I wrote the following this week to the members of the Capex organization.
Drama, Customer Retention and the Future of Capex
I have been watching the emails that have been going back and forth the last few days. While there are many things I could say about the posts, I will choose to keep my own counsel on these things. Saying these things out on the public list really does not help Capex become a better organization. Simply put:
THE DRAMA MUST STOP NOW!
This has to be stopped for the health and continued existence of Capex.It is ok to have your feelings, but drama of this sort is never constructive. It does not help build a better Capex. It only serves to tear us apart. Drama only destroys, it does not, it cannot build.
While I am often critical of the policies and directions which Capex, I do so because I realize the important role of this organization, not to attack a person or destroy an idea. Capex has been and still is a key organization in our community and I hope that it continues to be in the years to come, though the bickering and lack of new ideas that have been presented over the last few days does not make me very optimistic.
Capex, while never a wealthy organization, has always tried to serve its membership and the greater community (by which I mean Charlotte, the Carolinas, the SouthEast and the nation at large), whether by educational efforts, Community outreach (Gateway immediately comes to mind) or financial support (grants to contest runners and donation to leather and/or kink organizations).
No other organization has the resources to do what Capex is doing in our local community. While there are many other places for us to gather to break bread or play, they lack the structure and the resources that an organization like Capex can bring to the table. We can address our community’s issues like no other group can.
That said, it is important to realize that the most important thing in keeping Capex healthy is to make the members happy. This bears repeating. It is critically important to ensure that the current members of Capex are happy to come out to an event. They need to feel that they are getting their monies worth; to tell the rest of the Community what a great time they had. Simply put, happy members drive the growth and success of Capex.
Why is this? In the business world, it is well know that it costs more to acquire new customers that it does to keep the current ones happy, You must advertise, recruit, offer deals and discounts to recruit new people. This translates directly to our beloved Capex. When members are not happy, we must spend time and energy getting the good word out, offer enticements to join, and the like to drive membership. When a long time member leaves us, because they are not happy, they spread the negativity with their friends and acquaintances. They tell why they left. This causes Capex to have to spend resources(mostly time) best utilized to keep current members happy. As many real world companies are finding out today, one disgruntled "customer" can spread this negativity more easily and quickly today, more so than ever before.
This is, sadly, unavoidable to some extent. Capex is not for everyone. Nor should it try to be. If we do focus on making happy members who stay, they will spread how happy Capex is making them. The positivity will outshine the negative and Capex will continue to grow.
I remember when talking to people from California about Capex, all I ever heard were positive things (yes, they had heard of us, mostly I find, due national presenters like Jay Wiseman, Lady Green and Uncle Abdul who had presented at Capex and told wondrous things about us). Former members who moved away simply raved about how great we were (not always, but that seemed to have been the normal sentiment of members). Now, the comments I hear are much more negative. We are beginning to gain a reputation much more negative. We are being perceived as an organization that only wishes to bicker amongst ourselves and frankly, not an asset in our community.
When the new board is elected, their primary must be making the members happy. Personal agendas must stop. If we continue upon the current path, Capex will die. However, if they focus on the members then Capex will become the place to be in our community, it will grow regardless of what other options are available in the area.
The Future of Capex
Right now I see two possible futures for Capex. I see Capex either as the strong central pillar of the pansexual Leather and Kink Community, which Capex, or, if the current atmosphere continues, dwindling away to irrelevance through the infighting, bickering, politics and drama.
The board serves a key role in this by setting a high behavior and making our monthly events something that our members are driven to attend. or they can continue with business as usual and continue the drive to irrelevancy which Capex seems to be set upon.
We members play a role in this as well. We can continue to remain silent and be a party to the demise of Capex, or we can speak out against the drama when we see it. We can hold our fellow members to high standards. We need to elect people that will commit to serve our interest, not to forward their own personal agendas.
We are all Capex. Like any democracy we get the leadership we deserve. Expect more, we will get more. Expect less, we will get less. We are responsible for the future of Capex, perhaps even more than the board is. Only those we elect are able to serve after all. But there is something more we must do.
When D______ had his accident (and I am glad to hear you are getting better, hope to see you back soon), I was shocked to see how many roles that he had filled for Capex. While no one can say anything negative about his passion, his devotion or his abilities in the roles he has stepped up to serve, it is quite disappointing that there were not others in Capex who stepped up to fill some of these roles. (I will include myself in this criticism).
I challenge each of you reading this far in the message to take a few moments this week and ask "What is it that I can do for Capex?" I know I will be asking myself this same question.
See you at the next meeting (I hope).
P.S. If you noticed, I never used the term "Capexian" in my message. Frankly, I will never, ever use this term to refer to someone in Capex. I believe that its only purpose is to separate us from the rest of the community. The fact is we are a part of a larger community. We need them, we are a part of them. Many of us attend other groups events where this will be seen as arrogance and aloofness. We as the members and "owners" of Capex need to remember this. We are not just member of a group, but members of a larger community as well.