[OpenID board] Sponsored Projects

Chris Messina chris.messina at gmail.com
Fri Aug 14 05:17:20 UTC 2009

It's an interesting idea, Nat — one fraught with challenge, but potential
upside as well.
I think there are a couple things that need to be done first, before such a
program is enacted:

* state plainly what the annual goals and themes for the foundation are (at
the moment, security and user experience)
* develop a series of measurable heuristics to help us gauge progress and to
evaluate our successes/failures
* develop a shared program for engaging the many facets of the OpenID
community — from individual user of the technology, to relying party, to
identity provider, to analyst, to designer, to developer and so on.

I think the first two matters must be attended to first and foremost, or
else marshaling the energy of the community will be for naught.

We did develop various goals and objectives for the Foundation shortly after
the initial elections, but I have no idea where that document went — but I
believe Brian Kissel may have it (I believe it was in the form of a

If we can go from a spreadsheet of goals and objectives with their
contingent evaluative metrics, then I think we can start to apply ourselves
to those tasks. Of course the board has largely been focused on the
government work for the past several months, and that that work has
necessarily happened behind closed doors has gravely affected the momentum
of the community.

What I worry about with your proposal is the administrative overhead
involved — where we would need to manage money, expectations and executions
in a way that we simply haven't proven ourselves capable of yet. Even if we
were able to solicit and receive funds, documents or in-kind donations, we
would need to administer those resources and I imagine deal with the
tax/official consequences of such "gifts".

Perhaps I'm restating the obvious — I want to see progress as much as anyone
— but I want to make sure that when we move, we move in concert, towards a
clear and well-articulated set of goals.

Until we have that list publicly represented somewhere, I worry that we may
end up scuttling the desires inherent in the kind of contributions you've
described. So — goals first — and then a program to marshal resources (along
the lines of your proposal) to achieve them!


On Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 7:50 PM, Nat Sakimura <sakimura at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Fellow Board Members:
> We all know that OIDF is rather financially constrained while there are
> many thing needs to be done.
> It is too much to solve it within the board, and it is not supposed to be
> either.
> We should be leveraging on the community, whether it would be individual or
> corporate.
> In this mail, I would like to run the idea of Sponsored Projects.
> Sponsored Projects are the projects that any corporation (or individual)
> can fund to get it going. Funding can be a monetary one or in kind
> contribution such as in house lawyer time, etc. In return, the company name
> will be acknowledged in the work product. For example, if it were a white
> paper, then the sponsor name appears in acknowledgment section and the front
> page, etc. Or, if it were a seminar that the sponsor provided conference
> room etc., the sponsor will be given a slot to speak. This is actually what
> we are doing at OIDF-J. In many situation, it is easier for the companies to
> contribute this way than membership fee because the ROI is clearer and
> usually requires less internal approval process.
> FYI, OIDF-J's corporate fee is very cheap. It is only $1000/year just
> enough to do some house keeping tasks. However, many members contribute
> significantly more through these in-kind contributions.
> Hitherto, we have not been doing justice to non-sustaining corporate
> members.
> I wonder how many is there now. I know some companies are dropping off
> because OIDF could not provide the merit in return. (They really get nothing
> in return. Not even the publicity at the OIDF site, which we are supposed to
> do, I believe. Vote? Yes, but it would be much better to join as individual
> then.) Getting them involved in a Sponsored Project would probably provide
> much better "customer satisfaction".
> What would you think?
> --
> Nat Sakimura (=nat)
> http://www.sakimura.org/en/
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Chris Messina
Open Web Advocate

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