Calm, Focused, and Deep

As part of switching gears at work from a hectic management role back to an "individual contributor" role as a software engineer, I've read a couple of books based on recommendations from friends. First, It Doesn't Have to be Crazy at work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson (thanks Paschal!) and, second, Deep Work by Cal Newport (thanks Fred!). Below is my attempt to summarize some key points I'm taking away from these books, if only to prove to myself that I was concentrating!

Principles

Why "deep work"?

  • The ability to quickly master hard things, and to perform at an elite level in terms of qulaity and speed, will set you apart

On choosing what to work on:

  • Deliberately work on getting better at picking what to do
  • Don't simply work on things that are easiest in the moment
  • Understanding what really matters - embrace "good enough" for the less important things
  • Drucker - "There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all"

On achieving intense focus:

  • The rate that high quality work is produced is proportional to the intensity of your focus - or "Work Accomplished = Time Spent x Intensity"
  • Aim for "Rooseveltian" style "blistering intensity"
  • You can't achieve such intensity with "residue slathering interruptions" from constant context switching
  • Spend your time and attention "in large bills, not in small change"
  • Don't let your hours become fractured with "calendar tetris" (see also "Maker's schedule")
  • Careful management of your attention as the key to a happy and fulfilling life
  • "Ruthlessly culling the shallow and painstakingly cultivating the intensity of my depth"

On a cadence for your work:

  • Work on projects in iterations - go deep, then take time to decompress
  • Finish what you started, and let new ideas wait

Embrace real downtime:

  • Downtime aids insights - Unconscious Thought Theory (UTT) establishes that some decisions are best left to your unconscious mind
  • Downtime helps recharge the energy needed for deep work - Attentional Restoration Theory (ART) establishes that - like willpower - we have a limited store of "directed attention" that needs to be recharged
  • The work that would replace downtime tends to be shallow and unimportant - if you have the capacity for, say, a maximum of 4 hours per day of intense concentration, you're not going to squeeze more focused time out of downtime

On the type of co-worker you aspire to being:

  • Aim to leave a lasting positive impression on people
  • Be a good person that others can rely on and enjoy working with
  • Set an example for others to follow

On living a good life though depth:

  • Aspire to a craftsman's work ethic - finding a connection between deep work and meaning in your life, as a path to living a good life
  • Medieval quarry workers creed from The Pragmatic Programmer
  • "We who cut mere stones must always be envisioning cathedrals"
  • The best moments occur when a person's body or mind is stretched to its limit to achieve something meaningful
  • Humans are a species that flourishes in depth and wallows in shallowness

Tactics

Schedule your time:

  • Schedule large blocks of time for deep work
  • Allow the schedule to flex - the goal is not coerce your work into a rigid schedule, but rather to be thoughtful about what you are spending your time on

Work environment:

  • Work in a private office, and close the door when working deeply
  • Or, in an open office, try to set the expectation of "library rules"

Work deeply:

  • Develop your own philosophy for integrating deep work in your life - Newport describes "monastic", "bi-modal", "rhythmic", and "journalistic" styles
  • Add routines and rituals that minimize the willpower required to enter a state of unbroken concentration
  • Consider the use of "grand gestures" to help motivate you into deeper intensity of focus - I loved the story of JK Rowling finishing the last Harry Potter book in an extravagant suite in The Balmoral
  • Don't work alone, but separate the pursuit of serendipitous encounters from your efforts to think deeply
  • Try self-imposing an extremely tight deadline for some projects to force yourself into working with "blistering intensity"

The 4 disciplines of execution (4DX):

  • Focus on the wildly important - a small number of ambitious goals
  • Act on "lead measures" - new behaviours that will drive success, ultimately reflected in "lag measures"
  • Keep a compelling score card - a visualization of your progress
  • Establish a cadence of accountability - e.g. a weekly or monthly review where you examine your progress and make a plan for the coming weeks
  • Compare 4DX to OKRs to SMART goals

Embracing downtime:

  • Add a "shutdown complete" ritual to end your workday
  • Put a hard constraint on your work day - e.g. finish consistently at 5.30pm

Managing distraction, and thoughts on social media:

