Back in 2004, PICnet was just a few years old, Soapbox wasn’t even an idea yet, and I found myself in Philadelphia with a bunch of non-profit tech geeks. It was my first Non-Profit Technology Conference (NTC), organized by our good friends at N-TEN. and I remembered thinking to myself, “wow, there’s really a lot of other crazy folks interested in non-profit tech.”
Little did I know that 10 years later, I’d be registering for the same event.
It’s been an incredible string of events during the past 10 years. The N-TEN community has changed, dramatically, since the early Circuit Rider days, and so has the NTC. I swear that it seems there are more folks hosting booths at the Science Fair these days then there were total attendees back in the early days!
So this afternoon, when I started working on my annual registration for the NTC 2013 (early bird, of course), I reflected for a moment. As the N-TEN community has evolved and grown, do I still fit into the new generation of N-TEN folks? Were my interests back in 2004 the same as they are today, and if so, are they being reflected in the type of event that the NTC has become? Did I really manually blow up, by hand, 96 penguins with my PICnet buddy Pradeep back at the NTC 2006 in Seattle?
In short: is the NTC right for a guy like me in 2013?
With the departure of some great folks I consider friends of mine in the N-TEN organization, I paused a little more this year before purchasing my tickets. I rarely go to sessions any more. I speak a few panels here or there. Generally speaking though, I’m in the hallways and lobbies during most of the event. Sometimes, just maybe, I’ll be in the grand ballroom at 2am with some tuxedoed buddies of mine.
For the past few years, I’ve been feeling like the NTC no longer was a good fit for my needs. Sessions seemed to be most appropriate for the accidental techies (of couse, we believe accidental techies rule anyway!), and my drive for more open source focused and unconference style sessions probably fit better in neighboring events like Penguin Day anyway.
What I realized, however, is that there are a cadre of incredible people, whose names are too many to list here, that I get one chance a year to see in person. These people inspire me. They push me to move forward. They encourage me to keep the pedal to the metal and to better serve the incredible community of non-profits we get to work with every day at PICnet. Essentially, for three days a year, my batteries are recharged by some of the most selfless people in the world, all of whom have a similar focus: let’s help changemakers make this world a better place.
I’m attending the 2013 NTC because it’s the one time I’m lucky enough to meet the folks working the front-lines of social change, share stories, and enjoy each other’s company. I hope to see you there!
Nonprofit news, strategy, and tactics sent straight to your inbox
Sign up for the Soapbox Engage newsletter
This entry was posted on Friday, January 11th, 2013 at 7:08 pm and is filed under Conference, nptech, NTEN. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.