President’s Column

The Future's So Bright

By: Timothy Esposito | STC Board President

Published in Intercom magazine |  July/August 2023

 

At my first job after college, the company threw a big welcome event for the new hires. We all got corporate logo sunglasses before the CEO appeared and gave us an inspirational speech (“the future is browsers embedded in operating systems!”). And, as a surprise, they produced a video of the event set to the song, The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades. Even for the 90s, that was … not entirely slick. However, the unrivaled optimism of the company was infectious, and we were all excited to move to our desks, use Internet Explorer 4 for the first/last time to download and navigate to Netscape Communicator 4.5, and get to work.

Today, STC is launching FireFox 113 and putting on that pair of sunglasses as it looks to the future. The society has a lot of history accumulated over the past 70 years. While maintaining that legacy is important, we need STC to be agile and to anticipate and exceed the needs of the members. Now we are at a crossroads: balancing the old and new.

To begin this season, at the Summit in Atlanta, the society has already launched on its path forward while keeping an eye on the past. After bidding a fond farewell to our longtime leader, Liz Pohland, we introduced Tim Shaw as the new executive director. Tim wasn’t the only new topic at the conference: we had a great turnout of first-time attendees, there was a new format where the vendors were integrated into the social area, and our conference opening presentation and the awards ceremony were all held during luncheons. Popular presentation topics looked to the future with AI ChatGPT technology while also remembering the past from a long time ago in a session on building a taxonomy through Star Wars. Meanwhile, STC also had a multi-table display showcasing the society’s past to celebrate its 70th anniversary. When I chatted with attendees and vendors, my small sample group seemed very pleased with the conference and were excited to attend a future STC Summit.

As everyone relaxes after the Summit, the STC Board of Directors is just getting warmed up. Just before the conference, the new board was inaugurated. We spent a good portion of our first board meeting going over what makes STC work, and what can make it work better. One of our next steps was to get the STC Committee Chairs in place. Chairing a committee is a terrific honor, and much like Spider-Man, comes with great power and great responsibility. Over the past several years, I’ve chaired several award committees and doing so has been one of the most rewarding STC activities; so few positions in our world exist just to thank and recognize individuals or communities. In addition to kickstarting the committees, the board is working closely with the STC staff. STC hasn’t had a new executive director in a long time, and Tim Shaw brings years of experience to the table. As Tim transitions into the executive director role, the board will be working with Tim to merge our 70 years of experience with his new ideas, with the goal of producing an even stronger STC for you.

Where do you see STC taking you? Where do you want to go with STC? What do you want to bring to STC? What do you want to see change in STC, or what would you like to maintain? What obscure song do you want me to reference next time? Let me know by sending an email to board@stc.org.

Timothy Esposito (tmesposit.stc@gmail.com) is the 2023-24 president of STC. His ongoing column will keep you updated on STC’s direction and be filled with outdated cultural references such as https://youtu.be/8qrriKcwvlY.

 

 

The President's Column, written by STC's board president, is published in Intercom, STC's magazine for members. Email stc@stc.org to connect with STC.

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