On Saturday, eight members of the USPX came together for a day-long focus group to share thoughts on our movement and plan for the future. Kevin and Maggie Weber kindly hosted the gathering at their home near Boston. Attendees came from across the country. Jim McRitchie flew in from California; Vincent Cirulli came from Alabama; Adam Foulke is from South Carolina, and Dick Treumann drove from New York. The rest of the attendees, Ed Pontes, Chris Sturr and Glyn Holton all drove from Boston.
Timing for the meeting was excellent, as we are getting ready to launch our new website. This will look similar to the old site, but it will have powerful social networking functionality members have been asking for. You will be able to host your own blog directly on the site—automated set-up will take less than a minute. The site will offer networking functionality, so members can meet virtually, discuss issues, and form groups to organize around issues. Attendees at Saturday’s meeting watched a demo of the site and were excited about the new functionality. They will start beta testing the site next week. It should go live for everyone else by early July.
A focus for Saturday’s meeting was ways to decentralize our organization. Prior to the meeting, attendees read the excellent book The Starfish and the Spider by Brafman and Beckstrom. It is about the power of decentralized movements, such as the nineteenth century abolitionist movement, Alcoholics Anonymous and Wikipedia. Our vision is for the USPX to be similarly decentralized, allowing shareowner-members to self-organize around issues and take action. The new website’s functionality will facilitate this, but decentralization requires more than a website. We have to change how members think about and interact within the movement. To that end, a lot of excellent ideas came out of the meeting. We will be working on these in the weeks ahead.