[Foundation-l] Relocation announcement

Florence Devouard Anthere9 at yahoo.com
Sat Sep 22 16:46:20 UTC 2007

Andrew Gray wrote:
> On 22/09/2007, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> In making this decision, we assessed five major cities: Boston, London,
>>> If that assessment took more that say 20 seconds we have a problem.
>> Could you elaborate? Are you saying that it should be, in some way,
>> obvious that London is a bad choice? In what way is that?
> As discussed interminably on some other list this very week, British
> defamation law is voracious and enthusiastic. Having WMF operating in
> a British jurisdiction, or keeping assets there, is pretty much an
> invitation for someone to sue us in a UK court - a situation where we
> might win but we would certainly suffer.
>>>> It's home to plenty of like-minded organizations and possible partners,
>>>> top-tier universities like Stanford and UC Berkeley, world-class support
>>>> services, and major media.
>>> You want to go near the major media groups?
>> Why not? You can work with your competition to mutual benefit, you know.
> Indeed, they're not our "competition" any more so than, say, a random
> academic publisher is.
> (Incidentally, the real key to this announcement strikes me as not
> "San Francisco versus New York", but "anywhere but suburban
> Florida"...)

Right on it :-)

It is interesting to see that many of the discussions focus on a 
question of costs or on a legal question. Will moving out of Florida 
increase costs ? Without any doubts :-) But in the long run, moving out 
of Florida has become necessary to allow the Foundation to grow and 
mature. Sue already mentionned several reasons to move out, such as 
getting nearer similar-minded organizations, making international travel 
easier, major media or top universities. I have another argument to push 
along, which I think would impair our grown very soon in the future. 
People. People as in staff. We had the chance to find very good people 
in St Pete (or had the chance some staff members, such as Brion, moved 
to Florida in the past), however, we must face a fact: we are more 
likely to find the skills we need for our development in a big 
multicultural city than in St Pete, in particular for the senior 
management. St Pete is a very confortable place to live, but not exactly 
a anthill of experts in fundraising, business development, grant making, 
open source mouvement etc...

We were faced with the option to move now, or to move later (as in 6 
months - 1 year), or to stay in St Pete. We all agreed staying was 
making our development difficult. Now, Sue is planning to significantly 
expand the staff in the near future; you guys know we need more 
developers, we need a new COO, we need staff on fundraising etc...

Did it make sense to find staff now and make them move (or have to find 
new staff members) in 6 months, or to move before expanding the staff ?
Well, the expanding, then moving was likely to be much more disruptive 
for the projects AND for the life of dozen of people, than moving first 
and expanding second.


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