call for help: partners program

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call for help: partners program

Sam Hartman-5
Hi,

Debian has a partners program (see https://www.debian.org/partners/). It is
used to thank and advertise organizations that are supporting or helping us.
Examples include:
- hosting Debian infrastructure, or providing services used by Debian
- providing hardware (or plans to buy hardware at a lower cost)
- hosting sprints
- supporting the LTS initiative
- etc.

Unfortunately, due to lack of time of the people that used to be involved,
the partners@ team has not been able to keep up with addition requests.

I discussed this program with DSA (which is one of the main teams making
use of it, to thank hardware/hosting sponsors), and at least Luca
Filipozzi is interested in helping getting the partners team back in
shape.

I would like to build a small group of people in charge of this program.

There are ideas floating around about having several levels
(platinium/gold/silver/...), and a limited duration for membership.  The
team would be responsible for setting this up in a way that makes it
possible to mix different kinds of contributions using the same
rankings/levels. Then, the team would be responsible for evaluating
requests for joining the program. There's a number of pending requests
that could be used to benchmark the designed ranking.

Ideally, this program would be merged with a Debian fundraising team.
However, at this point, most of what Debian does in terms of fundraising
from large organizations (not individuals) happens through DebConf.
I fear that merging this now would be too big, so I think that the plan
here should be to:
1) improve the DebConf fundraising processes, and keep in mind that it
could be transferred from 'DebConf fundraising' to 'Debian fundraising'
2) revitalize the partners team
3) discuss merging both efforts when they are both in a sufficiently
good shape.

So, at this point, I'm looking for 2-3 people interested in creating a
partners team.

- Lucas

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Re: call for help: partners program

martin f krafft
Sorry for bringing up
https://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2015/03/msg00020.html
earlier today without having seen this message last month.


also sprach Lucas Nussbaum <[hidden email]> [2015-02-17 14:02 +0100]:
> I would like to build a small group of people in charge of this program.

Count me in.

> Ideally, this program would be merged with a Debian fundraising
> team.

Do we have a fundraising team? If not, then no need to merge, for
then you are talking about the fundraising team, no? Anyway,
details…

> 1) improve the DebConf fundraising processes, and keep in mind
>    that it could be transferred from 'DebConf fundraising' to
>    'Debian fundraising'

We're (DebConf fundraising) already looking at ourselves as that, at
least when we take a step back, so I'd say that you can check this
off. This was obvious in the discussion around a CRM, which we'll
need desperately…

> 2) revitalize the partners team

… and which I'd introduce as point 2.5). In fact…

> 3) discuss merging both efforts when they are both in a sufficiently
> good shape.

… I wouldn't do it this way. Please let me propose an alternative
idea that I think could get us further faster without disrupting
DebConf fundraising until we're ready to.

How about we revive the partners team and work e.g. on a brochure
/ marketing material (incl. all the benefits and stuff we "sell"),
as well as a CRM (and cash collection automation).¹

Meanwhile, communications between this newly revived team and the
DebConf team will be keep all on the same page and it might well
make sense to prepare our DebConf sponsors e.g. during the DC16
cycle.²

Once a CRM is in place and we have products identify that we can
sell to our subscribers,³ then we can dive into the waters and merge
in DebConf fundraising.

Footnotes:

  ¹) DebConf fundraising uses a text-file and it's quite bad. A real
     CRM would really help the process and would be a great asset
     for Debian anyway. Allison Randall has taken a lot of time and
     scouted out some possibilities: https://titanpad.com/hHhmrGb7uY.
     So one contribution anyone who's less interested in sales and
     finances but still likes the ideas being discussed here would
     be to drive on this evaluation; then — in collaboration with
     DSA — identify a CRM we could use, and set it up.

  ²) We'll always also have DebConf fundraising: the small business
     close to Heidelberg giving us money to be able to be at the
     DC15 job fair, as well as the small startup in Cape Town going
     bronze this one time because it's in their home town even
     though they cannot really afford it, will not really be
     reachable by a global Debian partners/fundraising programme, at
     least not without support from the DCX team.

  ³) Reduced prices for DebConf sponsorship packages could be one
     such product…

--
 .''`.   martin f. krafft <[hidden email]> @martinkrafft
: :'  :  proud Debian developer
`. `'`   http://people.debian.org/~madduck
  `-  Debian - when you have better things to do than fixing systems
 
there's an old proverb that says just about whatever you want it to.

