1. 2014 Board Statement
1.1. About me
I've been a member of HCoop for over 10 years and am to blame for a large portion of HCoop's legal incorporation and tax exemption, as well as some of the initial provisioning and setup of HCoop at its present location at HCoop and a good deal of the early onsite support/hands on work at that site. I served on the first five HCoop boards of directors as secretary. The last few years I have remained a member although my involvement with HCoop has been quite limited. I owe huge thanks to Clinton in particular and others for keeping the flame alive during this time. Since then my life has changed significantly and I have matured in both my understanding of organizations and technically as an engineer. I have the perspective to again contribute to the HCoop board.
1.2. Why HCoop?
Is HCoop relevant in 2014? I think it has not only held up well, but is more vital than ever. With technical and nontechnical users alike migrating hosting and communications services to "the cloud," HCoop is an increasingly rare example of a formally organized, democratic, cooperative hosting shared hosting solution that maintains its own hardware and its own software at a first-class internet exchange. This is something to be proud of.
1.3. Platform for 2014
I don't advocate any radical changes. My foremost concern is to make sure that HCoop keeps working; that our admins and volunteers have the encouragement, resources and supervision they need, that risks are mitigated and problems are addressed.
Nonetheless, with our reliance on unpaid labor and informal processes, HCoop has had some organizational challenges and a stagnating membership. Here are a few concrete ideas I have for the cooperative:
- Empower our admins and volunteers. Within limits, admins should not need approval from the entire board for petty expenditures.
- Tweak the bylaws to be more in line with actual co-op governance needs. The board should be concerned with policy, budgeting, and larger directions, not micromanagement of technical issues. I'm to blame for most of the language in the current by-laws, and wish I had written some things differently. For instance, let's get rid of the needless barrier of board intervention in approving new members. And many of the member initiative clauses simply don't serve any purpose. Most members just want to pay their dues and get decent service. The board they elect should take responsibility for administrative matters.
- Better organize board meetings. Let's stick to important an agenda of important issues, keep meetings to the point and short, keep good records, and delegate broad authorities to the admins and volunteers who do the hard work of keeping HCoop running.
- Get the word out about what HCoop has to offer; invest in our capacity, bring in more members, and everyone will benefit from lower shared costs.