Re: Questions for the candidates - let's start the discussion(s)

> Questions:
> ----------
>  1. For outgoing board members: what have been the upsides/good things
> from your previous stint at the Board which you would  like to see
> carried forward into this term ?

Not applicable. 

> 2. For outgoing board members: What achievement can you point to
> during your term that you're proud of, and why?

Not applicable.

> 3. For outgoing board members: What can you point to in your own
> performance that you are unhappy with? Can you give details?

Not applicable.

> 4. If you are a new candidate: what specific SMART
> ( goals would
> you like to put for yourself? Or, in other words, how would you like
> to measure yourself and, let others know how you are doing ?

To increase the transparency of processes and information coming from
the board.  Whenever it were not possible to make them public, at least
mention the number of activities being kept private (in order to compare
or obtain a ratio of public versus private information).

Keep track of activities related to Gnome funded or not by the
Foundation and help people to make them public as soon as they happen.
Specially, get and publish reports of activities funded when they take

Report the activities done as a board member in a similar fashion that
our Executive Director.  Probably not as frequent as her, but once every
two weeks or at least once a month.

> 5. Do you have any experience on management teams or boards at
> non-profits? If so, can you give an example of a change you affected
> in that role? If not, what makes you think that you will be a good
> board member? What single change do you want to affect during your
> term?

I have been one of the directors of a six-year long project involving 13
Chilean universities, and it requires consensus through communication
and trade-offs and a lot of patience.

I want to improve the transparency about the work as board director.  I
feel that people who have not been involved in board has not a very
clear idea about the duties and the common tasks.   Probably are too
obvious that nobody talks about it, but if people ask what a Executive
Director does, why not trying to do the same as a board member? If there
is a gap, I want to fill it.

> 6. Can you give an example of a time when you had trouble working
> with individuals in the community in the past? What were the
> circumstances, what did you do to resolve the situation, were you
> happy with the outcome?

I can not recall a situation where I had a trouble with individuals in
the community (I infer we are talking Gnome's community).  I does not
mean I will not have it.  However, I think in most cases this is a
matter of communication.

> 7. Can you describe a team project that you successfully started and
> led? How did you handle it when people thought something should be
> done a different way?

I founded the first (and currently the biggest) FLOSS/Linux conference
in Chile and I organized the first three events with the same base team,
but I had to deal with different kind of moods of our FLOSS local
community.  If I could change something, I would change the name of the

> 8. Can you describe a time when someone promised you they'd do
> something and they didn't deliver on time? How did you handle it?

If there is no feedback (even if requested), I try to figure out by
alternative paths if a communication has taken place or if there is any
issue involved.   It must be done nicely, because there are people and
sensibilities involved, but, on the other hand, you want the things

> 9. Often life gets in the way of some of our responsibilities. In the
> past, have you signed up for something and then not had time to do it?
> How did you handle that situation?

Yes, both successfully and unsuccessfully.  As I stated before, this is
a matter of communication.  Let people know what are you doing, what are
your timings and what problems are you facing; that helps to keep the
situation under control.  The problem happens when nobody receive any
feedback in a reasonable period of time.

> 10. One of the board's roles is to interact with the advisory board
> and the sponsoring companies. Do you have experience giving regular
> updates to management or outside people? Do you have experience asking
> for money or sponsors for an event? Can you describe those
> experiences?

Several questions in one.  Yes, at work in projects funded by foreign

When I have been asked for getting funds from sponsors, I have started
trying to reduce costs before and maximizing (as much as possible) the
budget available and then evaluating possible sponsors according to what
is needed.

I have organized several events and I helped to several others and the
funding model may change according the place.  Getting sponsor will
depend of the grade of relationship between organizers, venue and

I do not think I can extrapolate my local experience to North America,
Europe, Asia, etc.  If it is required I will do my best, but I think is
better to work as team between local organizers, Executive Director and
the Board of directors.

> 11. What part of being a board member do you think will be most
> difficult for you? How do you plan to compensate for that?

It will sound naive, but at this moment, I can see as the most difficult
part the synchronization for meetings, in particular, phone meetings. I
use only cell-phone at home, but I hope I will compensate through VoIP.

> 12. What are the specific areas of the Foundation's focus and
> strategy where you think you can contribute as a change agent ?

Communication and transparency. As I said in my statement, I think the
communication from board to community has improved over the years.  But
there is room for improvements.  Lastly, our Executive Director have
been writing weekly about her work, the board members could do the same
(by turns or another method).  It is good to see the things are moving
forward, not matter if slowly or quickly.  Without feedback, it is hard
to evaluate it. 

As an outsider point of view, I would like to have available for free
scrutiny as much information as possible from our Foundation.  I have
never been a director before, hence I lack of details in this matter (if
this is feasible or reasonable).  I can contribute filling this gap.

I do think there is privacy involved when some member of the advisory
board or external entity ask for it in the middle of a negotiation. But,
once it happened, I can work to give a detailed explanation of the
process taken and not only the results.

