I’m just as familiar with the New York Tech Meetup as anyone. I was one of the first 100 members, dating back to February 2005. I was also part of the original New York Tech Meetup board and participated on it until last year. I offered to step aside to bring a few more faces onto the board last year. Now that there are four open spots, I’d like to return and I have a few specific things I’d like to accomplish.
Over the last seven years, I’ve not only been an active contributer to the NYC innovation community, but I have strived to help make it more accessible, creating new leaders and supporting other people’s projects. Sometimes, that meant publicly nudging Nate Westheimer into leading the NYTM even when he originally wasn’t even going to run for Organizer (Does everyone remember “Nate ‘08?”) or encouraging others to create meetups of their own, like ArtsTech, Fashion 2.0, or the Tech Biz Dev Meetup. That was one of the original principals of nextNY, the community group that I started in 2006—that anyone could and should run an event. For the last two years, it has also included promoting community through this newsletter.
More can be done. One focus that I’d like to try to use the New York Tech Meetup as a platform for is nurturing more leaders. By design, the meetup itself creates many spectators. We go each month to watch people present to us, but how many people walk out wanting to contribute to our thriving community, versus watching it? I’d like to find more conduits for leadership development so that a broad spectrum of diverse people can feel like they can reach and lead just as many people as the NYTM does.
Second, I’d like to find more ways to expand the reach of our community well beyond the island of Manhattan. We have a community of makers and extremely creative talent right across the East River in Brooklyn, but there exists a social and mental barrier to increased involvement in my favorite outer borough’s tech resurgence. On top of that, the New York Tech Meetup can be a beacon for regional talent and entrepreneurs—drawing in new participations from other communities, even as far as the west coast.
And third, the NYTM faces the potential pitfall of a widening gap in community resources. It has the disproportionate potential to raise money, get press, access space, etc. I’d like to see those benefits shared as a platform—so that the sponsorship dollars and space resources that the NYTM has access to can trickle down to other groups. Individuals who have other jobs are struggling to get new meetups off the ground and maintain their communities or find space to meet, while the NYTM gets bigger, raises more money, and becomes a permanent fixture. I’d like to see more work done to leverage the NYTM’s influence and resources to work with schools and big companies to make it easier for other tech and innovation meetups to thrive.
Thanks for listening. You can cast your vote here.