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Thread: Saving the DOA?

  1. #1
    Senior Member DMCVegas's Avatar
    Join Date:  Oct 2011

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    Saving the DOA?

    I recently was forwarded this link below regarding a blog post about the DOA. Go on and give it a read, then come back.

    This is a serious enough discussion to be sure, and one that I think we all should have as a community. Now while I am a former board member of the DOA, I do admit that I am not speaking on behalf of the organization, the fellow board members with which whom I served, nor the members of the DeLorean Owners Organization. I speak only on my own behalf, albeit will be quite candidly. Likewise if you know me, this isn't going to be a short post. But again, I speak for only myself. Likewise, understand that I have no quarrel with the current DOA itself, nor the board members.

    And now for the post I never imagined my ass would ever write...

    Yes, the DOA is facing allot of challenges. Particularly the entire concept of a "car club" in the modern day of the Information Age. Absent from direct mass communication, a centralized source of information was an absolute necessity. Especially if you're a DeLorean owner who almost 4 decades later still has to sift through large quantities of misinformation. Nowadays things have greatly changed. Previously an individual who had a technical question might have had to sort through past issues of DeLorean World magazine to find the answer they were looking for. Or they could have written in a technical question by mail, and then waited for their question to be chosen, and THEN once that was complete they'd have to wait for the answer to be published in that issue. That could potentially take months. By contrast now an individual may need only take to social media or any given message board such as DMCTalk or DMCToday for example and either find the answer they need within a computerized archive within seconds. Or perhaps ask a new question and have someone live post a response with the needed solution within minutes. This is the world in which we live today. There are new ways of being connected, and with that comes new standards and practices whose efficiency can outperform those old ways. In that respect, the DOA is not alone. This kind of challenge is shared among many, if really not all, car clubs and even civic organizations. So in that way, this isn't entirely fair to blame the current leadership for these common ills.

    My own history with the DOA has been an interesting one. When I first became an enthusiast I was quite intent upon joining the organization...only to find myself clashing with it's then-leadership. People who in my opinion were severely out of touch with what the community needed. And that was over 20 years ago. Since that time the landscape of the club has greatly changed. As has the community thanks to the Internet starting with USENET. But the leadership has greatly changed. Changed to the point where even I had a change of heart and decided to join both the club and the board to lend a hand. Yes, I resigned from the club due to personal reasons. I know, that's usually a cheap cop-out used by people as a way to cover up something, but in my case it is the truth. Moving across country (luckily just escaping a devastating hurricane), starting a new job with an incompatible schedule and occasional mandatory OT, and something we've all either have (or soon will experience), eldercare for a parent or another loved one. All that together just didn't leave all that much available time to participate in club meetings and activities. But I can absolutely say that the DOA of today is not the same organization I despised and railed against in years past. The organization and its board members don't simply deserve the benefit of the doubt; what they need is help.

    The DOA like many other civic organizations is very much a group effort. Or perhaps, more to the point, it's like a group project in college.


    Now keep in mind I say this not to knock anyone on the board. No, I mean this with love and a good sense of humor as a piece of advice for anyone who wants to ever be apart of leadership team for any organization. Particularly a volunteer one. In order to work with other people, you must be as reliable as you are humble. Check your ego at the door. Project leader or independent business owner That's nice. But when you're apart of a group that really doesn't matter. If you're someone who isn't used to taking instructions, let alone ever being told "No", you're gonna have a really, REALLY bad fucking time. While people do take ownership of projects and certain initiatives, you are not in charge to dictate to others. Likewise when you elect a president, you do so because that person has not just leadership skills (barking orders isn't leadership), but also a vision you believe in, and the collective should be in tune with that. If you are not just accepting of that, but truly understand what that means, then you should join and lend a hand. Anyone can Monday Morning Quarterback, and that serves no purpose. Anyone can simply write blog entires, or post criticisms. But do you actually want things to change? That is why I joined; to lend a hand. Because I had always wanted the DOA to be the kind of club that I wanted to join. Of course the question now is one of do I really want a club at all?

    As I spoke previously, the role, and well, even the need for a car club itself is currently being challenged by technology. Smaller, individual clubs based upon regions have advantages that a larger national, or even international one, may not be able to have. For example, I live in a warm enough climate where I don't need to store my car for the winter, so such a topic is of no interest to me, but would be to someone way up north. Likewise someone from that area may not be as interested in overbuilding a cooling system as much as someone in the southern regions of North America or the Middle East might be. Not to mention the fact that a local club might know more about local regulations, hidden owners, and may very well have better info regarding unknown owners to reach out to.

