2019 Election Campaign: Mathias Brandewinder

election
#1

Who am I

Hello there! Let me introduce myself, with a few random facts. After many years living in San Francisco, I still speak with a thick French accent. I write code for a living, primarily in F#. My main professional interest is in programs that use a bit of math to help make better decisions. When I am not in front of a computer, I might be found at the gym practicing Muay Thai, or playing Dungeons & Dragons with friends. One hill I will die on: ham & cheese croissants are an abomination.

If you want to know more random facts about me… ask me anything, either here, on Slack as @mathias, or on Twitter as @brandewinder.

Why I would like to be on the Board

To be completely transparent here, I have been debating whether or not I should run this year. I have been on the board for a few years now, and feel very honored and thankful for that. I take that duty very seriously, and, as I look back on this year, I don’t think I have been as effective as I hoped I would be, which made me wonder if it was time for me to step away.

So why am I running, then?

My vision for the F# Software Foundation goes something like this: an organization that promotes F# by making things happen that would otherwise be difficult to organize. In spite of some shortcomings, I still believe that the FSSF delivered that this year. Programs like mentorships, the Outreachy partnership, or the TryFSharp replacement (for instance), are very positive, and could not happen without the Foundation. And, while I won’t take credit for these successes, I think that my contributions have been positive, and that the board is better with me than without.

Last year I promised to represent the Community the best I can, listening to its various voices, and do my best to help it grow while keeping that Community a wonderful and special place. I also made a commitment to listening to everyone, and to keeping the FSSF open and transparent. I believe I did that, and I kept my promise to show up weekly (well, almost) on Slack for office hours, to make sure your ideas and thoughts are heard. Being on the Board is a great honor, the least I can do is make myself available to all members - and, if elected, you can expect the same from me this year.

That being said, I also think this year highlighted some issues. In my view, one problem that became apparent was how fragile some programs were, because they relied too much on individuals. What I would like to do this year is work with other Board members, and the Community at large, to address that, and figure out a way to involve more people in programs to make them more sustainable. A different way to state that goal: if I am elected this year, I intend this to be my last year on the Board, and I will focus on making sure the various programs are in a good shape to continue growing over time, regardless of who is on the Board.

Thank you for your attention :slight_smile:

5 Likes
#2

You are an awesome, inspiring community member. You have my vote!

3 Likes
#3

I have 2 questions I’m going to ask each Board candidate to begin - but first, a little background:

Historically, the programs managed by the F# Software Foundation have been managed and operated by a Board member. While it’s great to see Board members be actively involved and hands-on (something I highly encourage!), the downside to this is that sustainability of programs has suffered at times. For example, the Diversity Program has been very quiet over the last year, as none of the current Board members have “stepped up” into that role and taken it over since the previous member decided not to run in 2018. We run the risk of this again this year - Gien, who has been the core enabler of the Mentorship Program, has decided not to run for the Board this year, which will leave that program in limbo until somebody is setup to run it or a new approach is devised.

  1. Are there any programs, either existing or new that’d you’d like to see formed, where you would like to take an active role in helping coordinate or enable?
  2. Given the sustainability concern mentioned above, do you have any ideas for ways to try to keep more consistency in programs moving forward, particularly as Board members come and go?
#4

I’ll start with (2). Part of what makes the programs fragile is that a single Board member runs them. Also, focusing on operations potentially distracts Board members from other responsibilities, such as thinking together about bigger strategic plans/initiatives. I don’t know what the ideal solution is, but I think starting with having 2 board members working together on each program would help. It would reduce the load and pressure on individuals, push towards sharing knowledge and documenting processes, and make things less dependent on a single point of failure. Beyond that, I think the next Board should consider involving Community members more directly, and give volunteers a clear mandate to run the program, within clearly set boundaries. In my view, ideally, the Board is there to provide oversight, direction and guidance (figuring out what is and isn’t within the rules of non-profit organizations is not always obvious, for instance); volunteers should be able to run the program and take decisions (within clear limits), regardless of who is on the Board at that particular time. One challenge with that is figuring out logistics/permissions, with a reasonably easy and safe way to add people and give them access to the proper resources, but also cleanly leave. It’s not the most fun problem to tackle, but it needs to be done right.

As for (1), I will do my best to support new programs, but my main concern at that point is around making sure that existing programs keep going. I plan to keep working on communications (tweets, facebook, announcements…), and would like to figure out a way to make that more collaborative (it is surprisingly time consuming), and the speakers program, which I would like to develop more. I don’t think I can realistically commit to anything beyond that, but if we end up moving to a more “collaborative” model for programs, my priority then will be to help make sure the mentorship program is alive and well, and the diversity program gets re-energized. Both have proven to deliver value, and there is a blue-print on how to run them, let’s make sure they stay strong.