  • Make a daily mental practice of weaning your mind from a dependence on distraction - got a free moment? Don't pick up your phone, essentially begging it to distract you
  • Take a complete break from social media (or "distracting services", more generally) and only re-enable them as you find you need them
  • Avoid taking an "any benefit" approach to how you consider the value of these services - consider the opportunity cost, what else you could be doing instead
  • Schedule the use of these distracting services
  • Networking tools are just tools - they can be used to enhance your professional work, but you should assess their impact in terms of a small number of goals and activities in the vein of "the vital few" or the 80/20 Pareto principle

Meditate productively:

  • Try bringing your attention back again and again to a pressing problem as you are occupied physically - this requires practice
  • Avoid distractions from the problem at hand, and avoid looping on information you already know

Structure your deep thinking:

  • Identify the variables, identify the next step question, and then consolidate your gains

Set yourself a "shallow work budget":

  • What proportion of your time is acceptable to spend on "shallow work"? 20%? 50%? 80%?
  • This gives you a heuristic for saying "no" to shallow work
  • Evaluate the shallowness of your activities by how long it would take to train a bright, recent college graduate to do it
  • You should aim to reduce the amount of time spent not using your expertise

Deadlines/projects:

  • Fixed deadlines, but allow the scope to be reduced - "narrow as you go"
  • Break big projects up into smaller chunks - "scope hammer"
  • Use time budgets, not time estimates - "what's the best widget we can build in 2 weeks", not "how long will it take to build a widget?"

Instant messaging:

  • Realtime sometimes, async most of the time
  • If it's important, slow down
  • If everyone needs to see it, write it down

Become hard to reach:

  • Make people who send you email do more work
  • Avoid making it easy for people to rob big chunks of your time with little investment of their time
  • "Process-centric approach to email" - with your reply, consider what will bring the project represented by the email to a conclusion. Avoid bouncing back and forth
  • Develop the habit of accepting that small, bad things happen, for example if you don't reply to email. If you don't allow small, bad things to happen, then you won't leave room for good, big things

In Summary

Reject crazy, distracted, and shallow. Embrace calm, focused, and deep work.

Deep work is important simply because it enables you to get useful things done.

"I'll live the focused life because it's the best kind there is".

Blockchain and Climate Change

Disclaimer: Relative to my expertise in something like OpenStack, or relative to the expertise of folks who are working daily on driving advancements in the fundamentals of Blockchain and related technologies, I know next to nothing about Blockchain. However, relative to the average member of the public, I believe I have enough understanding as a technologist to help demystify the subject for other non-experts.

The context for this post is that I attended the recent Climate Innovation Summit in Dublin, which primarily focused on the challenge of financing solutions in the area of Climate Change mitigation and adaptation. To my surprise, the subject of Blockchain seemed to be the main pure technology topic that came up again and again.

Before this event, and without exploring the area too deeply, I had a suspicion that Blockchain is all too often "a solution in search of a problem". This all too common tendency of technologists makes me grumble at the best of times, but when the subject is a technology that is impenetrable to many people, and the problem space is what I believe to be an existential threat to our way of life ... I have grave reservations, to put it mildly.

Much credit goes to EIT Climate-KIC for publishing a report titled Distributed Ledger Technology for Climate Action Assessment which I will refer to heavily below. In large part, my goal here is to highlight the key points and conclusions I took away from that report.

What Problem Does Blockchain Solve?

Blockchain is designed to be an alternative to centralized systems. What does that mean? Well imagine:

  • A database with no central administrator
  • A currency with no central bank
  • A contract that is enforceable without recourse to a judiciary

and you start to get a sense of this problem space. This is quite appealing, on the face of it. A decentralized system should be more fault tolerant and attack resistant because there is no single point of failure, and it should also be more trustworthy and resistant to abuses of power because of the transparency it offers.

And then there's the idea of "social scalability", as researcher Nick Szabo is quoted in the Climate-KIC report:

Scaling human traditional institutions in a reliable and secure manner requires increasing [the number of] accountants, lawyers, regulators, and police, along with the increase in bureaucracy, risk, and stress that such institutions entail."

Solving problems without needing any more lawyers? Hurrah!

Why is Decentralization a Hard Problem?

