2022 Election Campaign: Abel Braaksma

Who am I

My name is Abel Braaksma. I work with Gus and a few dozen other F# engineers at a Florida based insurance company where we re-invent the way car and truck insurance is done by applying different rates depending on whether you are driving, parking or using your car or truck privately or professionally.

I’ve been involved with F# for over a decade, using it professionally since the early 2010’s and was hooked since the very beginning. You can find me daily on F# Slack and the F# GitHub repo where I try to guide others and share my enthusiasm for F# and help move the compiler and the FSSF forward.

Apart from programming, I love sailing and playing the piano, gardening and enjoying the occasional tennis tournament with my friends. I’m interested in philosophy, astronomy and quantum mechanics.

Why I want to run for the board

We are a group of community members all running together on the same platform, with the same message and the same goals. This group consists of Gus, Michal, Abel and Janne who are running for a position on the board of trustees, and other community members that stand behind us to achieve the goals as described here.

The FSSF is not in a great state. In recent years, we have observed that the output of the board of trustees was relatively limited. The elected members, who are all volunteers, burned out or lost motivation over time, which lead to a high churn rate within the board and many people staying for only one term. It has become clear that the Foundation needs to change somehow going forward.

The first option on the table is an extreme one: shutting down the FSSF. After all, hasn’t it reached its initial goal of creating a self-sustaining community around the F# language? In a sense this is true, the FSSF has been successful in reaching this goal and a lot of its initial core members have moved on.

Our proposal is different: while we acknowledge that the FSSF might no longer be indispensable to the F# community, we think losing the foundation and its unique positioning in the F# ecosystem would be a huge loss nonetheless. One root cause of the problems plaguing the FSSF is an unclear and too broad mission, which leads to a lack of focus and dissatisfaction with the Foundation’s output. New board members usually don’t really know what they are getting into and people often have very different ideas about what the FSSF should or shouldn’t do.

It is in this context that we came together. We want to give the FSSF a new direction, one with a laser focus on educational initiatives. We want to give the FSSF a new mission: The F# Software Foundation aims to provide an excellent onboarding experience for F# developers.

We plan to continue one of the FSSF’s most important initiatives in the mentorship program, as well as to launch F# by Example, an idea originated by the current board. Additionally, we will get started with an interactive learning project using Jupyter Notebooks.

It is our aim to not only revive the FSSF with this new direction but also to bring stability back. More effort will go to involve the community and make it easy for community members, individuals and companies alike, to contribute to our educational programs. Additionally, funds may be used to directly develop educational content.

The new iteration of the F# Software Foundation will close the gap that many newcomers to our community experience by providing easy to access learning materials. Materials that can be used to introduce your friends, colleagues and employees to the language. Initially, our focus will be on material for beginners, eventually, and with the help of the community, we will deliver educational material for all levels of proficiency and across multiple domains.