Commitment. Dedication. What causes individuals to come to a user group meeting month after month for years? What drives two people to commit to each other for the long haul of marriage? And, what forces drive them apart from their vows of matrimony?
Swimming in my head were such thoughts during the final meeting of the Stanford Newton User Group for 2002. January will feature our ninth anniversary, and a couple of us, like Flash and me, have practically been there from the start. Kevin mentioned that in the Silicon Valley, it’s hard enough for people to dedicate themselves to their jobs and family lives to expect them to come regularly to a user group meeting. He makes a good point, though I see the issue from the a different point of view. As the organizer of SNUG and COBA, I’ve got to be there, rain or shine, sick or healthy. Looks like I need to learn how to delegate!
Since I graduated, there have been a number of organizations and causes to which I was fiercely dedicated for a few months or a couple of years that I now look back with quizzical puzzlement or embarassment. I’m sure that the economy, my social circle, mindset and goals were very different back then. Still, I sometimes wonder how things might have turned out if I went left instead of right, right instead of left.
During the meeting, a friend of a SNUG member came into Printer’s Inc. He wasn’t here for the user group meeting, but to meet “the mother of his child” to go over legal issues and paperwork. Turns out he’s getting a divorce, and she’s suing him. As quickly as I can imagine the hopes and dreams they must have shared when they got married or the joy from the birth of their first child, the mountain of legalese and attorney’s fees sweeps into view. Short-term commitments with long-term consequences.
Old SNUG standbys present last night included Peter, Lewis, Randeep, Flash, Dave, Greg, and Kevin. We typically get one or two new members a month, but they never seem to stick and come back the following month. This meeting, Jeremy Bond Shepherd of San Francisco was able to make the trek to SNUG. Jeremy has been a longtime Newton owner since the OMP days, but he had never come to a SNUG meeting until now, nearly 5 years since the Newton’s demise at the hands of Apple! Let’s hope he comes back!
In related news, I’ve been steadily simplifying my life. At the SNUG meeting, I gave and raffled away a number of Newton items, including 2 wooden Newtons, 2 WriteRights screen protectors, Newton, Inc. stationery, an eMate 300 and Newton MP2100 box, a Newton modem, and the Think Fast Newton Conference Guide. I’ll probably find some more stuff to hand out at the ninth anniversary SNUG meeting, coming up in 2 months!