[OSM-talk] AND donate entire street network of Netherlands toOSM

Nick Black nickblack1 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 5 12:03:41 BST 2007

On 7/5/07, Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org> wrote:
> Hi,
> > Deals like the one with AND take positive marketing, time and
> > enthusiasm
> > from those involved and the building of trust.
> Right, and while I assume that a lot of time has been spent getting
> the AND people to trust us, our trusting AND is taken for granted.
> That's the major problem here, and we had the very same with Mikel's
> work with Yahoo: There's a long process leading up to an agreement,
> and the community is only told the second that a deal is struck:
> "This is good news, believe us, it is GOOD". (Sometimes news is out
> on other websites before the community is told, even.)
> This is anything but building trust.
> Add to this that Steve is, most of all, not a programmer or a leader
> but a good marketing guy. He has an excellent capacity to sell ideas,
> to clad them in words that the receivers are likely to swallow. This
> has helped the project a lot when applied to the outside, but I feel
> it hurts when applied to the community. Think of his announcement
> that we'll have Mappam ads ("I helped create Mappam... currently only
> UK... Mappam not taking a cut") - all were true, but the full truth
> was that Steve was a director (not only helped creating it), that the
> whole world followed shortly after (while it was true that at the
> time of announcing it, it was only the UK), and that Mappam was not
> taking a cut *in the fist month*, with further details not yet worked
> out. All that was left out to make the message easier to digest.
> So it is only natural for us to ask: What has been left out in the
> AND "press release"? And let's be honest, we the community, that is
> the people who do the 90% of work that Steve doesn't do himself ;-),
> have not had more than the very same press release that went out to
> the world. We aren't insiders in this process. We are outsiders, and
> treated as such.

Its mails like this that create distrust - not agreements we make with
people like AND, or inclusion of Mappam ads.  This is the same kind of
trolling that keeps coming up - the constant negativity and criticism
of the hard work that a small number of people put in to promoting and
working on OSM.  Taking your two examples - the Yahoo! imagery and the
AND data - these are massive coups for OSM.  They could not have
happened without the work of a few people - Steve and Mikel in both
cases.  Mikel was driven to total distraction by the response of a
*minority* of loud mouthed provocateurs.  Neither AND nor Yahoo! come
knocking on your door and offer you this stuff.  It involves *you*
paying for yourself to fly to California, *you* not earning money that
week, to talk to a whole load of people.  Most of the time it doesn't
pay off.  You come back with nothing, having invested a lot of time
and energy.

So what are the other options?  Decision making by committee?  Send
AND a group email asking if some flaky mapping project can have their
data?  Its not going to work.  Like Steve said in a mail yesterday,
monumental steps forward in OSM can be attributed to single people.
The idea that things like Yahoo! or AND can happen through group
consensus is laughable.  If, when we first met with AND, we had
immediately mailied the list they would have cancelled the deal
immediately.  Surely you can see that things like this are
commercially sensitive?  Companies like AND or Yahoo! and the like,
might have a few, forward thinking people who see the benifit of OSM,
but they have to go and justify it to their board and to their

There are enough people in OSM who *do* want AND data, and Yahoo!
imagery.  They understand that these things require a sophisticated,
direct approach.   Its so easy to sit and pick holes in other people's
projects, their business models, their personal affairs.  Its
considerably harder to actually do something about it.

I really hope there will be more deals like this.  Its not a case of
Steve starting another project, as Frederik suggests. People who don't
like the way deals like this are made have two options: they can offer
to help in future deals - either by brokering or orchestrating or by
offering sensible constructive criticism and advice, or they can go
start a 'pure' mapping project where every decision is made by
everyone.  No one is forcing anyone to be here.

> > So let's cut through the crap and get back to the business of
> > making our
> > cool map data even cooler, because right now all of the geodata
> > community
> > worldwide is watching with interest at OSM's rapid rise in status.
> > There is
> > absolutely no reason at all to think that the project will be
> > anything other
> > than a huge long term success. So I suggest everyone tightens their
> > seatbelts, the next couple of years and more is likely going to be
> > a very
> > fast and at times bumpy ride.
> Admit it, you're a marketing guy as well. I feel like hearing a
> "Herbalife" presentation. We are cool, yay! And now let's all stand
> up and sing!
> Damn it, where's Lars with his icy cynicism when you need him.
> Bye
> Frederik
> --
> Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00.09' E008°23.33'
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Nick Black

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