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Update & Prime Time/ July Aug Issue

Posted By: Rod
Date: Tuesday, 16 July 2013, at 6:05 p.m.

In Response To: Update & Prime Time/ July Aug Issue (Perry Gartner)

I know the board and others have put a lot of effort into the USBGF. There are some great things that have been done. It's commendable. Truly.

However, there is clearly a build it and they will come mentality. And if there isn't, there is a need for a better understanding of how to grow the organization.

September 2011 celebrated member 500. It was Chiva's daughter. She got a t-shirt for being the 500th. Since then the USBGF has grown 14% year over year. For a nascent organization that's a small rate of growth. Not only that but Chiva, someone I made a strong recruiting push for, has left the leadership of the organization under protest. The NYC meetup group I started 5 years ago has over 650 members, though they do not pay to belong.

The problem with the slow rate of growth is that there is little money to do much, which is why, I imagine, fees are going to be raised. You now have a captive audience - that is basically the entire membership - the us mostly deeply involved in backgammon anyhow. Some people won't renew at the new rates. Some are already lifetime members. The organization will probably be taking in $20k / year after the rate change.

The problem with this is that eventually people donating their time get burnt out. Leadership changes. And sometimes mistakes are made in who is selected for the transition. Without a robust membership (650 doesn't cut it) and the revenue it brings and the safety net (a decent bank balance) that brings, one misstep can destroy an organization.

This is not to say I believe the USBGF will fail. I set it up to be as robust as possible (I could have set it up so I couldn't have been pushed out - as the attorney I used to form the USBGF asked - but opted, instead, for an organization that had, I believed, had the most durability. But it's not invulnerable to demise. The idea is to rapidly build cash reserves so a single leadership error can't bring the organization to its knees.

Perhaps it's time to reassess? The board is comprised, **entirely**, of intelligent and dedicated people. But the growth rate really rates an "F" or maybe a "D-". It's poor. And it's so important. Perhaps it's finally time to employ some of my ideas for growth. You don't even need to have me back on in any capacity to do so. All you need to do is to say "what we've done, in this one important area, just might not be enough. Maybe the guy who had the drive to make it happen had some decent ideas. Maybe we should give them all a try since there is either no cost or exceedingly little cost to trying them. Maybe he has some new ideas.

There is just such a large upside and so little downside. And this isn't to take anything away from the great job everyone has done - only to try to ensure that the effort and the product of that effort lives on in perpetuity.

Rod USBGF, Founder, founding President and Chairman

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