for more technical depth than the content normally in the MSDN talks.
We talked to Glen Gordon of Microsoft (DCC in the Atlanta district) who says that although they are going to be doing fewer MSDN events they are trying to raise the technical level from the 100/200 level to the 200/300 level. He is very excited about giving the chalk talks a trial run. This works in very well with the discussions that INETA board member Brian Tinkler has been having with the MSDN people.
We also got to meet the other Chris Wallace (from Atlanta) , Michael Earls (an INETA volunteer), Paul Lockwood and many others whom I did not know and did not have cards.
As always it is great to get out and meet people from other cities doing similar things (User group and work wise) and re-invigorates all of us to volunteer more (ouch!).