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Re: call for help: partners program

Sam Hartman-5
On 15/03/15 at 14:51 +0100, martin f krafft wrote:
> Sorry for bringing up
> https://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2015/03/msg00020.html
> earlier today without having seen this message last month.
>
>
> also sprach Lucas Nussbaum <[hidden email]> [2015-02-17 14:02 +0100]:
> > I would like to build a small group of people in charge of this program.
>
> Count me in.

That's great! Steffen Möller (Cced) also volunteered. Maybe you too
could start discussing how you want to organize, and get the ball
rolling?

> > Ideally, this program would be merged with a Debian fundraising
> > team.
>
> Do we have a fundraising team? If not, then no need to merge, for
> then you are talking about the fundraising team, no? Anyway,
> details…
>
> > 1) improve the DebConf fundraising processes, and keep in mind
> >    that it could be transferred from 'DebConf fundraising' to
> >    'Debian fundraising'
>
> We're (DebConf fundraising) already looking at ourselves as that, at
> least when we take a step back, so I'd say that you can check this
> off. This was obvious in the discussion around a CRM, which we'll
> need desperately…
>
> > 2) revitalize the partners team
>
> … and which I'd introduce as point 2.5). In fact…
>
> > 3) discuss merging both efforts when they are both in a sufficiently
> > good shape.
>
> … I wouldn't do it this way. Please let me propose an alternative
> idea that I think could get us further faster without disrupting
> DebConf fundraising until we're ready to.
>
> How about we revive the partners team and work e.g. on a brochure
> / marketing material (incl. all the benefits and stuff we "sell"),
> as well as a CRM (and cash collection automation).¹
>
> Meanwhile, communications between this newly revived team and the
> DebConf team will be keep all on the same page and it might well
> make sense to prepare our DebConf sponsors e.g. during the DC16
> cycle.²
>
> Once a CRM is in place and we have products identify that we can
> sell to our subscribers,³ then we can dive into the waters and merge
> in DebConf fundraising.
The above plan looks good to me.

Please let me know if you need something from me.
 
- Lucas

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Re: call for help: partners program

martin f krafft
also sprach Lucas Nussbaum <[hidden email]> [2015-03-16 07:55 +0100]:
> Please let me know if you need something from me.

I would like to know how the procedure will be between now and then.

Let's make it easy and say up-front that we will not allow a sponsor
to gain influence over project decisions, no matter how much money
they give us.¹

So we get to work and design the "products" to sell with our
sponsorship brochure, i.e. bundling perks (benefits) for different
levels. For instance, we might want to name sprints after our
Silver+ sponsors, mention all Gold and Platinum sponsors in our
press releases forthwith, and offer 50% discounts on the DebConf
sponsorship packages of equal or lesser levels to all our sponsors.

Obviously, none of this will be developed behind closed doors
(though probably also not on a mailing list like this) and it'll be
really useful to reach out to the community for feedback, scrutiny
and ideas, but what I wouldn't want to do is "develop" this brochure
in a mailing list discussion with dozens of people.

I'd only be motivated to work on this if I was allowed to try
things (within limits of course, and also respecting guidelines put
forth in a delegation), make mistakes and recover from them. Can you
imagine that we can pull this off?

  ¹) I think we could open ourselves to ideas about this later on,
     but that would certainly require a working programme and
     a lengthy discussion about values. So let's not even go there
     now.

--
 .''`.   martin f. krafft <[hidden email]> @martinkrafft
: :'  :  proud Debian developer
`. `'`   http://people.debian.org/~madduck
  `-  Debian - when you have better things to do than fixing systems
 
"no, 'eureka' is greek for 'this bath is too hot.'"
                                                            -- dr. who

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Re: call for help: partners program

Sam Hartman-5
On 16/03/15 at 09:32 +0100, martin f krafft wrote:

> also sprach Lucas Nussbaum <[hidden email]> [2015-03-16 07:55 +0100]:
> > Please let me know if you need something from me.
>
> I would like to know how the procedure will be between now and then.
>
> Let's make it easy and say up-front that we will not allow a sponsor
> to gain influence over project decisions, no matter how much money
> they give us.¹
>
> So we get to work and design the "products" to sell with our
> sponsorship brochure, i.e. bundling perks (benefits) for different
> levels. For instance, we might want to name sprints after our
> Silver+ sponsors, mention all Gold and Platinum sponsors in our
> press releases forthwith, and offer 50% discounts on the DebConf
> sponsorship packages of equal or lesser levels to all our sponsors.
>
> Obviously, none of this will be developed behind closed doors
> (though probably also not on a mailing list like this) and it'll be
> really useful to reach out to the community for feedback, scrutiny
> and ideas, but what I wouldn't want to do is "develop" this brochure
> in a mailing list discussion with dozens of people.
>
> I'd only be motivated to work on this if I was allowed to try
> things (within limits of course, and also respecting guidelines put
> forth in a delegation), make mistakes and recover from them. Can you
> imagine that we can pull this off?
>
>   ¹) I think we could open ourselves to ideas about this later on,
>      but that would certainly require a working programme and
>      a lengthy discussion about values. So let's not even go there
>      now.
 
