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

GerardM gerard.meijssen at gmail.com
Fri May 18 05:29:14 UTC 2007

Congratulations, Vishal you have a job that needs doing.. I hope for all our
sakes you will do a great job.

In his reply Samuel indicates that it is not clear what our needs are and,
what we would do with money generated. Let me remind him that at the last
fund raiser we were looking for 1,5 million dollars, we got just over 1
million of that. A substantial part of it was acquired because of corporate
donations. We are underfunded and understaffed as it is.

Relevant is that the Virgin deal was seen as problematic by some. In equal
measure this attitude is problematic because it prevents the funding of our
projects in the way they were budgetted in the future.

Now you want to sound confident by making a bet. Consider that you may eat
French dinners, but you are offering it to an organisation used to eating
spagetti only.


On 5/18/07, Samuel Klein <meta.sj at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Fri, 18 May 2007, Florence Devouard wrote:
> > We just hired Vishal Pattel as part-time business developer.
> Nice.  <communal welcome to Vishal>
> > 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 ?
> I don't know what "sure" means, since the public Foundation records aren't
> as transparent as they could be.  Does anyone know for sure what the
> breakdown is?
> I will say this: I would bet you a good French dinner every night for a
> week* that Wikimedia+Wikipedia could raise its entire budget for the next
> year, if the budget reasons were clear, through donations alone, simply by
> asking its community for support.
> > 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 ?
> These do not exhaust the options.  Do we want the public to hear that
> their favorite site is sustainable on the good will and voluntary
> donations of its avid readers?  That sends a very powerful message that
> "supported by your favorite companies and brand-conscious advertisers"
> does not -- not just a message about *Wikipedia* but a message about
> our collective global community that is building this tremendous body of
> knowledge.  It drives home strongly the fact that the most invaluable
> contributions to Wikipedia, millions of hours of editing time and vast
> subject expertise, are by definition donations from the community,
> > 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),
> There is no reason why we can't say "we manage thanks to public donations.
> We are also supported in part by these organizations (not because we need
> their support to survive, but because they like individual contributors
> think the projects are worth supporting)."
> > -------
> > * 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).
> A pity to put it this way.  If there is a need for more funds, please ask
> the community for them.  Until there is a specific need for funds beyond
> what the community regularly provides, why should one evaluate "how much
> [advertising] would bring in"?  To encourage debates about whether ads
> are good or bad?  Better to spend that community energy debating what
> the budget should include and how to focus collective priorities...
> > * arguably, I will mention here sponsorship. Because sponsorship is
> > largely an exchange of money with promotion of a third party.
> How about sponsorship by a hardware provider or ISP, to do away with 80%
> of the budget in one swift move?  That would be a sponsorship worth
> having, and a real in-kind service provided.
> > I expect there are other ways to make business and to collect some cash.
> > Which ones would you suggest ?
> Is this what our primary focus should be?  I would feel better about this
> if there were specific plans for specific sorts of improvement, such as
> network development, outreach, language diversification, systemic bias
> reduction, or infrastructure to reduce recurring maintenance costs.
> > -------
> > 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.
> To me, the focus should be on clarifying project goals and purpose and
> definition -- "brand" -- internally within the community before worrying
> about how they appear to the rest of the world.  Numerous exciting
> potential projects have foundered in part on a confusion as to what the
> different goals and cross-purposes of different projects is/should be.
> SJ
> * I know, this isn't a fair bet, since you may have this already; or may
> not want seven straight nights of same.  Suggest another?
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