The Climate-KIC report does a nice job of explaining the 5 components of this solution to the decentralization challenge:

  1. Cryptography - public key encryption and hashing functions allows protecting the privacy, integrity, and even the anonymity of data in the system. This is familiar technology used in secure websites with HTTPS, for example.
  2. Hash tree - this is simply a list of records whose integrity is protected by a cryptographic hash on each record which combines the hash of the previous record, a timestamp, and the transaction data. This is a well-understood concept that is used to good effect in systems like the Git Version Control System (VCS).
  3. Peer-to-peer networks - this is allows you to build resilient storage by having peers in a network replicate data to other peers. Heard of Napster and Bittorrent?
  4. Consensus mechanism - how can you authenticate and validate a transaction in a peer-to-peer network without appealing to a central authority? Take a look at the Byzantine General's Problem. It's difficult.
  5. Sybil control mechanism - how do you protect against an actor in the system generating a large number of fake identities, known as a Sybil attack. This too is hard. Bitcoin's answer is to make it prohibitively expense to abuse the system this way, with its "Proof of Work" system known as mining.

The first three components - cryptography, hash trees, and peer-to-peer networks - are well established, and it would be possible to use them to build an effective, highly-distributed database with the aid of a central authority (to e.g. decide who can be trusted to write to the database).

However, to make that database fully decentralized - especially with anonymous actors writing to the database - some really difficult challenges are introduced, and that's where the consensus and Sybil control mechanisms come in. These are much more challenging problems, and Blockchain is one relatively recent foray into this area.

Note - in the report, the "Do you need a Blockchain?" flowchart highlights the idea of a "Permissioned Blockchain" suitable for a case where all actors are known but untrusted. That does eliminate some of the difficult problems in this space, but catering for untrusted writers is where much of the complexity remains.

Note also - the report also references an excellent article called The Truth About Smart Contracts by Jimmy Song which highlights the challenge with attempting to specify and enforce the rules of a contract using (potentially buggy) computer code without allowing for appeals to a central authority to interpret the "spirit" of the contract. And also the challenges of attempting to link such decentralized contracts with the physical world.

Blockchain Inefficiency

Given the challenges that full decentralization brings, it's not surprising that Blockchain has some drawbacks. To quote some of the points that jumped out at me in the Climate-KIC report:

DLT is a highly inefficient database technology that is up to 1 million times less efficient than a centralised database, which in turn leads to much higher energy consumption and GHG emissions.

Given that we're talking about Blockchain in the context of Climate Change mitigation, that seems important to consider!

the trade-off between low energy efficiency and higher levels of decentralisation is the key question in the DLT for climate action ecosystem and needs to be addressed for each potential DLT solution

Blockchain's inefficiency and higher emissions should be weighed up against a need for decentralization.

To determine whether DLT is the right tool to solve a given problem, it should be validated that DLT is the only solution to the given problem. If DLT is not the only solution, also a more efficient centralised database can solve the problem.

In other words, you should only consider Blockchain if you've already eliminated the possibility that a centralized system could be sufficient.

A more entertaining take on whether Blockchain is a good fit for your application, from James Mickens:

How Important is Decentralization To Addressing Climate Change?

This is the key point. As Kirsten Dunlop said in her keynote at the Climate Innovation Summit:

We have 12 years to set in place profound structural change in almost every system of cause and effect in our society

Some of "Climate Action" use cases and examples for Blockchain listed in the Climate-KIC report includes:

  1. Energy - peer-to-peer energy trading
  2. Supply chain management - reduce paperwork, fraud, and errors
  3. Carbon trading - a more transparent carbon marketplace
  4. Transportation - decentralized ride sharing
  5. Open government - increased transparency and accountability in government
  6. Measurement Reporting and Verification (MRV) - more transparency in carbon tracking
  7. Finance - new ways of financing climate projects

More or less implied here is that the problems associated with centralized systems are on the critical path to effectively addressing these use cases.

The Climate-KIC report says:

While climate change is a truly global problem, it is well recognised that it requires a decentralised, multi-stakeholder, bottom-up approach to be solved

And that's hard to argue with! I'm a big proponent of bottom-up innovation guided by a unifying mission, and certainly such a huge problem space can't be tackled top-down. Mariana Mazzucato's report on Mission-oriented research & innovation in the European Union looks like an excellent framework. And when it comes to Climate Change, we are all stakeholders.

