I'd like to announce my candidacy, as of today, for the position of President of The Perl Foundation.
As President, my first task will be institute the creation of a member registration system for Perl developers. While NOT a formal skill-based certification, this membership will allow you to do the following.
1. Support Perl and The Perl Foundation via your annual membership fees. Membership will be set at the following approximate levels (in US dollars)
$50 per year - Registered Perl Student Developer
$99 per year - Registered Perl Developer
$249 per year - Registered Perl Professional
$1990 per year - Registered Perl Partner (company registration)
$9900 per year - Corporate Perl Partner (company registration)
2. Entitle you to place your registration on your CV and website, and entitle you to the use of the Perl Foundation Membership Logo for your membership level, customised with your membership number.
3. Entitle you to an amount, equivalent to your registration fee, for use at your option in The Perl Foundation Ideas Market, a market-based system for harvesting ideas and voting for them based on merit.
Any registered member will be allowed to add an idea to the market. The allocation based on registration amount is in recognition (in particular for the two company levels) of the importance of businesses in the creation of more and better jobs for Perl programmers.
This market will help you to help me guide the development and direction of the TPF itself, and although the TPF will not be bound by the market we will use the market as the basis for areas we should be focusing on.
4. Entitle you a copy (or 10 for companies) of an exclusive Best of YAPC DVD. This DVD will contain a high-quality edited collection of the best and funniest YAPC talks for that year, recorded live at YAPC conferences around the world, and will ONLY be available to registered members.
5. From year 2007, membership will allow you to vote (1 vote per individual, 5 per company) for your favourite from a nominated group of candidates in the annual White Camel Awards.
And from year 2008, membership will allow you to vote in the first annual elections for members of the TPF board of directors.
6. Registered Perl Partners will additionally recieve 2 free tickets (and Corporate Perl Partners 10 free tickets) to any YAPC event for that year in any of the countries in which it is held, to be allocated to your developers as you wish.
The funds raised from the membership program will help in our ongoing efforts to fund exciting new projects via the grants committee, and to support a variety of efforts worldwide.
The creation of this membership system will be the focus my year as TPF President, in the hope that we can harness the world wide attention and enthusiasm of the Perl development community.
Thankyou and I hope I can look forward to your vote in 2006!
Now of course, this is an entirely fictional scenario, and I'm _not_ actually putting up my hand for the TPF President role (not this year at least) but it does contain some things I would like to see happen.
I think it's clear that people want some form of official badge as a "serious" Perl developer, even if this isn't a certification-based system.
I think it's clear we need some way for both people and businesses to contribute to the TPF regularly, WITHOUT requiring the TPF to grab your attention year after year. If people are already happy to help you out, why should we make them have to think and decide the next year.
And I think by having people willing to put their money where their mouth is as a Perl developer, we can have a trusted pool of people and companies that can then be drawn from for guidance on what the direction and focus of Perl should be, and give a way for companies that are the ones CREATING the Perl jobs to help provide some leadership on what THEY need to help create even more Perl jobs.
The ideas market is a bit more adventurous, but would mean we can get DIRECT feedback on a day to day basis from the members, and it means that over time people supporting the best and most successful ideas will have an increased influence over the next ideas. A kind of democratic meritocracy, if you will.
It will let people volunteering for the big ideas to get some limelight, while identifying the areas which are important but nobody wants to do, thus pointing out good places for strategic grants, or where a company might find it worth sponsoring a paid developer for a month or two to fix.
But the TPF is a relatively closed organisation, driven by volunteers and merit there is no doubt, but still to some degree by invitation only it would seem.
The leadership would seem to have a strong American focus (and some would say Oregon focus), understandable given it's history certainly, but nonetheless concerning for those of us outside of "the Cabal", who feel we have little chance of participation.
Things happen that might not in a more open organisation.
The previous holder of the Public Relations position was not even aware he held the post for much of his term, and while Allison grew into a much more active and visible President than when she first started, the same cannot be said for our new President, Bill Odom.
Now because I managed to make it to Oregon for the first time last year, I had a chance to meet Bill, and he's a nice guy and quite approachable.
But he has ZERO public presence, and I felt a bit odd at the time in that he was a guy that everyone from Oregon/US seemed to know, but that I'd never even heard of.
He has almost no website, he's released one CPAN module, Win32::ASP, but outside of that I know pretty much nothing, and I'd never even heard of him before I met him. I've never seen him on a mailing list, or IRC, or anywhere for that matter.
And I'm sure, like I would have been if this were the situation last year, there's a lot of people asking "Who the bloody hell is Bill Odom?".
Bill, mate, you are the President, the public face of The Perl Foundation. But not only can't we see your face, nobody that hasn't met you has any idea who you are. No introduction speech, no journal entries, no commentary, nothing.
Just "Bill Odom has been appointed as President", and since then silence for 3 months now. A quarter of your first term is over and you haven't even introduced yourself.
You seem like a great guy, but if there's no way for us to vote and do anything about who the President is, then the people in the worldwide Perl Community that don't know who you are deserve a little better than silence from their appointed leader.
Is that much to ask Bill?