Obviously I'm not in a position to make long term commitments as the
DPL. I'd welcome "crazy ideas" in that area, at least in a brainstorming
phase. Maybe you could start by working on a list of possible benefits,
and then discuss with the DPL and the project which ones we are willing
to give to sponsors?

Also note that one of the tricky parts of the partners role is the
ability to consider non-financial contributions (e.g. hardware, hosting,
sprint hosting, etc.). This is largely orthogonal, but must not be
forgotten. The pending partners inquiries are all of that nature.

Lucas

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Re: call for help: partners program

martin f krafft
also sprach Lucas Nussbaum <[hidden email]> [2015-03-16 09:45 +0100]:
> Obviously I'm not in a position to make long term commitments as
> the DPL. I'd welcome "crazy ideas" in that area, at least in
> a brainstorming phase. Maybe you could start by working on a list
> of possible benefits, and then discuss with the DPL and the
> project which ones we are willing to give to sponsors?

Okay, so then let's assume we identify perk Foo; now there are three
possible scenarios:

  a) "you know best, do as you see fit" — okay, forget that… ;)
  b) "nice perk, but I think this should not be Silver but Gold and
     up"
  c) "no way we will offer this" from n people, "good idea" from
     m people

I can only dream of (a), and (b) would be really useful feedback.
But what do we do in the case of (c)? Scratch it for lack of
consensus? Push it anyway? What if it's hugely successful with our
sponsors and doesn't change the project really, once people have
come to accept it? What if it's a big failure and we won't do it
again?

I am asking all these questions now because such sponsorship
brochure is a lot of work. I don't think any small team among us
will be able to just get it right, and being able to obtain feedback
from the community will be extremely useful.

At the same time, however, I'd hate to create all this work (which
does involve speaking with sponsors at some point), only to find
that the efforts will get stalled because the Debian community can't
agree to place this in the hands of a few and ride along.

The DebConf15 brochure had some perks at some time that caused
vicious debates, and while we removed the contentious ones, I think
that the only reason we managed to actually get this brochure out
was due to time pressure and just pushing things, which may have
alienated some people.

In the context of Debian partners, we do not have this time pressure
and we don't have the ability to drive this to completion, unless
delegated. Obviously, nobody would be interested to go against the
majority, but knowing that there won't be consensus on everything,
one still needs to be able to make a move with the support of the
project.

--
 .''`.   martin f. krafft <[hidden email]> @martinkrafft
: :'  :  proud Debian developer
`. `'`   http://people.debian.org/~madduck
  `-  Debian - when you have better things to do than fixing systems
 
only by counting could humans demonstrate
their independence of computers.
            -- douglas adams, "the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy"

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Re: call for help: partners program

Sam Hartman-5
On 16/03/15 at 10:13 +0100, martin f krafft wrote:

> also sprach Lucas Nussbaum <[hidden email]> [2015-03-16 09:45 +0100]:
> > Obviously I'm not in a position to make long term commitments as
> > the DPL. I'd welcome "crazy ideas" in that area, at least in
> > a brainstorming phase. Maybe you could start by working on a list
> > of possible benefits, and then discuss with the DPL and the
> > project which ones we are willing to give to sponsors?
>
> Okay, so then let's assume we identify perk Foo; now there are three
> possible scenarios:
>
>   a) "you know best, do as you see fit" — okay, forget that… ;)
>   b) "nice perk, but I think this should not be Silver but Gold and
>      up"
>   c) "no way we will offer this" from n people, "good idea" from
>      m people
>
> I can only dream of (a), and (b) would be really useful feedback.
> But what do we do in the case of (c)? Scratch it for lack of
> consensus? Push it anyway? What if it's hugely successful with our
> sponsors and doesn't change the project really, once people have
> come to accept it? What if it's a big failure and we won't do it
> again?
>
> I am asking all these questions now because such sponsorship
> brochure is a lot of work. I don't think any small team among us
> will be able to just get it right, and being able to obtain feedback
> from the community will be extremely useful.
>
> At the same time, however, I'd hate to create all this work (which
> does involve speaking with sponsors at some point), only to find
> that the efforts will get stalled because the Debian community can't
> agree to place this in the hands of a few and ride along.
>
> The DebConf15 brochure had some perks at some time that caused
> vicious debates, and while we removed the contentious ones, I think
> that the only reason we managed to actually get this brochure out
> was due to time pressure and just pushing things, which may have
> alienated some people.
>
> In the context of Debian partners, we do not have this time pressure
> and we don't have the ability to drive this to completion, unless
> delegated. Obviously, nobody would be interested to go against the
> majority, but knowing that there won't be consensus on everything,
> one still needs to be able to make a move with the support of the
> project.
I think that it is the role of the DPL to break ties in that context,
under "Make any decision for whom noone else has responsibility.".
Of course, that should be done after hearing opinions, including from
teams such as the press team and the www team that are likely to be
affected by many of the perks.

