Ron Conway, the famed tech investor and co-founder of Y-Combinator, started SF CiTi with the original objective of marshalling the San Francisco and San Francisco Bay Area Tech Community to move the political needle on legislation of interest to it. At first, membership was free, with events being paid for by sponsors.
But now, Ron’s made a change. This blogger got this email last week which has the ominous title “Thank you for being a member of SFCiti,” and reads like this:
Thank you for being a member of sf.citi
Since we launched in January 2012, sf.citi has grown into a robust nonprofit organization with a distinguished Board of Directors, over 650 member companies and over 13,000 individual members. We have created and successfully implemented key policy and programmatic initiatives, and become an active community resource for tech companies of all sizes, connecting you to events, civic initiatives and philanthropic opportunities.
To help us support our ever growing programmatic and policy work we have instituted a $500 yearly membership fee for existing and future sf.citi member companies. We also have Board of Directors and Advisory committee roles available to companies who would like to make a deeper investment in sf.citi.
Our small but diligent staff works every day with sf.citi member companies to innovate city policy and to ensure the tech sector is giving back to San Francisco. Please visit our website for a full list of our ongoing projects and initiatives.
Thank you for your ongoing support for our work. sf.citi staff will be calling you soon to talk more about our programs and initiatives and discuss ways your company can get more involved. Click here to make your membership contribution online.
We look forward to continuing to move our city forward as a national leader in innovation, job creation and make our City a great place to live, work and do business.
In other words, pay up or get out.
Normally, an organization has something to offer you the CEO for your hard-earned $500; Mr. Conway, who’s a good man and a friend, has turned that equation around. I’m not sure this was the best way to sustain SF Citi, but until I have $500 extra cash laying around, I’ll have to pass.