But ... does that really imply that the technology platforms we use must be decentralized? For example, a crowd-funding platform hosted by a single legal entity can still be effective, without itself being decentralized. Can a sufficiently high level of trust and transparency be achieved without fully decentralizing the platform? I believe that is often the case.

To quote the Climate-KIC report again:

DLT’s main power lies in decentralisation. It currently is unclear how the physical centralised world can be decentralised. [...] As many climate action solutions are more valuable when synchronised with the physical world, this barrier is a key barrier to overcome.

Decentralization and anonymity brings up some pretty fundamental questions about how human society is organized. And undoubtedly, tackling Climate Change effectively is going to require fundamental changes in our society. As Naomi Klein put it, This Changes Everything.

But are the problems that Blockchain claims to solve really the key problems getting in the way of effective Climate Change mitigation and adaptation efforts? Even if they are, are there other "good enough" solutions without the drawbacks of Blockchain that can be deployed more rapidly?

What I really worry about here is the danger that Climate Change will be perceived by some as a smokescreen for people pushing pre-existing agendas that aren't strictly related to the challenges posed by Climate Change. To take a more extreme example, how likely are we to mobilize the sort of action needed if people sense they are also being asked to buy into Anarchism as a political philosophy?

Conclusion

There is no doubt that Blockchain is a super interesting technology, and it has opened the door to exciting advances in some truly difficult computer science problems.

If you are motivated to explore how technology can be used to move towards a more decentralized society, by all means you should go down the Blockchain rabbit hole!

However, if you are primarily motivated to rapidly implement Climate Change mitigation and adaptation solutions in the real world, I would suggest that you can safely focus your limited resources on technologies other than Blockchain.

September 10th OpenStack Foundation Board Meeting

The OpenStack Foundation met in Denver on September 10th for a Joint Leadership Meeting involving the foundation Board of Directors, the Technical Committee, and the User Committee.

The usual disclaimer applies - this my informal recollection of the meeting. It’s not an official record.

Foundation Events Update

We began with an update from Lauren, Jonathan, and Mark on the events that have happened so far this year, the Project Teams Gathering (PTG) in Denver this week, and the coming OpenStack Summit in Sydney.

Lauren outlined some details of the recent Pike release, emphasizing the positive media coverage of the release, with the "composable infrastructure services" messaging resonating.

Jonathan talked about the many OpenStack Days events that happened over the summer, including Melbourne, Tel Aviv, Budapest, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and China. Jonathan has attended all of these, covering 13 countries since the OpenStack Summit in Boston and he spoke about the many new users and new use cases that he learned about over the course of these events. More OpenStack Days are coming this year including Benelux, UK, Italy, Turkey, Nordic, Canada, France, and Germany.

Mark spoke about the OpenDev event held the previous week in San Francisco. The goal was to bring in people who are experts in different domains, and the important and emerging use case of "Edge Computing" was chosen for this first event. The keynote from Dr Satya of Carnegie Mellon University was mentioned as one particularly inspiring contribution.

An particularly interesting conclusion from one of the sessions was a simple definition of what Edge Computing actually is:

Edge is the furthest boundary that separates application-agnostic scheduled computing workloads within the same operator's domain of control, from applications or devices that can't schedule workloads, and are outside the same operator's control.

(Thanks to Dan Sneddon for pointing this out!)

Another interesting development is the collection of edge use cases which will be published to Edge Computing mini-site on openstack.org.

The PTG was touched on next - more than 400 contributors in attendance from 35 project teams, with the first two days focused on the strategic goals of simplification, adjacent technologies, onboarding new contributors, etc.

Jonathan also talked about the coming OpenStack Summit in Sydney. We are aiming for 2500+ attendees, and the amazing work by the program committee to work the 1100 speaking submissions into an awesome three day schedule has been completed. There will be Hackathon focused on Cloud Applications the weekend before the event.

Finally, we looked forward to the OpenStack Summits in Vancouver in May, and Berlin the following November.