I don't think that it makes sense to delegate that authority to the
partners team. Its role should be to:
- *propose* a list of Perks
- rank them in levels (Silver, Gold, ...)
- decide on values for their levels
- translate non-financial contributions to a common scale

I agree that some perks might be contentious. But there are also a
lot of "easy" ones. Maybe start by building a list, and we'll see where
this goes?

- Lucas

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non-financial donations (was: call for help: partners program)

martin f krafft
In reply to this post by Sam Hartman-5
also sprach Lucas Nussbaum <[hidden email]> [2015-03-16 09:45 +0100]:
> Also note that one of the tricky parts of the partners role is the
> ability to consider non-financial contributions (e.g. hardware,
> hosting, sprint hosting, etc.). This is largely orthogonal, but
> must not be forgotten. The pending partners inquiries are all of
> that nature.

Well, this is indeed a very hard subject, and also includes hardware
donations.

There's the easy case, which is when Debian needs something and then
there's demand and presumably a market price (hardware donations and
hosting).

If Debian had a wishlist, we could let partners join by donating
hardware on this list — until the need is higher and we cannot wait
and have to buy the hardware ourselves, so this would need to be
actively managed.

Wrt sprint hosting, I'd refrain from asking the potential hoster for
a price to use their offices before accepting them for free, so here
I'd rather use some sort of formula that takes into account
geographic location (travel costs), amenities provided, food, etc.
to determine the actual worth of the hosting to us.

I'd reject sponsors who want to give us products instead of cash
when there's no concrete need.

The biggest challenge IMHO here is though not the valuation of
a single donation and slotting it in with our offerings. Instead,
I think the biggest challenge are the different "lifetimes", e.g.
gold partnership lasts one year and let's just say we would award it
in return for a specific SAN by SANManufacturer Ltd. with a 5 year
SLA. What then? Does the partner get degraded the next year?

All in all, I think the way to solve this is by fixing the rules in
the brochure and not to make exceptions, i.e. to become a dependable
and predictable peer to our sponsors. And to get there, we probably
need to engage with them and shape the product, which will be
a longer process.

--
 .''`.   martin f. krafft <[hidden email]> @martinkrafft
: :'  :  proud Debian developer
`. `'`   http://people.debian.org/~madduck
  `-  Debian - when you have better things to do than fixing systems
 
"i love deadlines. i like the whooshing
 sound they make as they fly by."
                                                      -- douglas adams

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Re: non-financial donations (was: call for help: partners program)

Paul Wise via nm
On Mon, Mar 16, 2015 at 6:33 PM, martin f krafft wrote:

> If Debian had a wishlist, we could let partners join by donating
> hardware on this list — until the need is higher and we cannot wait
> and have to buy the hardware ourselves, so this would need to be
> actively managed.

We have a hardware wishlist but there is nothing on it yet and no-one
replied to my calls for adding things to it (on IRC, d-d-a).

https://wiki.debian.org/Hardware/Wanted
https://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2015/03/msg00004.html

The previous hardware wishlist became obsolete because it was
writeable only by the web team.

There is also the DSA wishlist but half of it is obsolete since zack
created sources.d.n.

https://dsa.debian.org/hardware-wishlist/

Looking at my [hidden email] archive, we've been offered
mostly hardware that we can't use for one reason or another; out of
warranty, too slow/ancient, donor didn't follow-up with suggestion to
contact porters or we had no use for them. So far only one of eight
has been accepted and that was from the manufacturer and was very new
hardware.

IIRC, the partners program was meant for continuous support every year
like supplying machines as-needed for port X rather than one-off
donations.