    Then we have the big questions about things like publications. To be upfront, I've always been in favor of something physical. Not because I prefer the medium, but because memorabilia is a value-added asset for an owner. Let's say that you have two cars for sale, and they are perfectly equal in every single way. Save for the VIN, you couldn't possibly tell the two vehicles apart, and they're the exact same asking price. How do you choose? Well, what if one of those vehicles has a collection of marque magazines that are included with the sale? It's a no-brainer to say that you'd choose that vehicle with the bonus items that are included with the sale. Hell, you might even pay more money for the car just to get those more rarer items, thus they've increased the value of your car.

    This is the difference between information and value-added assets.

    Now, having said all of this, something to keep in mind is the fact that the DOA is NOT oblivious to these concerns. I promise you that all of these topics, and more, INCLUDING the idea of the DOA being a central repository of information which guides people to local/regional clubs has in fact been discussed at length during many of the board meetings which I was apart of. In fact, I even question the intentions of this kind of public challenge by another former DOA board member who not only runs a competing database of vehicle ownership and records to the established archives, but clearly states they wishing to see the DOA relinquish control of some sort of "Intellectual Property". What is the purpose? Constructive criticism? Undermining the current leadership to erode control of that, and/or other "assets"? If that request/task was completed, who would use this asset and how? Is the entire purpose here simply to build another car club by destroying the current one to leave the community no other choice? Is this to benefit the community, or simply the proposed new leadership? I don't presume anything, nor would accuse. All I ask for is full transparency with listing intentions.

    Likewise what I ask of the rest of you in this community is to consider this topic. Really consider things here. Do we as a collective want a car club? Say you want to continue with the DeLorean Owners Association? If so, what roles do we want them to play within our community? What services do we wish for them to provide? Be it monetary or volunteer work, how would we all assist with said group achieving the goals that we want to serve us? Or, do we really want to simply replace them with another organization which simply repackages the same problems of the past? The same challenges, and potentially far-too centralized control of information and assets that we as the community need?

    If you want to help the DOA, or better yet, help reorganize it to better serve us all as a community, I implore you to lend a hand. Get involved. Not simply to be a drone to carry out orders, but to be a contributor to help the organization heal and grow. Reshape it into something you'd want. Don't simply turn against the DOA in order to spite it, or even individuals from the past or even present if that is the case. Make it yours!

    If you don't want an international car club, that's your choice. But I would also stick to my guns and not replace one troubled organization with another. That is also why I posted this here: I wanted neutral ground to voice an opinion where I would not be censored. Again, one of the freedoms we enjoy with a decentralized control of information exchanging.

    Wake me when hockey season returns...

  2. #2
    LS1 DMC Nicholas R's Avatar
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    Putting the specific details of the DOA History aside, my concern is that the "brand" that is the DOA, is tainted. It seems like at this point, efforts to revive it will be clouded by the history of the organization. I see it as being the same as someone today trying to take the name "DeLorean One" and make it a successful vendor business. They'd have a pretty difficult time trying to escape past of that brand no matter how hard they tried.

    I see a lot more issues with this revival effort as well, even with the simple idea of whether or not the DOA "needs" to exist as as this central DMC entity, as this post suggests. Heck DMCTalk has done a better job in the last 2 decades of connecting owners on a grand scale, with the individual clubs connecting people locally. At some point the DOA just seems to become redundant, as it searches to find where it fits in.
    Last edited by Nicholas R; 04-08-2019 at 06:40 AM.

  3. #3
    Assbassador Michael's Avatar
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    The DOA has never been my cup of tea. I checked them out when I first got my car. Nothing against them, they just came across (to me) as a overly structured uptight group of old church deacons with nothing to offer except a newsletter that has information I can get pretty much anywhere. They were at the time (maybe things have changed since), located on the other side of the country so any gatherings or club events were well out of my reach. Even if it was free to join, they just have nothing I'm interested in.

  4. #4
    Senior Member DMCVegas's Avatar
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    I can't disagree on any of those points. The branding is as much of a benefit from it's historical significance as it is a liability from its past history. Granted now a decent enough time has past to renovate the organization from the inside out, but that takes work.

    Even so, yeah, what's the point of a car club anymore? Sure you can have little gatherings of owners here and there within areas for private tech days, or even just individual assistance as needed. Social Media and various bulletin boards like this one have done wonders to expand communications between us all. Not to mention distribute information. The DeLorean is as much of an icon of the 80's as an example of excess, as it is the 90's by being a prime example of the explosion of the Internet that evolved right along with it. It's one of the handful of marque trailblazers that helped shape the automotive community. The Miata and VW boards being the only other ones that ever matched us.

    Even without the tainted image of the DOA, is a club of any kind worth saving, or even having in the first place nowadays? These kinds of problems will exist regardless of whomever is in charge.

