Re: Membership dues [ was: Re: Advisory Board Letter ]

On Thu, Aug 03, 2000 at 09:19:51AM -0500 or thereabouts, Mike Kestner wrote:
> If the best thing we can think of to do with company dues is to hire an
> executive director, I think we should instead ask companies to meet some
> metric for full-time gnome hackers, submitted lines of code, or
> documentation volume in order to be included in the advisory board.

I don't think we need an executive director. I think we need someone
to answer the phone. 

I am serious. My initial understanding of any such full time position
was that they'd do the boring admin that very few hackers want to do.
Making sure domain names are paid for on time, getting the carton of
remaining tshirts from a show in Hamburg to a show in Rome and checking
that the person providing the CDs has an address to deliver them to
which would have someone there. Knowing how many conferences GNOME
is supposed to have a presence at and whether local hackers have it
covered or whether someone needs to be found to do it. Being able to
say "Well, Miguel's in Patagonia right now, but if you want to talk 
about gnome-foo program, you really need to ring..." (and getting the
right person!) Writing "dear sir/madam, thank you for your interest 
but I regret we are unable to advertise your doubtless delightful
'garden gnome emergency housing' service on our website" letters.
Telling everyone about what everyone needs to know. Being the
one who gets the "I am doing a project on public domain software
for my course and I was wondering if you could tell me what gnome
is" emails. 

When I used to be part of the rag (student charity fund-raising
group/event/people) in Aber. it was not your typical British "one
week of pandemonium in the town and annoyance to lecturers with
the five hundred pounds made going to charity" organisation. It
raised almost a quarter of a million in my first year, and that 
was done entirely by a hard core of about 30-40 and a cast of 
hundreds of occasion collectors, all of whom could drop out or 
increase involvement at any time, collecting on street corners
on rag trips in towns all over Britain every Saturday and every
Wednesday afternoon.

All of us were volunteers. But one of them was the rag chair,
who was a student sabbatical officer (ie, paid full-time worker, 
in  a year out of their studies). That person sat in the rag office,
answered phones, arranged services on the vahicles we used to
get to places, hired more, got the right car keys to the right
drivers at the right times and collected them all back in again,
organised insurance, doled out the permits (you need a permit 
from the local council to collect for a day on the public street 
in Britain), argued with printers over the dates for the rag mag, 
and if anyone ended up collected somewhere without a permit and 
the police or council took offence, they carried the can and 
went to court :)

_That's_ the kind of thing I imagined a paid person would be doing!

(Well, perhaps not the going to court bit.)


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