First, it was a pleasure to meet so many of you last night. One thing that I’ve always love the about the tech meetup is that I am ALWAYS meeting new people. Last night’s meetup marked the five year anniversary of meeting my current coworker and fellow open-source hacker / activist buddy, Nathan Freitas, http://openideals.org. If you’re into android, circumvention tools, mobile, tech activism, nook hacking, or how to do really cool shit, check him out. Btw, Happy Birthday Nathan.
Answer? Because we have done a bad job of understanding who is a “member” of the meetup. As someone who works with geeks, in and out of government and from across the state, I know they turn to the NYTM to know what is going on. Additionally, I can take a gander that thousands of you attend more than one meetup a month, and a majority of you attend another “tech meetup” of sorts.
If we are going to move NYTM forward and program for a better tomorrow, we need to take an honest look at who we are today. From my point of view, we are diverse, but we don’t embrace it. We don’t like to talk about the fact the current executive board is fairly homogeneous and most of the most vocal members are too. We have “over 16,000 members” and continue to complain about homogeny. We take for granted that we have an Executive Board and a Community Committee and we have no clue when they meet, what they have said, and what they are willing to do to address our concerns. Do you know where are $10 goes every month? I don’t. BUT I want to AND I want to do more.
Look, I’m not calling for a witch hunt, but a chance to clearly define ourselves.
With over 16,000 people from across who knows where, AND as a 501c6 (read trade association that can ask elected officials to listen to us via votes and/or $$$), we can start to shake things up. Before we can even think about doing these things, we must clarify who we are and what we want to do. We have the tools, passion and brainpower to build a ship and send it to Mars! Yet, we don’t send a tech delegation to Albany! (Sometimes, I get Albany and Mars confused…)
In conclusion, if you really want this community to fight for all the things 13 males, predominately fair-skin, said last night (i’m technical Puerto Rican, but i grew up in Ohio so I’m like egg nog…), we need to speak up and deal with these issues! I created a campaign site, VoteNoNeck.org, to hear your ideas.
I also know that there are fundamental issues to address: tickets, affiliate/related meetups, diversity, short and long term future, etc…
Regardless of the answers or direction, I want the next board to be reactive and transparent, and if I can’t get the whole board, I want the two WE choose to be reactive and transparent. As I promised last night, at least you will ALWAYS have my ear.
Thanks for hearing me out…
Vote Noel Hidalgo at vote.nytm.org