Last weekend, I had to make the single hardest decision of my life. I cancelled Duckon 24 and postponed it until June 2016. To understand the how and why this decision was made, we should probably start with who.
For those of you who do not know me, my name is Joseph Stockman, more commonly known as Uncle Vlad. I was involved with Duckon from Duckon 2 through Duckon 13. I started on the convention security staff, took over as head of the department when my predecessor retired, and eventually was Chair of Duckon 11 and Duckon 12. I was also a member of the Super-Con-Duck-Tivity Board of Directors for several years. After Duckon 13, I left both the Board and ConCom for other pursuits.
I was asked to take over as Hotel Liaison for Duckon 32 days before the event at Pheasant Run. In that time, I did everything possible, with a lot of help from the staff, to salvage that event and to relocate us to a better venue at the Westin Northshore. I also rejoined the Board of Directors.
As time went on, I realized that the Duckon I had left was not the same event to which I had returned. There was significant change in the Board of Directors, something that is usually healthy for a long-running convention. The convention was losing money, but more importantly, losing members. Some people just stopped coming, some people were driven away, and some just didn’t have enough reason to stay.
On the corporate side, there were a lot of dropped balls that compounded the problems. Money was going out faster than it was coming in. Records were missing or incomplete. And some bad decisions were made – and, yes, I was party to some of them.
As we approached a deadline with our hotel, I decided it had to stop. We had run out of options and there were no pending miracles. I made the best decision I could for the convention, the attendees, and our hotel. I released the space in the hopes the hotel could resell it, and they have been extremely co-operative.
As soon as that decision was made, I notified the rest of the Board of Directors, then the staff, then the public in general.
Over the next four days, sadly over Capricon, we received a deluge of support from our guests, our attendees, and our vendors. Several of us also were repeatedly treated like the person who shot Bambi’s mother. And we accept that. We were parts of the problem. And we are sorry to all those who have been hurt or inconvenienced by this.
We also stand ready to make it right. Baring another set of catastrophes, Duckon 24 will occur in June 2016 on our original dates and at our current venue.
Those of you reading this may have noticed that I switched from ‘I’ to ‘we’ over the last few paragraphs. That is because I am not doing this alone. To borrow from the wisdom of Tom Smith, “Vlad slow, not dumb.” There is a transition team in place to handle these issues and get us back on track. More about them later.
For now, I want everyone reading this to understand that we have listened to each and every comment made, every rock slung at us, every piece of advice and support offered, and every tearful good-bye. We will earn back your trust, and we hope to see you all at Duckon 24. It will not be easy, and it will not be fast. But we will put in the effort and allow each of you to judge for yourselves.
Over the next few weeks, the current Super-Con-Duck-Tivity Board of Directors will be working to resolve the rest of our outstanding issues. As decisions and progress are made, we will be updating this site and our social media to keep you informed. Many of you requested more transparency and better communication. That starts now. Some suggested that we start by putting names and faces to the people responsible. That starts now as well.
For those of you who are not blinded by my forehead, this is me, Uncle Vlad. Fannish Male Type 2: Big old fat guy with a ponytail and beard. I am the one writing this, and I am leading the transition team. I am also the one deciding what we can and cannot spend and where.
This is Alexis Cutshall, or Lily to her friends. She is the Chair of Duckon 24. She will be coordinating the convention staff, and any staffing questions or comments can be sent her way at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the team’s address below.
This is Paul Lawniczak. He is the Convention Treasurer. As part of the Transition Team, he is responsible for telling us if and when we have money to spend and is it part of the current budget. If he says “no”, the discussion is over.
Finally, Kyle Bundy, also called MistahNice is our Webmaster and Social Media Coordinator. His job is to keep us honest and make certain everything we do is as public as possible.
That is the transition team. We even have an email address: email@example.com. Email us if you have any questions, comments, ideas, or whatever. This gets routed to all four of us, and we promise a response within a day.
All that being said, the next few weeks are going to be very busy for us all. We have a lot of work to do and things to plan. We need to work with the current Board of Directors, plan the convention, and clean up a lot of messes along the way. We will keep updating this site, so please stay posted.
And if you think for a minute we are not living up to our commitments, call us on it.
Thank you all for your time, your understanding, and your support. We will do everything in our power to be worthy of it.