Richard Weait richard at weait.com
Sun Aug 16 12:12:39 UTC 2009

On Sun, Aug 16, 2009 at 6:24 AM, James Brown<jbrown at jwbsystems.com> wrote:
> I agree.  I think that the best course is to let the electorate decide in
> each election.
> I'd add that I do not see any real alternative.

Sure you see an alternative.  You go on to describe it below.  ;-)

> If we set a limit on the
> number of board seats that people who work for the same company can hold, do
> we either:
>  a. Prevent more than one person from any company from standing together (or
> standing if there is a current board member not up for reelection)
>  b. Wait till the votes are in and then, if we have more than one elected
> person from the same company force one to stand down?
> And, as just occured to me... What if a board member goes to work, after
> they are elected, for the same company as another board member?  Do they
> stand down?

Jim I think that you have pointed out exactly the three guidelines for
Foundation nominees and board members.

> This really feels to me like something that should just be left to the
> desires of the community as expressed in the elections.

Some things are dealt with more effectively from the foundation point
of view, then presented to the membership and community at large.  All
starting with perhaps a single comment by a single community member.
I think the ODbL discussions followed that form.

Some have suggested that it is too difficult to put such protections
in place.  But we are mapping the world, one post box at a time.  We
are really good at "difficult".

>From the Foundation side, the benefit of diverse board members is
obvious: Breadth of experience, knowledge, contacts and industries
make for a very well informed board.  Any board will find solutions
that benefit the Foundation and community.  Those solutions will also
be beneficial to the outside interests of the board members involved
(otherwise they would excuse themselves as conflicted).  I maintain
that any given solution or initiative recommended by the board that
considers a great number of diverse interests is better that one that
considers fewer interests.  Having different companies on the board is

I have to imagine that the benefits of one-person-per-company are
worthwhile from the company perspective as well: The time committed to
the Board is time taken away from the board member's job at the
company.  And the time commitment can be substantial.  The board
minutes[1] record several cases where board members had to leave
meetings early or show up late due to other business obligations.  Why
would a single business require more than one member, and commit
double, treble or more resources to the board?  Surely a single board
member is capable of representing the company concerns, interests and
opportunities for collaboration.

What is it from the company point of view that appeals about having
more than one member on a board and that is worth the additional
committed resources?

> Jim Brown -CTO CloudMade

Best regards,

[1] http://foundation.openstreetmap.org/officers-board/board-meeting-minutes/

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