For 10 years I was involved in the International Interactive Communications Society (IICS) both while living in Chicago working for Pioneer New Media in the interactive laserdisc group, and then after I moved back to Minnesota and joined Authorware as director of sales in 1989. IICS was a pioneering, professional trade association for companies and individuals involved in interactive media and, since I'd worked for Pioneer New Media in the interactive laserdisc group—and joined Authorware as director of sales in 1989—IICS was the perfect association for me to be involved in.
The organization was deeply involved in interactivity, multimedia, and interactive videodisc (before computers could handle digital video, video, audio, images and interactivity was delivered by hooking up a laserdisc player to a computer). The group also focused on CD-ROM delivery of multimedia content as that, and other CD-based technologies, emerged. Unfortunately, and over the protestations from some of us who absolutely, positively believed this new "internet" thingy would make IICS a moot point, the leadership in the mid-1990s did NOT pivot the organization and embrace the internet. The group quickly plummeted from a 3,200 member organization to zero in three years. From Wikipedia about IICS:
The organization traces its roots to the days of interactive laserdisc production in the San Francisco Bay Area during the 1980s. Originally the society was proposed as a special interest group of the International Television Association (ITVA), now known as Media Communications Association – International (MCA-I), but the charter members decided to establish the society as an independent entity with different membership requirements for the new interactive and computer based communications. The charter members were composed of equipment vendors, independent producers, training professionals and members of Apple's IIe computer group, Sony's SMC-70 computer & interactive laser disc groups and Pioneer's interactive Laserdisc groups.
In its heyday the organization had hundreds of members in the San Francisco Bay Area and thousands of members worldwide with chapters in Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago, Minneapolis, Atlanta, San Diego, Detroit (Great Lakes).
My time in the organization was fabulous. I met so many people with whom I remain friends with to this day. I ended up as president of the Minnesota chapter, publisher of the international newsletter and the directory, and even put together, what looks pretty cheesy now, this website. Most importantly, my involvement in this group helped me 'see' what a major impact the internet would have on the world when it arrived commercially in 1995 and what led me to join the fastest growing software company in the world, the content management software firm Vignette, in late 1999. It was the pivotal event for me that set the tone for my work in all the days that have followed.