North Texas Objectivist Society (NTOS) Message Board › Unsolicited Suggestions

Unsolicited Suggestions

Matthew D.
mattieabs
Fort Worth, TX
Post #: 2
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Hello -

I have yet to attend a meeting, but thought I would offer some suggestions none the less.

1) I think it would be beneficial to establish concrete objectives for the group. In reading the, "ABOUT" section, it would appear that social interaction is the primary function. Social groups are completely valid and necessary, however failure to distinguish yourselves as such may lead to confusion and discourage those who are looking to participate in a more functionally productive vein of Objectivist promotion. Again, I have yet to attend so I am only making an assumption as to the nature of the group. Perhaps if there are differing levels of interest, committees, subgroups, or a whole different group entirely could be formed to that end.

2) Record minutes. Particularly when all members are unable to attend each meeting, the continuity of a group depends upon keeping informed. If the nature of the meetings is more social than functional and organizational this would obviously be difficult, as there are several discussions to monitor at one time. Perhaps the group could retain its social nature by beginning the evening with a formal, "meeting," and then dividing into the social groups that have seemed to prevail at previous meetings. I believe a summation of the meetings events, who attended, etc. would serve to keep current members informed as well as give perspective members an idea of what takes place at a typical meeting - not to mention provide a historical ledger of the groups progress and an easy reference to things which were discussed.


AGAIN, I fully acknowledge that my ability to speak on this matter is curtailed by the fact that I have yet to attend a meeting. I hope to attend the next and look to be a valuable asset to the club. As you may have inferred, I am extremely, "results oriented." I have a very sincere and passionate interest in the promotion of our mutual ideals - and plenty of energy to execute them. I believe that in order for us to move significantly forward, we must establish concrete objectives and begin working toward them. Objectivists need to be represented more extensively in the media. We need to get our name out there. I believe a club like this, growing as quickly as we are, CAN make an impact - particularly in a given geographic area. We'll build awareness through the media here in Dallas, take back America, then the world. Obviously this involves determination of our objectives and long term strategy building - which I believe can only be accomplished through introduction of some of the more organizational and structural aspects mentioned above.

I appreciate the effort that produced this group and certainly do not intend to demean the group, its creators, objectives, or accomplishments in any manner. I look foward to meeting and working with you all.

Matt
Old Toad
OldToad
Group Organizer
Dallas, TX
Post #: 65
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Matt,

I am open to all constructively intended suggestions, regardless of whether or not you have made it to one of our meetings.

1) You are correct that our initial purpose is to provide an opportunity to meet one another socially. We are hoping that based on regular social meetings, we could form subgroups having further particular interests and purposes, such as offering courses on Objectivism, offering or promoting events that may be of particular interest to Objectivists, or promotion of Objectivism to the wider community, etc.

2) After each meeting I usually try to mention attendance numbers, provide a brief general description of the previous meeting, and give special thanks to anyone who may have contributed something special to a meetings. I have missed doing it for the last couple of meetings, however, because I have been preoccupied with work. I certainly would agree to someone taking more detailed minutes for any formal subgroups that may wish to organize and conduct meetings, as part of our social meetings or separately.

If you are interested in forming a subgroup or splinter group for any further or particular purpose that might be of interest to local Objectivists, please feel welcome and free to jump in and start. I would be willing to help you, too.

Todd
Organizer
Greg Lucas
greglucas
Addison, TX
Post #: 3
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Although they come from someone who has not actually attended a NTOS event, these are certainly interesting suggestions. The objective of the NTOS is, however, very concrete. We are trying to build a society of like-minded individuals.

I believe I speak for many members of our group when I say that we felt a bit lost before joining the NTOS. People have discovered objectivism at many different times and stages of life. The discovery of objectivism is as exciting as it is frightening. We are all excited about learning more about Ayn Rand and Objectivism, and dealing with many of the complex social, political, and philisophical issues is a little less intimidating in a friendly forum, particularly when there are so many incredibly intelligent and knowledgeable members in the group.

The informal structure of our gatherings allows us to make it out to Todd's beautiful home when we are able to and makes everyone feel welcome. Even more importantly, it allows discussions (often very complex ones) to be dynamic and fluid as people move about.

It is very important to keep the group growing, but the more we all continue to learn about Objectivism, the more empowered we are to lead rational lives and promote our mutual self-interest. Empowered individuals make an empowered group which ultimately does make an impact, not just on every member's life, but the lives of everyone they come in contact with.

Greg
A former member
Post #: 2
Hi Everyone,

I know I don't post often, but i have been to just about every NTOS gathering since the second. While Matthew has not yet attended any meetings, I believe he does have a couple valid points. As Jamie has pointed out, we are the Largest active Rand group in the WORLD!!! But who knows this?

