When colleagues started telling me that what I was doing was brave, I knew I was in trouble. People tell you are brave as you march off to war, or volunteer to babysit multiple toddlers around bedtime, or (it seems), when you undertake the organizing of a new scientific society. They mean, "Man, you're going to end up unemployed, but I'm sure glad you are doing it instead of me."
I waited until they had a few drinks in them and had mostly finished going back for seconds on the salmon, then commandeered one of the cocktail tables as a podium. I proposed the formation of an society and then opened the floor for discussion.
The good news is that we now have about 50 members including many of the big names in the field. The bad news is that everyone seems to think I have an actual plan. How will we fund the first meeting? What kind of official and financial structure should we have? Will we take over that other, mostly defunct but somewhat related society for the benefit of their infrastructure and their resources, or will we start fresh? Do we need to incorporate? I don't know any of these things.
So here is what I am doing. I'm organizing the election of a board, and I'm making sure there are people who know what they are doing standing for election. I'm communicating with the people who will organize the first meeting next year. I want the society to exist, and I'm happy to help, but I certainly don't plan to run the thing by myself. That would be a little bit too brave.