The Strategic Focus Areas

Back in March, at the Strategic Planning Workshop in Boston, we developed a set of 5 strategic focus areas and formed working groups around each of these. For each of those focus areas, the working group presented their findings and progress, followed by some discussion.

Better communicate about OpenStack

Thierry Carrez and Lauren Sell lead the discussion of this topic with a set of slides.

We began by discussing progresson developing a map of OpenStack deliverables. The idea is for the map to make it easy for users of the software to make sense of what OpenStack has to offer, and one key part of this mapping effort is to categorize deliverables into buckets:

  • openstack-user: Things an end user installs to consume the IaaS stack
  • openstack-iaas: Primary compute, storage & networking services
  • openstack-operations: Things an operator uses to manage an openstack cloud once installed
  • openstack-lifecyclemanagement: Things that help deploy/upgrade OpenStack or standalone components
  • openstack-adjacentenablers: Things that other infrastructure stacks can use to leverage individual OpenStack components

Some of the outstanding questions include how to represent projects which are coming down the line, where various types of plugins should live, and whether Glance is tied to Compute or should be represented as a Shared Service.

After the meeting, Lauren sent out a request for everyone to contribute their feedback on the draft of the map. Please do join in!

Next, we discussed at some length how OpenStack has been affected by "Big Tent" concept where we welcome collaboration, experimentation, and innovation on "infrastructure things" beyond the core OpenStack technology. We've know that users have found it difficult to make sense of the breadth of project teams, and we have created further confusion around "what is OpenStack".

Our discussion on this revolved around the idea of separating the technologies directly related to the deliverables map above (which we could call "OpenStack IaaS and friends"), the "software forge" infrastructure project, and the free-for-all project hosting area previously known as Stackforge. There was broad consensus that we should give each of those its own identity, which is particularly exciting when you think of the potential for "Infra" to have an identity that isn't so closely tied with OpenStack. We also discussed the potential to extend this model to other projects in the future, but also our desire to not become a "Foundation of Foundations" or a collection of entirely unrelated projects.

Requirements: Close the feedback loop

Melvin Hillsman and Thierry Carrez talked us through the unanswered requirements strategic focus area.

The focus of this discussion was on the creation of OpenStack Special Interest Groups (SIGs) as a mechanism to have cross-community collaboration on a given topic, without the work being under the umbrella of any one governance body.

The SIGs created so far are:

  • a Meta SIG to discuss how to improve SIG processes
  • an API SIG, which is an evolution of the API Working Group already formed, and
  • a still-forming Ansible SIG, with the goal of facilitating collaboration between Ansible and OpenStack projects.

Community Health

On this topic, Steve Dake talked us through some efforts to help grow the next generation of leaders in the OpenStack community, supporting people who wish to become a core contributor or PTL. Steve particularly highlighted efforts along these lines within the Kolla project.

Increase complementary with adjacent technologies

Steve Dake again took the lead on presenting this topic, focusing on success stories of collaboration between OpenStack and other communities - Ansible and Helm, in particular.

For Ansible, it was observed that OpenStack has built upon Ansible's highly reusable technology in many ways, and OpenStack members have contributed significantly to the Ansible modules for OpenStack based on Shade. The conclusion was that the success was down to (a) building releationships between the communities, (b) leadership endorsement, and (c) the simplified collaboration process adopted by Ansible.

For Helm, the collaboration has been focused in areas where Helm is being used to deploy OpenStack services on Kubernetes.

Finally, Dims gave a read-out on collaboration on OpenStack within the Kubernetes community, mostly with work in the OpenStack SIG focused on the OpenStack cloud provider.

Technology changes: Simplify OpenStack

For our final strategic focus area, Mike Perez gave an update on progress. He described projects which have recently been retired, the OpenStack manuals project migration, and the status of a number of projects who are seeing low levels of contribution activity.

Clarifying and communicating where help is needed

Next up, Thierry walked us through the TC's mechanism for exposing areas where help is needed in the community. We talked through this "top 5 help wanted list" and had a good discussion on the two items currently on the list - Documentation and Glance.

Interoperability Working Group

As our final topic, Egle Sigler gave an update from Interoperability Working Group.

