[Osmf-talk] Conflict of Interest

Nick Black nick at blacksworld.net
Thu Jul 30 13:59:20 UTC 2009

I'm going to stick my neck out and say that there are many, many  
aspects to running a good business that the OSM Foundation can learn  
from.  Here is one great example - Being customer lead

Good businesses talk to their customers and find out what they want,  
then go and build it.  Bad businesses sit behind closed doors and  
imagine what their customers want, then when no one buys their  
products they blame the customer for being too stupid to know the  
product is right for them.

The OSM-Foundation should be lead by its members and by the OSM- 
Community.  This means making decisions and supporting things that the  
community wants.  This translates to making life better for OSMers -  
helping them get more out of OpenStreetMap, and in turn put more into  
the project.  There is a dangerous sentiment amongst some OSMers that  
we shouldn't try to make OSM mapping more accessible to more people.   
To me this is terrible technical elitism.  I do not want to be part of  
a project that acts like the business that fails because they think  
their customers are too stupid.  I want a project that actively goes  
out, finds mappers who don't know they are mappers yet and helps them  
learn how to map.  A project that helps as many people as possible  
join the fun.

When you've got great news isn't it natural to want to share it with  


On 29 Jul 2009, at 22:43, Frederik Ramm wrote:

> Hi,
> Gervase Markham wrote:
>> Listening and serving is the essence of good leadership, in  
>> business or
>> otherwise. (Mark 10:45; John 13:12-17.) There is no dichotomy between
>> "good leadership skills" and "listening and serving".
> Hm. Let me put it another way then: If someone asks the OSMF where  
> they
> are going with OSM and the answer is "we'll see where the community
> takes us", I'd find that perfectly acceptable (even desirable).  
> However
> if the OSMF were a business giving me that answer, then I would
> certainly not invest money in them!
> It is a good discussion to have among us OSMF members but I do not  
> view
> the OSMF as having any "leadership" component. The OSMF is not  
> expected
> or required to have a vision, nor to provide any sort of guidance for
> the project - just to assist the project where such assistance is  
> asked for.
> If, for example, there were a country where people are simply not
> interested in OSM and no OSM community establishes itself, then that's
> just fine, we'll wait until it eventually happens - I wouldn't expect
> OSMF to compile a list of "problem regions" together with an action  
> plan
> on how to improve the map there. I wouldn't even expect OSMF to  
> analyse
> why OSM doesn't work in that country - if it doesn't then it  
> doesn't, no
> reason to get upset about it.
> Of course if a community starts to form and people ask for help from  
> the
> OSMF then that should, and would, be granted - but I'd never expect  
> to be "proactive" about this. OSMF shouldn't be "driving" anything in
> the project that doesn't drive itself.
> Which is, in my eyes, completely different from what I'd expect from a
> business.
> But maybe I am mixing up the role of OSMF vis-a-vis the community and
> the role of individuals inside the OSMF - perhaps it needs people with
> strong leadership skills at the helm of OSMF to make sure that OSMF
> doesn't start trying to lead OSM?
> Bye
> Frederik
> -- 
> Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09"  
> E008°23'33"
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Nick Black
nick at blacksworld.net

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