A week ago, as Jamie, his lovely wife, Rachel, and I sat awaiting the victory of the Dark Side, we noticed the proliferation of ads for churches throughout the Metroplex. Almost simultaneously, we came to the conclusion that NTOS and Objectivism could greatly benefit from similar advertising. The question, as is always the question, is "Who pays?" Who puts up the money for the movie ads, etc.? What if we can turn our strong point, that of our high participation, into FREE ADVERTISING???

My idea is simply this: Contact the major local news agencies and ask them to do a cover story on the Largest Objectivist Group in the World. Let them know we exist and the breadth of our constituency. We are such a diverse group that we can easily form trade relationships amongst ourselves for mutually beneficial relations. At the same time, we have common values that differ greatly from "the norm" of Bible Belt, Texas. Let me know how you think about this, especially Todd's family, since their ranch would be featured, and we can begin contacting the news teams.

Paul
Old Toad
OldToad
Group Organizer
Dallas, TX
Post #: 77
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Hi Paul,

Thanks for your post and kind words.

I gather from your post that you, Jamie, and Rachel went out to see a movie together. I think this should be one of the benefits of our meetings, i.e., the opportunity to meet others that we each might desire to socialize with as personal friends. Based on just 8 meetings so far, I have heard of nearly 10 other examples of people getting together socially for dinner, etc., so perhaps this benefit is working well.

However, I personally am uncomfortable with seeking news attention on this basis for our home, not wanting to attract some of the "wrong" kind of attention. While my family is glad to extend trust and host meetings to those we meet through meetup and e-mail, I hope everyone can understand and respect that we do have some minimal concerns for our home and privacy.

Still, I also think we could do more to promote our group. If anyone would like to distribute flyers regarding our meetup group, I would appreciate the opportunity to help and review the welcoming text. I think we should promote out meeting website (currently through meetup.com), rather than announce any particular meeting time and place. This would make the flyer less time sensitive. I personally think it would be most effective to further promote our group via the the internet. I could use some help with that, if anyone has the skills.

Todd
Matthew D.
mattieabs
Fort Worth, TX
Post #: 10
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Excellent suggestion Paul - that is what I meant by saying Objectivists need to be represented in the media. People need to know that we exist before they can even begin to decide whether they agree with us. I do not think it would be difficult to divorce such from the context of Todd's family (Please excuse my informality) ranch. Realistically, if the 'objective' of the group is to grow, significantly, in numbers, I would imagine that an alternative meeting place would have to be taken under consideration.
A former member
Post #: 3
Okay, let's run with this and see where it leads.

However, I personally am uncomfortable with seeking news attention on this basis for our home, not wanting to attract some of the "wrong" kind of attention. While my family is glad to extend trust and host meetings to those we meet through meetup and e-mail, I hope everyone can understand and respect that we do have some minimal concerns for our home and privacy.

I can fully understand this. I am constantly amazed that someone would choose to open their home up as you have done and thankful for it. So, what if, instead of telling the whole Metroplex where you live and inviting them, we simply state that meetings are held in member's homes and then have people who are interested directed to the web site? From that point, it would be just like anyone else who ran across the Meetup site.

Another idea I was toying with was t-shirts with a catchy logo, say, "The Power of Money or the Gun: It's your choice." with NTOS and the web site on the back. I haven't found a suitable royalty-free graphic, so ideas on that would be great. Maybe we can get permission from ARI for one of theirs. I can get a great deal if we can get 12 or more people to throw in on it.

I have graphics programs with the capability to produce printer-ready flyers, and I am acquianted with a local printer. I can check on getting them printed, if you like. Just let me know what kind of info you want on them, grpahics, etc. and I can get started on a draft in what passes for my free time.

Finally, keep in mind the history of the Christian church. For the first couple centuries, Christians met , in secret, in members' homes. Eventually, once the Roman emperors had accepted the religion, most likely for political purposes, houses of worship were built, again, using expropriated monies. While Matthew has a point in saying that another venue will eventually need to be found, I think we have a little while before we are ready to commission our own buildings. wink
Greg Lucas
greglucas
Addison, TX
Post #: 4
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I'd like to take the opportunity to thank Todd's family for their hospitality again. We certainly can't do that too often.

The distribution of flyers is definately a good way to spread the word, and I agree that efforts should be made to market the group. This is something we should all be thinking about.
T-shirts are also an excellent way to spread the word simply by walking around. We may consider going through cafepress.com to have merchandise produced. Their price may not be competetive enough, but I know they will put a graphic on just about anything: mousepads, shirts, hats, mugs, etc. They offer people the opportunity to order from the site rather than having the group front the cost of ordering inventory and reselling. We could also put some objectivist/atheist/capitalist stuff in our little cafepress store that isn't specific to our group, which would generate a few dollars in revenue for the group from other orders.

Paul, I too look forward to the day when we can comission a building for a large group of objectivists. Perhaps with a large, golden, dollar-sign podium. Would we mantain the popular 'first-come first-served' seating method or sell seating priority airline-style?
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