Disclaimer: I am a long time member of RTC, past board member and past president of the board. And I do believe in its mission.
On March 8th, the RTC had a “membership” meeting. That is, they invited members. But really, anyone interested who is on the public RTC mailing list or is a friend of the RTC page on Facebook received the invitation, to a meeting to talk about the future of RTC. There are currently 5 board members. All but one (who was out of town on a family emergency) attended. Of the rest of the 12 or so attendees, most were old timers like myself.
The board expressed its interest in reviving RTC to make it more relevant and to be more responsive to its members and the community at large. These are laudable goals, but they are the same ones the board has been expressing for years. And the question always arises, has RTC outlived its original purpose? The low attendance numbers at the meeting could itself be an indicator. But maybe, just maybe it was due to poor timing, publicity, etc. But again, maybe that’s indicative of the state of RTC. The once thriving mailing list seems to be moribund. There have been precious few interesting messages disseminated through the list the last several months.
Additionally, I have seen no report on the meeting or the results of a survey RTC circulated earlier on the use of social media. Why not? It could be the board is simply overwhelmed by their own work or personal projects and can’t find the time or energy to provide this information in a timely manner. But they do have a paid administrative assistant who should be able to write a little something.
Some good ideas and energy came out of the meeting in spite of the low attendance. The 2 biggest ideas that were discussed were:
1 The Humboldt Internet Marketing Group joining RTC as a sub-group and encouraging cross membership, marketing support and energy. This appears to be moving forward and some information will appear on the HIMG website soon.
2 Patrick Moon presented the concept of reviving the Tech Expo in a smaller somewhat modified form. It’s unclear to me from the meeting what the relationship between the ad hoc group planning a Tech Expo in the Fall and RTC. However there seemed to be a good deal of enthusiasm for some form of collaboration.
3 RTC plans to revive more frequent, less formal meetings that were its staple years ago. They brought people together to talk face to face about what technologies they were involved in and share exciting developments, questions and issues. They will continue hosting luncheons and other events but these member meetings may help generate more of a feeling of connectedness with the tech and business community at large.
I don’t know if these and other, smaller ideas that were discussed will be enough to make RTC relevant again. As always, it depends on the execution. It’s already April and there have been no meetings, and no luncheons (although one is scheduled for April 6).
I can’t help feeling that the illness and sudden death of Chris Crawford, who managed the Tech Beat series of articles that RTC is responsible for hasn’t also dampened the spirits of the group. Indeed, there have been no Tech Beats for several weeks. This further reduces the visibility and stature of RTC in the community. I hope the Tech Beat series is revived soon.
The current members of the board are extremely bright, very tech savvy and have a lot of energy. So, the talent is there to make RTC meaningful again. I wish them well and will help where I can.