Tuesday, November 9, 2010 11:32 AM
Yo, guys. I started writing this in Istanbul and wound up finishing it in New York. It's time for an update!
The good news - I am renewing our group with Meetup HQ for another year. I'll "keep the lights on", but I can't do all the work myself (nor should I, for the sake of diversity, engagement, and balance.)
To keep the momentum going, we need to get more people involved in planning programs, hosting and monitoring them, finding speakers, attracting members, and building buzz for our group.
Here are some of the ways you can help - pick any one, or invent another:
Do you understand new media? Please help us set up a presence on Facebook and possibly Twitter, perhaps a blog, so we can more nimbly promote our events and provide useful resources. Tweet on!
Are you a web maven? Please help us spiff up our web site and make the most of the embedded features that Meetup offers: Downloads, Files, Discussion threads, placing ads on behalf of our sponsors. Meetup uses its own twisted version of HTML to schmaltz up the basic template. Schmaltz away!
Can you take photographs? Meetup HQ tells us that groups sites with photos draw more attendees and members. It's a visual "sell". Click away!
Do you have the heart and soul of a sleuth? I'm not talking about cloak-and-dagger gumshoe stuff. But I think we should conduct some "competitive analysis" on what other successful Meet-ups are doing to take full advantage of the tools and features of the platform, and beyond. For example, another investing meetup is proposing the use of the "Marketsmith" utility to share group files and resources. Should we be looking into this? What about a webconferencing platform? Are there cheap or even free ones that would work well for us? Sleuth away!
Are you well-connected in trading? Help us line up some good speakers. If you've got the leads, I can provide some guidelines and support. Lead on!
Are you a smooth talker? Help us line up sponsors to provide members benefits - discounts, raffle prizes, free or discounted access to trading tools, meeting space, etc. Schmooze on!
If people volunteer and serve, I truly believe we will create a vibrant community that offers real value to our members - events, resources, connections, discounts, etc. If people do NOT step up to the plate, the group will remain open but will slowly die a natural death. (We're already starting to lose members, perhaps people who didn't understand what the group was about or had an unfulfilled agenda for mining it for their own business. Sad, but that's the market economy working in meetup groups!)
These "volunteer" roles do come with some perks. You will be acknowledged as an "assistant organizer" on our web site. Looks good on a resume, if you are still on the job market. Provides good experience if you are hoping to set up your own group or take part in other volunteer organizations. And our periodic team meetings are likely to take place in pleasant venues where food and drink are served, so there's a fun social component, too.
If you would like to be an "assistant organizer" (or help out in any other way), please let me know.
Finally, I would like to revive the "Concept Investment Club" idea I originally proposed after Jim Farrish's presentation. The main point: certain investment managers (hedge funds, for example) require high minimums that exclude many of us. HOWEVER, by combining our funds in a disciplined, safe, structured manner (i.e. as a properly formed, NAIC-compliant investment club), we can gain access to these superior investment programs. Jim Farrish offers a great program in ETFs, and there are other programs we can consider. (With low minimum entries, many of us can consider more than one. Diversification for smarties!)
Although I knew that a Meetup Group is a totally volunteer fellowship and it takes time to build a following, I NEVER contemplated an ordinary group where we simply held an occasional meeting for casual passersby. This group is for people who earn their living trading and investing for their own account. It you share my passion and commitment to this great adventure of financial freedom, please step up and lend a hand to make this fellowship really work!