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

phoebe ayers phoebe.wiki at gmail.com
Mon May 21 15:44:24 UTC 2007

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.

Indeed :) Congratulations to Vishal, and welcome. That's quite a job
description for one person, considering the size and complexity of the
Foundation. I am very glad that there is a move to hire people, even on a
short- or part- time basis, to help with budgetary and business-related data
collection and reporting, both for the community and the board -- this is an
area where we have had a real need for a long time. Those who say that it's
a shame that we don't already have good information are absolutely right --
it is, and so welcome to Vishal.

For the other areas -- partner ideas, coordinating sponsorship and revenue
generation, and brand marketing -- I sincerely hope that those in the
community who are interested in such things and have worked on them either
at present or in the past will continue to do so *with* Vishal, both helping
him understand what the current state of things are, and helping him work
with the community of involved people. It would be great if Vishal can help
ease coordination between the many people working on such business-related
activities. For instance, there are half a dozen participants who have been
working on Wikimania sponsorships for this year, and there are many other
people who have worked on them in the past -- and there's a need for a
consistent centralized list of what contacts we all have and who's done what
that we could use from year to year for each new conference. A centralized
"office" person like Vishal could really help get this going. Perhaps he
could also work, with the community's help, on aggregating old (and often
really good, but fallen by the wayside) ideas: [[m:Fundraising ideas]] and
[[m:Three-year plan]], for instance.

In general: I don't know what's been envisioned for Vishal's position, but
the right answer is certainly not to dump all the work of sponsorships or
business development onto one relatively new person; instead, we should all
let Vishal know what we've been doing and help him do a good job of
organizing, reporting and coordination. This need for reporting would hold
true no matter what our different visions of the Wikimedia "business" may
be: more data about what is happening *now* is a good thing.

To that end, I'd like to be bold and extend an invitation to Vishal on
behalf of the Wikimania team, the Special Projects Committee, and the meta
community generally: we'd love to get to know you and to share old and new
ideas about business development -- and please don't hesitate to introduce
yourself, ask questions, and ask for help.


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