We just had a giant reunion of former employees of Digital Equipment Corporation (R.I.P.). In the early 1990's, there were over 100,000 of us in many countries. The company HQ was in beautiful, downtown Maynard, MA, and probably around 35% to 45% of the total staff were located in the Massachusetts-New Hampshire area.
[For a list of company alumni groups, visit Job-Hunt.org's Company/Military Alumni page.]
Most of us, including me, enjoyed our time at "DEC," as it was known, and I really looked forward to attending the reunion, hopefully seeing some old friends and getting reconnected or caught up with what has being going on in their lives over the past 10 years or so. Didn't happen... Why?
I ran into 4 people I knew from the old days (and it was WONDERFUL to see them!), but that was 4 people out of hundreds that I had worked with and out of probably over 1,000 people there.
1) Overwhelming response - don't know exactly how many people showed up, but it was clearly many more than were expected.
2) Not organized well - when it's hard to walk through a room because it's so crowded, it's too crowded for good networking. You have no idea who's there, and where they are. You can't see everyone. Hanging out by the food (or bar) is usually good networking, but there were about 4 "stations" for food and/or drink scattered across 2 large rooms and a big outdoor patio area.
For "next time" in September, I hope that they put up big signs for where the people from Central Engineering, Government Systems Group, US Area Sales, etc. can meet other people who worked in those organizations during their DEC career.
I signed up to volunteer for the September reunion. We'll see what happens.