On 03/09/2012 11:45 PM, Stefano Maffulli wrote: > On Fri, 2012-03-09 at 16:27 -0600, Mark Collier wrote:
>> Associate Member category, [...]
>> Strategic Member [...]
> I wonder if calling 'Strategic' members that basically only have more
> money but the same responsibilities and rights of other members is
> really the best thing to do. It made sense when we had only two kinds
> (corporate and individuals) and corporate members where called to put
> money down to create the foundation. That was a strategic role.
I agree with you Stefano. I suggested moving away from "strategic
members" as a name previously, because it includes an implicit value
judgement - "OpenStack is important to these people (and, by
implication, not so much to others)" - I don't know whether there is a
specific reason for sticking with that label rather than something like
gold/platinum member, which other organisations use.
Incidentally, I still think that starting from the question "what will
the foundation do, and how much will that cost?" is useful, and will
help resolve some of the questions around the composition of the board.
My suggestion is to start by drawing up a charter of the foundation
describing its scope, and a job description/budget for an executive
director. In my opinion, it doesn't make sense to say "The foundation
will have 6 full time resources, working on X, Y and Z" before you have
an executive director in place - that person would then, ideally, put
together a budget proposal and recs for hires of the people they would
need to accomplish the foundation's mission - and such a proposal would
need approval by the board.
As one example: the OuterCurve Foundation has 2 full time employees (an
executive director and a technical director) and outsources all of their
administrative, legal, financial and marketing services. They're
basically spending the equivalent of one full-time person for 4
different functions. When they have a longer-term need, and the budget
to pay for it, they will hire people in at that point.
On the board size issue, I'll once again point people to the Linux
Foundation's solution to the problem: a number of seats per membership
level, including some seats named from the TAB and elected by individual
members. This gives individual members some (representative) oversight
into the financial running of the foundation, and importantly, a voice
at the table for strategic decisions which could affect the Linux
developer community, but honestly, the running of the Linux Foundation
affects very little the running of the kernel project (except when they
decide to hire kernel hackers as "fellows").
I do understand what Joshua is saying - it would not be good to have Big
Players who get to railroad all the strategic decisions of the
foundation and potentially (a) take the foundation in a direction which
is not what the technical contributors want, essentially making it
irrelevant, or (b) having excessive influence on the direction of the
member projects with potentially damaging results. What I suggested was
a model based on 3 thirds: the Big Guys pay money and get a guaranteed
board seat, the next level down pay less money and run elections for a
third of the board seats, and individual members (by whatever criteria
is judged appropriate) elect another third of the board. That seems to
address most of the concerns.
In terms of the level playing field, I'd suggest that the board
shouldn't be on the field in the first place. But I know that a number
of people think that's idealistic of me :)
One thing I would like to say is that having in-person meetings to
resolve debates like this is a Very Bad Idea. That is one way that the
organisation end up leaning towards the big members who can send someone
to such meetings at short notice or a small constituency of people who
live in the same geographic area. It might take longer and be more
painful, but I'd urge you to keep the debate online - and even to avoid
real-time debate where possible.
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