[Foundation-l] [announcement] new staff member in business development

A. Özgür Erdemli dbl2010 at gmail.com
Fri May 18 01:17:40 UTC 2007

Important position, and very necessary.

Rock on Vishal.


On 5/17/07, Florence Devouard <Anthere9 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> First, an announcement, then some thoughts
> We just hired Vishal Pattel as part-time business developer.
> The positions responsabilities are:
> 1)  Identify and develop market strategies
> 2)  Generate ideas and initiatives that capitalize on existing and
> prospective partner strengths
> 3)  Consistently build a pipeline of new, revenue generating opportunities
> 4)  Prepare written presentations, reports, and term sheets
> 5)  Assist in contract negotiations
> 6)  Assist with other tasks as needed(*)
> (*) to be added to any staff member job description by default :-)
> Vishal is already in the office, since he has been a part time intern
> since january 2007. We had expected to fill in this position in the
> future - not considered as urgent as the ED or legal coordinator
> positions - but it became more urgent after Danny's departure.
> I expect Vishal will both relieve other staff members from certain
> tasks, and focus all his attention on an area which was not always
> treated as a major area.
> Immediate and very specific tasks he will be in charge, amongst other
> tasks related to the position, are :
> * report on all business deals we currently are in (who, what, when, how
> much).
> * analyze the price asked for certain services and implement an increase
> if suitable
> * coordinate sponsorship for Wikimania
> * follow up on brand marketing proposal
> * be the general contact person for all the various (and sometimes
> really amazing) business deals proposed to the Foundation
> --------
> Business... is not a simple matter.
> I realized recently that the message we were consistently giving to the
> press was that we basically got all of our revenue from donations.
> But...first of all, are we sure it is true ?
> Do you know how much of our revenue comes from donations, how much comes
> from grants, how much comes from services, how much come from cafepress,
> how much come from pure brand business ?
> I know the figures from last year, though financial statements did not
> make the difference between services and brand marketing for example.
> The values were very low anyway. I have some estimates of some values
> for the current year. But I do not have clear precise data month by
> month. And I know the data is changing very rapidly. I do not think it
> is something like 99% donations, 1% the rest of the revenue.
> -------
> Second, regardless of how much we get from various sources, it make
> sense to know which message we want to get out. Do we want our public to
> hear only (or mostly) that we manage thanks to their donations ? Or do
> we also want potential business partners to hear that they can also make
> business with us ?
> If we want the second, we must not only have a proper frame to do
> business (such as a nicely working cafe press, or a good wap service),
> but also make it known that we want to do so. As with an information kit
> different from the press kit.
> -------
> Third, it makes sense to exactly know which type of business we want (or
> we can) to get into.
> In terms in revenue, aside from the regular donations and grants, here
> is what we can get right now
> * income from sales from cafe press. This revenue is partly business,
> partly promotion. We do not run the cafepress exclusively to earn money,
> but also because it is pretty cool to have a wikimedia mug or a
> wikipedia tee-shirt.
> * data services: afaik, currently, datafeed for website and a wap
> service (extremely basic...). Arguably, this is pure business, or a mix
> of business/distribution
> * brand with content distribution deal: we do not want to directly
> distribute offline versions of our content, and even less to make people
> pay for that. Legally risky. But we are happy others are doing, and when
> they run a business on this, we make a deal for brand use. Example,
> production of a DVD with Wikipedia content on it; in such case, we
> collect a small fee corresponding to the use of the logo on the DVD
> jacket. In such case, it is not only a business deal. It is business,
> but it is also part of our mission as it allows content to further
> disseminate.
> * pure brand deals: very few were done till now; That might be typically
> the Cisco deal, where a video used our logo and some money was
> collected. At a much larger scale, we could envision larger impact, with
> toys, computer equipment, etc... this is just to get money.
> * I mention advertisement. It is pure business. We do not do it, but it
> is mentionned regularly, and I think that for the sake of it, we should
> consider one day having a study done to see how much it would bring in,
> and how much negative impact it would have (not only on community mood,
>   but also probably in donations decrease).
> * on-site services, to improve the user experience. We might imagine a
> system of print-on-demand on the website itself, with a fee per
> printed/shipped book. Right now, there are few, if not no services of
> this type.
> * arguably, I will mention here sponsorship. Because sponsorship is
> largely an exchange of money with promotion of a third party.
> I expect there are other ways to make business and to collect some cash.
> Which ones would you suggest ?
> Each of these systems has advantage and drawbacks. I above mentionned
> the advertisement system, but there are others which might be
> controversial. For example, if we have wikipedia logo printed on a game
> of trivial pursuit, will you be happy, or not ? If Microsoft is
> Wikimania sponsor, will you be happy, or not ?
> Community can very largely provide input here.
> -------
> fourth, legal frame.
> Are they deals we can not make practically or reasonably ? Or deals we
> simply should not go into ? Or deals we should not get into above a
> certain figure of income for tax reasons ?
> If we sell the right to use the brand, can we defend it is a brand and
> it is ours at the place where we want to make the deal ? (ie, were the
> tms secured ? )
> All questions difficult right now with no legal counsel though.
> -------
> Fifth, much mentionned in the past few days. Brand precisely. Public
> perception of a brand. Whether to unify our brand or not. Whether to try
> to go toward a more unified appearance accross all websites, or not.
> Of course, we can get counselling from professionals on this, but
> community input will be unvaluable.
> -------
> The revenue we right now get from business is largely inferior to what
> we could get, and I expect it will grow much larger in the coming year.
> But before it really become so, we have significant challenges in front
>   of us. I hope that Vishal will become an important piece of that
> challenge and invite him to involve the community to deal with all this.
> Ant
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