...is happening right now over on Robert Dempsey's blog - he gave some highlights from the weekend at BarCamp and some of the many events and discussions around the idea of forming a technology association in Central/all of Florida.
I obviously had something to say, and I think this conversation is headed in a healthy direction. If you want to get involved, please check out Robert's blog and the subsequent comments.
Here are my words:
Florida Creatives is not the tech association, but it could be one option if people get on board. I would love to be involved, and if we end up using Florida Creatives as the name for the organization so be it.
Robert and I have discussed getting a regular conference call together that is recorded so people can listen in and post responses, as well as meetings in person, but I think something like a video or audio recording of these events will help ease everyoneâ€™s minds. I think the more open this entire process is, the fewer witch hunts we will see.
Over at FloridaCreatives.com weâ€™re going to be setting up a free tool to help folks get organized, make connections, get a centralized list of events, and have a conversation.
The tools will be similar to those you see on Meetup.com but offered for free to anyone who wants them.
The work weâ€™ve already done starting the wiki will continue with a more user-friendly look and feel, and hopefully the information will become even easier to find, search and import/export. The point is to make the tools free and openly available with a very low barrier to entry.
Iâ€™m stoked to hear so many passionate voices. Itâ€™s a sign that weâ€™ve arrived as a community and itâ€™s time to take action.
I never wanted to set up Florida Creatives like that and put in all the work until we were ready and it would be easy to get some folks to help us keep the thing running smoothly. This is the sort of thing we can write grant proposals about and gather donations for. Meetup.com's $20/month fee is exorbitant, but they do have to pay the bills.
We've got a volunteer who wants to help with the design, but I'm sure we could use more. I know we have a couple of Drupal nerds in town, I'm willing to train more. Drupal's Organic Groups is really one of the most robust and easiest tools to get this job done, and it will let everyone have a level playing field here.
This is a political movement - the word politics is scary, but creating a group like this means a consolidation of power - from individuals, groups and businesses alike, they all wield some influence, some resources, and often times the larger groups are not submitting higher quality volunteers, or more passionate, or even a larger number than the smaller groups. There's a lot of talk going around about the size of companies, but one passionate and focused person can achieve what a large group of lazy and disagreeable types can.
If we can come to a consensus, philosophically, ethically; set a good example for others to follow, we can be a large group of passionate and focused individuals all going in the same direction.
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