Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Future of BDPA

Seems like you turn on the news and all you hear is everything is in turmoil; the economy, Wall Street, mortgage collapse, more job layoffs, and just a general doom and gloom everywhere. In Michigan , this is not new to us since we have been a recession for many months and now the rest of America is feeling the pain now. With all this said, BDPA Detroit was not immune to the effects of the world. We are at our lowest point of participation in the 8 years I have been involved with the organization.
I like many IT workers was hit by the layoff bug and was out of work for over 14 months and during that time period had major heart surgery to boot. I too had to switch my priorities but kept a level of involvement in BDPA. Oddly, the position I am currently hold was in part made possible through networking with BDPA members in Detroit.
So BDPA does work if you work the system. BDPA can not guarantee you a job when you are laid off but it does help improve the odds of finding employment. But for BDPA to work, members must get involved and create a true network. We need to realize the definition of a network is a system to share resources. BDPA's resource are the members that share knowledge, time , effort and resources improve BDPA and the community.
I bring up this topic because the last TAC seminar on September 25 had only 4 participants; 3 BDPA members and 1 from NSBE on a topic which is in demand in the IT field, vitalization. BDPA is suppose to be an organization of "Thought Leaders" and a force of change in the IT community. But what does it take to draw people out??? With this being possibly the worst economic point in American history, you would think BDPA would be at it height of membership with professionals getting together and helping each other and the community but the opposite is true. I hope this is not a "Black people" thang of not trusting each other in times of need because we are afraid of getting used, abused and taken advantaged off. It is time to break that 20th century mind set and move into the 21st century.
We have all the resources necessary to make a difference in the lives of our families and possible the world. Just a quick scan of the internet shows how other groups are making a difference but not BDPA. Here are some solutions to this problem:
  1. Concerted effort to exploit technology to improve communication and promotion of BDPA events. (Planning a Windows Live meeting on using LinkeIn and other social networks)
  2. Encourage members to experiment with the Web 2.0 technologies out there. How many Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pownce and other sites have you played with on the web. Share your experience with other BDPA members and rate their usability.
  3. Encourage members to produce content on the web. I have noticed that the majority of content on the web was created by young white males. We need to place stuff on the web through Blogs, videos and audio podcasts. We need to fill the Google search engine with a variety of content produced by us and for all to learn and enjoy.
  4. Clarify the 21st century mission of BDPA. I still do not know BDPA's elevator pitch to recruit members. We need to become a relevant force in the IT community and our local community. I would like to see BDPA reach a point when companies beg us to donate money to our cause.
  5. Finally, have some fun. Let the true geek or what ever come out. We are professionals but if there is no passion, why do it.
Time for us to grow or die. It is up to you which direction BDPA takes. I hope the majority chooses growth and CHANGE to make our little time in this universe something meaningful and lasting.

Cliff Samuels Jr
BDPA TAC Director
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