    A few years ago I watched a Q&A session with Guy Kawasaki where he answered questions about what kinds of projects he wanted to invest in as a venture capitalist. His answer was he wanted businesses that didn't simply stay ahead of the curve, but jumped it. His example was ice. In the old days you'd have to wait until winter time for a lake to freeze. Once it became ice, you'd cut out the blocks and then store them in an icehouse to preserve them over the spring and summer months for consumption. You could stay ahead of the curve by improving insulation to reduce losses through melting ice, but that was eliminated when the industry jumped the curve with commercial refrigeration. Now they could make ice any time of year and not have to worry about supplies and waste. The next evolution was the invention of home ice machines where people could make ice anytime they wanted with tap water. That was when the industry completed its final act to jump the curve. Sure the ice companies could have improved home delivery by replacing horses with trucks to stay ahead of the curve, or even have had mobile refrigeration trucks to keep the ice colder to cut losses during distribution, and that would have helped them stay ahead of the curve. But with those home ice makers, the entire industry jumped the curve. That changed the rules and rendered all improvements to stay ahead of the curve useless. It's jumping the curve that counts.

    That is my point to all of this. The DOA's ills aren't simply mismanagement. That's a cheap scapegoat. Perhaps a lack of help, sure. The image certainly hurts, but cleaning it up is the way to stay ahead of that curve. But if the curve has already been jumped thanks to technology, then the help won't matter. Let alone undermining efforts and trying to start a new club that is literally just going to have the same problems on that dead-end curve. But if we really want to have a club, why not just improve what we've already got?

    Wake me when hockey season returns...

  5. #5
    Senior Member OverlandMan's Avatar
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    I have enjoyed the printed publication 'DeLorean World' that comes a couple of times a year in the mail. Just for the efforts of that alone, I've had no problems dropping $75 annually to support the group. Other than that, I don't really use the organization for any other purpose, currently. I have never had a rub with any of the leaders or other members but I'm not really active in the big events and such.

  6. #6
    Nothing witty here lest it offend
    Join Date:  May 2011

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    The real question without all the blah blah: What other car organization is something you'd like to copy? Why?

  7. #7
    Assbassador Michael's Avatar
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    Save the doa!

    If I put in a quarter will I get a flyer?

  8. #8
    Delorean Guru
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    The reason the DOA has become irrelevant is because it is no longer the "only game in town". The magazine is not relevant to the majority of owners. They do not run a national event like other clubs do. Since they are no longer being subsidized and run by a major vendor they have nothing to offer to anyone not in California. If the DOA does not run a national event, publish an E magazine and not depend on membership dues for revenue, then it will only limp along as it is now. The DOA also has an uphill battle to overcome it's years of a bad reputation among the older owners. That may require a "rebranding". One way to start would be to have the presidents of each local club participate in the decisions of the DOA to make it a truly national organization. And maybe some of the vendors.
    David Teitelbaum

  9. #9
    Stupid Newbie DaraSue's Avatar
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    My $.02 as a current board member: I understand people's frustrations, and I've felt a lot of them myself. But I and other board members are still trying our best to provide value to our members. We're working hard to get back on a regular DeLorean World publishing schedule, we're holding an Expo in the Pacific Northwest in June, and we're working on getting the DeLorean World archives online.

    The success of the DOA, like any other organization, depends on the people. Right now most of us on the board are juggling multiple roles and full-time or more-than full time jobs. But anyone who wants to help can join the board during our election season (every 2 years, next one is at the end of this year) or just volunteer their time.

    By all means, if people want to help or offer constructive criticism, please let us know! I would be interested in hearing everyone's opinions on what we can do to earn people's trust and support. I know we won't be able to please everyone but we genuinely do want to bring value to the community.

  10. #10
    Gess dodint's Avatar
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    I've been thinking on it for a few days and I just don't *want* anything from the DOA or any other club. I can't think of a single value-added service it could offer that would make it worthwhile to *me*. All the other organizations I belong to (SCCA, for instance) open up some kind of experience for me. As a prospective DOA member in Pittsburgh it seems like I'm just funding Expos for west coasters if I pay dues.

    I don't think that's DOA specific. I'm not longer a BMWCCA member because it became a magazine subscription when I moved from an active chapter to a lethargic local chapter. The modern world and car culture generally have a lot of options that were not available 25 years ago. Between Cars and Coffee, DMC Talk, and that one time I went to DCS when it wasn't north of Chicago have really fulfilled all of my DMC needs.

    A recurring regular Tech Day within 3 hours of my house would probably get me onto the membership roll. I'd even help organize it. I love working on my own stuff and really have to wait for a DCS to roll around before I'd get the chance. I think I saw an active club out in Maryland having some events, too.

    I suppose what I'm saying is does the DOA make sense as a concept in this day and age? I don't have a dog in the fight either way, just apathy.

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