STC-SV merge proposal

Updated: 2018-12-31

The chapter voted to coordinate but not merge.

We at STC Silicon Valley are considering a motion that would significantly change how the chapter functions in 2019 and onward. In theory, it would provide more content to you on a more predictable schedule, better access to talent and knowledge from our other chapters in the Bay Area, and greater flexibility for us when it comes to planning events.

But we need your feedback — please read on. There is a link to a survey at the bottom of this post.

What’s the big idea?
The idea, proposed by programs officer Liz Fraley of STC East Bay Chapter, is to merge the East Bay, Berkeley, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley chapters into one mega-chapter, tentatively called STC Northern California (or STC NorCal).

Why make the change?
Currently, our chapters each organize their own events, a total of (approximately) 48 bookings and planning sessions per year. Many of these events are limited in attendance, since not all those interested can travel up and down the Bay on any given day.

Sometimes speakers drive long distances only to meet an audience of two or three people. This is something we really want to avert.

But over the past year, several encouraging experiments with Zoom, GoToMeeting, Facebook Live, and other services have shown that access to the same educational content can be multiplied with streaming video. A talk in Berkeley can be attended by viewers in Santa Clara, Fremont, San Francisco, San Diego, and beyond.

How would meetings work?
The current draft of the plan essentially calls to re-organize the yearly calendar and introduce new kinds of events which can be easily streamed for the benefit of all our members. The new 12-month schedule (which is tentative, and open to modification) would include:

  • 4 “traditional” meetings. The four sub-chapters would take turns hosting speakers, one per quarter, and stream the talks via a Zoom (for example) link. Other chapters would organize “viewing parties” to virtually attend from our own neck of the woods.
  • 4 “practical” meetings. These events would introduce longer-form professional development workshops, e.g. how to effectively use Google Docs or WordPress, and one yearly STC Summit recap. Again, everything would be streamed with the opportunity to chime in and comment.
  • 4 “social” meetings. These would be locally organized and would include our annual Summer and Holiday Schmoozes, with the possibility of other informal fun events like field trips or a game/movie night.

In other words, by the end of January you’d know more or less what to expect in September. Of course, our sub-chapter would be free to keep up our own outreach events and other projects.

What would this mean for me?
Our officers still need to hash out the specific order of things with STC headquarters, but presumably, members would have to re-add the NorCal chapter to their membership subscription. This would mean you get the benefits of four teams’ efforts in one. But, if approved, we’ll keep you posted on the details.

We’ve set up a SurveyMonkey response form at the link below. We’re relying on your feedback to determine if this is a good course of action for STC-SV, or if we will stick to the traditional setup.

Please complete the survey as early as possible to be heard. I’ll be bringing this all up and answering questions at the Holiday Schmooze on Dec. 17, too.

Thank you, as always, for being part of our little slice of the big techcomm community. Feel free to email me at

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