Open Source Matters announced yesterday that Paul Orwig was elected president of the non-profit organization that owns Joomla!®. Paul is known to many as the editor-in-chief of the Joomla Community Magazine.
He did the closing keynote at J and Beyond 2011 and is passionate about the Joomla project.
Today, Ryan Ozimek published an open letter to Paul, sharing some of his insights from his two years as OSM president.
the new OSM officers
President: Paul Orwig
Vice President: Jacques Rentzke
Secretary: Alice Grevet
The Officers of the board are elected from the board (by the Directors), and serve one year terms that may be renewed. I'm happy to see these names on the list, as I believe these are people with both experience and skills that OSM needs for the future. Also, they are really nice, friendly people! And that helps a lot. Congratulations, guys!
Ryan's Open Letter to the new President
Ryan Ozimek has written an open letter to Paul Orwig, in which he gives some friendly advice. I love the tone of the letter. It is just as funny and at the same time profound as I have known Ryan to be. I've been lucky enough to spend some time with Ryan in different settings, and I really respect his work. Being President of OSM is a challenging task. In the open letter, Paul gets some great advice from a man who's been travelling the world extensively for Joomla from 2010 until present.
A topic of some controversy in the past is the one on hiring people into the Joomla project. Ryan mentions this as one of his advice on what to work on:
There's only so far we're going to be able to take OSM and Joomla leadership without hiring staff. I think we're actually already beyond a point of volunteer comfort for some roles office roles within OSM. Push forward a discussion on deciding the best route forward for OSM and Joomla that recognizes the limits of a purely volunteer team and balancing that against a focus on effectiveness. I believe Joomla's leadership can be more effective if certain office roles have paid-staff to support them.
Ryan also recognizes that Joomla is about the community, and that the OSM projects is there for the community.
The President serves the community. This role is different than other volunteer opportunities within the project. You're both a leader and a servant of the greatest open source community. Be vigilant of the needs of the community, while recognizing you serve at the pleasure of the COC.
Spend the majority of your communication time listening. Go out of your way at Joomla events to have as many one-on-one discussions as possible, and while there, ask as many questions as possible. Not only will this enable you to make more informed leadership decisions, but it will also save your voice.
On OSM structure and spending money
We've spent the last two years saving money and building a strong reserve. Now it's time to spend it wisely. Gain consensus and move forward building the next generation of leadership structures.Fill roles that are well-defined. Don't create positions just so people can have titles. Aim to build task lists not teams. All the above will help avoid the politics that too often troubles open source projects.
Push forward the discussion on the critical leadership changes needed for the project to reach its next level of success. See it through to either success or failure, but don't let the discussion end without aiming for a decisive decision.
Among the funnier parts of advice Ryan gives, is the advice on getting some rest during travels:
While it's not appropriate to sleep during a presentation at an event, it's perfectly reasonable to sleep between sessions, outside on lawns, in taxis, and anywhere else you can get some shut-eye between chats. I've found using empty plastic water bottles can make exceptional pillows. Feel free to ask me for more travel advice as needed.
I'm proud to say that the JoomlaBlogger archive gnomes have managed to dig up documentation on this behaviour. The following picture shows the former OSM president performing some advanced napping technique during J and Beyond 2011:
Paul thanked Ryan for the letter on Facebook earlier today:
Thank you Ryan Ozimek for sharing some of what you've learned during your service as OSM President. Your letter reflects many aspects of your character: insightful, thorough, light hearted, helpful, generous, and inspiring. Our work will be easier because of the positive example you have set and the strong foundation you have laid.
I would like to congratulate Paul on his new and challenging role in the Joomla community. As Ryan puts it:
Sometimes it might feel lonely, but you're not alone.