- Some Past and Present Insights
- So, What Does an Executive Director Do?
- What Lies Ahead?
- My Vision for Ending the Startup Period
- A Timeline to Keep in Mind
- Providing Context
Some Past and Present Insights
Greetings, everyone! On May 11, 2023, I proudly stepped into the role of Executive Director for the AsyncAPI Initiative. A heartfelt thank you to all of you! This momentous occasion marked the official merging of a significant pull request, although we had already shared the exciting news on social media and engaged in discussions with the Technical Steering Committee (TSC), along with a voting process.
The AsyncAPI Initiative became a Linux Foundation project on March 30, 2021, and introduced a open governance charter. Within this charter, the role of an Executive Director (ED) was established. However, our initial estimate of ending the "startup period" by March 31, 2022, was overly optimistic. We learned the hard way that change in open-source projects takes time, especially considering that we didn't even have a fully formed TSC back then. Lessons learned!
Fran Mendez, the founder of AsyncAPI, served as the project's initial ED. Over time, we diligently built the TSC. Two years later, Fran gracefully passed the torch through a TSC voting process, leading to my appointment as the new ED. It's time we revisit the charter to reflect our evolving needs.
So, What Does an Executive Director Do?
In a nutshell, I'm not here to be the boss; I'm here to be a community servant. My responsibilities include:
- Managing finances to ensure our sustainability.
- Nurturing relationships with external companies.
- Overseeing the various programs we run within the initiative.
- Ensuring that we have the right people, tools, and processes in place to foster a thriving community.
- Collaborating closely with the TSC and spearheading necessary improvements.
What Lies Ahead?
Now, let's talk about what's on the horizon. It might sound surprising, but my main goal is to eventually step down from the role of ED as the last ED of the project. TSC, a robust and tested group through numerous voting processes, will play a pivotal role in defining when the startup period concludes. Only then can we estimate the end date of my ED role, with the target set for 2024.
I plan to embark on a journey, reaching out to each TSC member individually for private conversations to gather their thoughts on the project's future. These will be confidential meetings to ensure candidness. While no immediate decisions will be made, I believe it's vital to maintain transparency through public summaries and notes from these meetings. It'll be like filling out a feedback form, but on a call, so there is a place for followup questions and clarifications, to be 100% sure the context and motivation behind questions is clear.
During my conversations with TSC members, we'll delve into several crucial areas:
- TSC Involvement in the Project: We'll explore what aspects are functioning smoothly and identify opportunities for improvement within the TSC's role in the project.
- Review and Refresh of the AsyncAPI Roadmap: We'll assess whether it's best to uphold the existing roadmap or focus solely on the overarching vision.
- Evolution of the Executive Director (ED) Role: We'll contemplate the transformation and development of the ED's responsibilities and contributions.
My Vision for Ending the Startup Period
In broad strokes, here's what I propose:
- Automate Voting: We need technical mechanisms to automate the voting process and verify TSC members' involvement with respect to the charter of the project. Luckily it is not hard to do with existing tool that CNCF uses, called gitvote.
- Review the TSC List: We'll assess the activity levels of current TSC members, balancing support for both active and less active members. As a result of the review, the number of TSC members might decrease. We need a more active group that not only have willingness to help, but actually actively help.
- Succession Planning: Once the ED role is phased out, we must designate individuals responsible for its duties. Relying solely on the TSC may not be the best approach. Therefore, I suggest the creation of a Governance Board consisting of five members. Nominees could include TSC members and AsyncAPI Ambassadors, promoting greater project involvement among Ambassadors. The first three members of this board would be elected in 2024, with two more joining in 2025, creating a cycle for experienced and new members. This structure ensures smoother transitions of responsibilities.
A Timeline to Keep in Mind
My personal target is October 2024 for the initial governance board election, the transition from the ED role, and the conclusion of the startup period. However, I recognize that unforeseen factors may influence our plans.
Let me clarify - I am deeply honored to serve as the ED for the AsyncAPI Initiative. I have immense love for this community and open-source as a whole. However, I believe open-source initiatives should not hinge on a single individual. We all understand the beauty and challenges of open-source work. Burnout is a real concern, and the stability of funding can fluctuate. Thus, my aim is to ensure a smooth transition and empower a passionate team to keep AsyncAPI Initiative thriving, like a well-oiled machine ready for any tune-up. In the end, it is easier to change a flat tire than a crashed car.
I value your feedback, whether it's shared publicly or privately through any channel of your choice.
Feel free to reach out to me via email at email@example.com.