[Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

Fae faewik at gmail.com
Mon Mar 18 09:39:49 UTC 2013

On 18 March 2013 09:03, Dariusz Jemielniak <darekj at alk.edu.pl> wrote:
> hi Fae,
> I share your commitment to avoiding a bureaucratic monster. However, I have
> to practically point out, that in our case any vision and strategy of a
> long time horizon is a grave mistake. We can't predict technologies and
> Internet trends 10 years in the future, so even vision creation beyond this
> point is a dangerously blinding and binding exercise. Strategy creation and
> its time horizon have to be based on the stability of the environment. The
> only business I know of that relies on something close to 100 years of time
> horizon for strategy is forestry. We, on the other hand, are in the
> Internet business, and going beyond 5 years in terms of strategic plans,
> and beyond 10 years in terms of long-term powerful visions is more likely
> to lull us to sleep, rather than help.

The "sum of human knowledge" is not about internet technology of the
moment, or limited to the next 5 years.

If the WMF and the leading figures in our movement cannot produce a
vision or even a highest possible level strategy for 100 years, then
the case for having a billion dollar endowment looks exceedingly weak
and probably idle dreaming. There is no sensible case for an endowment
fund that only imagines the next couple of years - that is in fact why
we talk about reserve funds that cover that period and short term
risks that might arise.

If I am looking to leave a million dollars in my will to benefit human
knowledge, I would want the comfort of knowing the organization that
will use my money will exist *long* after my death, it will not
"repurpose" funds in unexpected ways, or waste it on an empire
building bureaucracy that has the natural priority of paying benefits
to careerist senior management types involved in operations.

faewik at gmail.com http://j.mp/faewm

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