> 13. Do you think we need to make the being a member of the Foundation
> feel more valuable, and how do you think we should do that? What would
> you change about the Foundation to make it more useful to members.

It think something is going on in that direction: giving higher priority
to Foundation member's when somebody ask for sponsorship.  It is not set
in stone, but it helps people to realize that if they deserve to be
sponsored, then they contribute enough to be a member.

Also, I am aware there are contributors who do not feel contributing
enough or still they does not feel as involved in the community as they
expect, specially when they compares themselves against the most vocals
or our rock stars.  This is specially true in local communities that
spread Gnome around their countries but still they feel in the limbo.

> 14. Do you have any plans on how can the board help bring the GNOME
> platform and desktop in the top of opensource desktop and mobile
> application development?

I think it is important to empower the marketing team in order to have a
consistent way of communication at different levels (user, management,
and development).

> 15. Many governments offer electronic services to citizens and
> companies that require the use of non-free software (like IE for web
> services, or the use of a bundled MS Access runtime database, etc.) My
> particular peeve is with the Canadian government, which is terrible
> for this. Do you plan any advocacy for getting governments to accept
> Gnome (and FOSS in general) users as first-class citizens?

Increasing our market share to make it relevant.  In the mid-term I
think is more feasible through Mobile platforms than our desktop.
Also, it is relevant to spread through all channels available (in
alliance with other projects) the importance of open standards and the
role of FLOSS in a society that want to bring equal opportunities to its

> 16. Bugzilla is very slow at times. How will you address this
> infrastructure problem?

This is a technical issue.  One of the pending task is upgrading
Bugzilla to its version 3.x.  It may use mod_perl which can improve the
performance in page loads but with a penalty in memory.

In this matter, I think the problem resides on people having enough time
to do it than a special machine.  In the worst case both, but the former
means having a part/full-time sysadmin which is one the issues the board
is working on.

> 17. What level of transparency do you believe the board should have
> in its inner workings regarding the members? How much financial
> transparency should the foundation have? How much procedural and
> administrative transparency?

As I said at 12: as much as possible.  However, having the information
available is not enough to be as transparent as I would like.  It must
be clear, comparable and processable.

> 18. Are you happy with the Foundation's current budget? If not, how
> would you change it?

I do know if 'happy' is the right word to express it.  But there is room
for improvements here, and actions in that direction have been taken and
I am happy with that.

To be more precise:  Everybody who was sponsored in previous years will
agree that if they could buy their ticket in advanced they could do it
in a small fraction than they really paid.  It could save a lot of money
to the Foundation.

And this has been done with the current Guadec, and it will be done with
the next events.  Scheduling with months of anticipation saves a lot of
money, and I think is the right direction.

> 19. Do you think the GNOME Foundation and the GNOME projects get
> enough representation at events? If not, how would you fix that?

I am biased, but in those events I have knowledge in SouthAmerica, Gnome
has a good representation.  Could it be better? for sure.  Sometimes we
are not enough to attend to several simultaneous events that we are
required.  But in big places/countries like United States, Europe and
even Brazil, there are so many people involved in so many projects, that
requires an extra effort to get the attention.

I think we need to approach both kind of places: the ones to
'conquer' (and help to settle down a strong local community, such as
Asia, SouthAmerica, Africa) and make a strong representation where there
is more competition (NorthAmerica & Europe).

It must be talked with Marketing's people.  They are getting very active
lastly and I am sure they have something to say.

> 20. Do you think GNOME has a good relationship with the
> distributions? If not, how would you change it?

Yes, I do. This is a personal view as an outsider.

> 21. Do you think GNOME has enough events (hackfests, GUADEC and local
> events)? If not, how would you get funding and volunteers to have
> more?

I do think hackfests have proved to be good for projects.  My
appreciation is hackfests have a target to get the things done
(accelerate a project, as it was conceived Guadec once), Guadec it is
more social with global interaction, and local events is about branding,
spreading Gnome & FLOSS, teaching our technologies and getting new users
and contributors.

As far as we grow as a project, we never will have enough events.  And
instead of asking about new funds (that I am user we will get as soon as
the economy gets healthier), I would approach other aspects, such as
organizing our events in less expensive places or at least where we can
compensate costs.

> 22. It is the nature of Board(s) to be seen by the members as an
> "overlord" figure for strategy whereas the tactical aspect comes
> across from a number of voices - do you have any plans to address this
> situation ?

It is a matter of communication and empowering people.

> 23. What, in your view, are the top 5 requirements (from a strategic
> perspective) for the GNOME communities world-wide ?

* Empowering local GNOME communities.
* Having a good and consistent marketing plan, encouraging an
  unified message of the project and its role as Free Software.
* Strengthening the working teams
* Good communication.
* Transparency.


* Having patience to answer (and read) a lot of questions :-)

> 24. Is there anything else you think is important to tell us but
> which you feel has not been covered by the previous questions?

If you have reached this question one by one, you are amazing!

Germán Póo-Caamaño
Concepción - Chile

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: This is a digitally signed message part

[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Thread Index] [Date Index] [Author Index]