Re financial donations, I'd personally like to see more focus on
something like having 20k or more individuals donating $10 a year and
most of them listed on contributors.d.o, as opposed to turning Debian
into more of an advertising organisation, which seems to be the end of
the spectrum we are headed towards.

--
bye,
pabs

https://wiki.debian.org/PaulWise


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Re: call for help: partners program

martin f krafft
In reply to this post by Sam Hartman-5
also sprach Lucas Nussbaum <[hidden email]> [2015-03-16 10:39 +0100]:
> I think that it is the role of the DPL to break ties in that context,
> under "Make any decision for whom noone else has responsibility.".
> Of course, that should be done after hearing opinions, including from
> teams such as the press team and the www team that are likely to be
> affected by many of the perks.

You say the DPL would break ties "of course […] after hearing
opinions". How is that different from a delegate making decisions
after hearing opinions?

Obviously, perks affect other teams and designing them would require
being in touch with those teams. The goal should not only be to sell
perks that don't "sell out our soul", but also perks that we can
actually fulfill, and unless the fundraising team wants to also
become the fulfillment team, we'll need to have all the other teams
on board, identifying with our product(s) and having felt part of
the process so that they are motivated later on to fulfill the
promises we made.

But this design process will need active driving and decision-making
all along, and while we have all the time in the world to discuss
technical decisions until we get stuck and have to call the CTTE,
fundraising won't work this way, and I wouldn't feel particularly
motivated to engage, to be honest.

It really all boils down to one question, IMHO:

Assuming there's a team with good knowledge of Debian (the
"product", as well as the project's values) —

Are we as a project ready to delegate design, implementation and
further management to said group in full trust that they will

  - always stay faithful to the project,

  - engage with the stakeholders involved (e.g. press team, web
    team, the community) for feedback,

  - act without an agenda though still enabled and willing to drive
    the process and make decisions,

  - get up after making mistakes and learn from them?

To me, the role of the DPL in this should not be to be the tip of
the scales at the end of the design process, when dozens of strongly
held opinions have been formed and you can basically only choose
whom to go against and lose. To me, the leader should make such
decisions before the process, be ready to defend these decisions and
back the efforts with support by the project — this is all assuming
that while mistakes will happen, none are breaches of trust or harm
the project.

But Lucas, I am not trying to put you on the spot here, nor any of
the candidates. The issue at hand is about money, and we all know
that as soon as money gets involved, we all recall history and go
into hyper-defensive mode over our and the project's ideals, which
is GOOD; asking the DPL to simply step beyond this would be unfair,
and unrealistic as well.

Yet, if we wanted to create a cash flow with the goal to be able to
hand out budgets to teams such as DSA, sprints, DebConfs, outreach
programmes and what not ("make better use of our money"), then
I *think* the only way to do so is to approach it with
entrepreneurial freedom.

--
 .''`.   martin f. krafft <[hidden email]> @martinkrafft
: :'  :  proud Debian developer
`. `'`   http://people.debian.org/~madduck
  `-  Debian - when you have better things to do than fixing systems
 
"der glaube an den kausalnexus ist der aberglaube"
                                                       -- wittgenstein

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Re: non-financial donations (was: call for help: partners program)

martin f krafft
In reply to this post by Paul Wise via nm
also sprach Paul Wise <[hidden email]> [2015-03-16 12:52 +0100]:
> Re financial donations, I'd personally like to see more focus on
> something like having 20k or more individuals donating $10 a year
> and most of them listed on contributors.d.o, as opposed to turning
> Debian into more of an advertising organisation, which seems to be
> the end of the spectrum we are headed towards.

I don't think Debian should become an advertising organisation.
We have identified some ways in which we could use money that IMHO
requires a cash flow. So I am merely advocating finding ways of
generating that cash flow based on our product and brand, without
losing the soul.

The problem with 20k × $10 / year is collection. We can let Paypal
do this, but I am sure we would find people strongly opposed to
Paypal here. But we'd need to use such a provider, working globally,
but then you are looking at losing 5–10% of those funds to them.

Anyway, the two are not at all in disagreement. Someone giving $10
to Debian every year should be treated with the same diligence as
someone giving 20k, especially since the $10 are likely to be
a larger cut of their budget than 20k for BigCorp.

--
 .''`.   martin f. krafft <[hidden email]> @martinkrafft
: :'  :  proud Debian developer
`. `'`   http://people.debian.org/~madduck
  `-  Debian - when you have better things to do than fixing systems
 
"if you stew apples like cranberries,
 they taste more like prunes than rhubarb does."
                                                       -- groucho marx

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