Will Sheward for Board 2009

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Who Am I?

I'm Will Sheward, I work as head of Marketing for Isode. If you were at FOSDEM this year, you may remember me as the confused looking marketing type wandering around in a slight daze.

I'm a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (which sounds a lot grander than it is) and occaisionally volunteer as a business mentor for the Princes Trust, a UK charity which helps young disadvantaged people and ex-offenders start and run their own businesses. I play far too much WoW, still think the cancellation of Firefly was a crime and have recently become obsessed with cycling.

More information about me is available on LinkedIn or by using the contact details at the bottom of this page to ask me questions directly (something I would encourage).

I've been on the Board of the XSF for last year, which leads nicely to the next section...

What has been achieved (by the Board) this year?

Blog Roundups

XMPP news roundups on the XSF blog became a regular feature this last year. This is something I was initially involved in and then others continued (many thanks should go out to Nicolas Vérité in particular for pushing this - Nyco is also standing for the Board this year) thus enabling me to take some of the credit without doing any of the actual work.

Promotional Activities

I'll comment here on FOSDEM as I unfortunately didn't manage to attend OSCON. FOSDEM was good for us, lots of interest, lots of t-shirts sold (with some major new sales talents being uncovered in the process!) and well attended XMPP talks. We should aim to repeat the FOSDEM commercial activities at every major event the XSF attends - it both raises money and our profile.

Starting a New Website

The current xmpp.org site is horrible.

It is not a good advert for the XSF or for XMPP in general. We have begun an effort to replace that site with one that we hope will make relevant information easy to find, look a little more attractive to casual visitors, press and companies considering sponsorship.

That new site is slowly taking shape at stage.xmpp.org although you may not be able to see it at the moment as we're in the process of migrating servers.

I should note that I'll stick around to complete this work regardless of the results of this election and have, in any case, fully documented the changes I've made to the Carrington Wordpress framework the site is based on.

What should the Board aim to achieve next year?

This is what I think the Board should try and do this year. Actual Board decisions are collaborative.

Meet Regularly

At the beginning of the term of the current Board, we held too many meetings. Towards the end I think we held too few. We should have monthly Board meetings, there's always something to talk about, and if there isn't - there's no point to a Board.

Be More Open

We discussed the issue of open Board meetings and publishing chat logs/minutes at one of our earlier Board meetings this year. After a brief experiment with writing minutes (which I don't think ever actually appeared - probably my fault) this came to nothing.

On the page that discusses the XSF Board it says:

"Minutes for more recent meetings are posted to the discussion list for XSF members."

As far as I can see this hasn't been the case this year.

After thinking a lot about this issue I think at least one Board meeting per quarter should be open to the entire membership and that chat logs for *all* Board meetings should be published - although there might be a need to edit out some confidential information, this situation would arise rarely.

Increase Membership Applications

In a year when XMPP seems to have been in the news a lot, I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that a membership of just over 50 for the XSF is a little small. While we should never commit to increasing the membership size, as that is quite rightly in the hands of the membership and their votes, we should set a goal of increasing the number of applicants.

This might mean actively picking people who we think ought to be involved and encouraging them to apply, it might mean more frequent membership elections. But it would be a worthwhile effort, the more individuals we have committed to the XSF, the better chance we have of persuading some of the companies they work for to expand their XMPP efforts and, perhaps, donate to the running costs of this organisation.

Contact Information

Please let me know if you have any questions relating to anything you see above or anything else Board related you'd like to ask.

My XMPP and Email address is: will.sheward@isode.com