The first item of business was to approve the 2017.09 guideline. Both the compute and object components gained some new capabilities in this update.

As discussed in the previous meeting, the working group proposed the creation of "add-on" programs which would focus on interoperability between different implementations of a given service, without having to add that service as a requirement in the core OpenStack Powered programs. As a starting point, it was proposed to create advisory add-ons for DNS (Designate) and Orchestration (Heat). After some discussions on the implications of these additions, they were formally approved by the board.

Next Meeting

The board's next meeting is a 2 hour conference call on Tuesday, October 10. Our next in-person meeting will be in Sydney on Sunday, November 5.

June 20th OpenStack Foundation Board Meeting

The OpenStack Foundation Board of Directors met for a two hour conference call on Tuesday. The usual disclaimer applies - this my informal recollection of the meeting. It’s not an official record. Jonathan Bryce has posted an official summary of the meeting.

Interoperability Working Group Update

After the usual formalities of a roll call and approving the previous meeting minutes, the board heard from Egle Sigler, Mark Voelker, and Chris Hoge of the Interoperability Working Group.

The topics of the discussion are laid out in the working group's board report with Egle covering the upcoming 2017.08 guideline, Mark covering the proposal for extension programs, and Chris covering version 2.0 of the interop schema.

The extension programs proposal resulted in the most discussion. Mark described how the proposal explains how the OpenStack Powered trademark programs work today, the history of those programs, and how the additional programs would work.

The first type of program is a "vertical" program - examples given include "OpenStack Powered for NFV" or "OpenStack Powered for Containers". These would add requirements for additional capabilities specific to these use cases, provided those capabilities are already widely deployed in the context of those use cases.

The second type of program is an "add-on" program - for example, "OpenStack Powered DNS". This would require capabilities specific to that service, and ensure interoperability between implementations of a given service. It is anticipated that individual project teams would be responsible for definining the interop requirements.

Anni asked how these programs would relate to the idea of "constellations" as a way of describing OpenStack components, but the working group didn't see any immediate overlap with that idea.

I raised a concern that if obscure projects are free to define add-on programs of their own, it could dilute the value of the OpenStack Powered programs overall. However, it was clarified that, while the individual project teams could define interop requirements, each individual new program would require board approval.

Anni also raised a concern that vertical programs should not be exclusive - i.e. it should be possible for a single product to qualify for all vertical programs at once, so these programs need to not have conflicting requirements. The working group agreed with this, and explained that they had already taken this feedback into account.

Finally, the working group explained that their goal is for the board to approve this framework at our Fall meeting.

Membership Changes

The last topic for the board to consider was some membership changes and applications. Put simply, Canonical wished to move from being a Platinum member to being a Gold member, and Ericsson wished to apply for Canonical's Platinum member slot.

Chris Price presented Ericsson's case for Platinum membership. Interestingly, this was the second time that Ericsson had applied for Platinum membership in the past year. The previous time, at the March 9 board meeting, Ericsson and Huawei applied for the slot left vacant by HPE. Huawei was successful with their application that time around.

Chris explained Ericsson's vision for OpenStack, and how they plan to continue developing and driving forward the OpenStack ecosystem. He also explained Ericsson's role in working with adjacent communities like OpenDaylight and OPNFV, as well as their role in related standard's bodies.

Next up, Mark Baker described how Canonical felt that with several "industry giants" looking to take up Platinum membership, that the right thing for a smaller entity like Canonical to do from a community perspective, was to take a step back and allow others with greater resources to take their Platinum member slot. However, he also emphasized how OpenStack remains at the core of Canonical's business.

After some brief questions, the board went into executive session and, on return, both applications were approved.

Next Meeting

The board's next meeting is a 2 hour conference call on Tuesday, August 22. Our next in-person meeting will be in Denver on Sunday, September 10.

March 9, 2017 OpenStack Foundation Board Meeting

The OpenStack Foundation Board of Directors met in-person for two days in Boston last week.

The first day was a strategic planning workshop and the second day was a regular board meeting.

Executive Director Update

After a roll call and approving the minutes of the previous meeting, Jonathan gave a presentation outlining his perspective on where OpenStack is at.

He talked about perception challenges that the Foundation is working to address, emphasizing the messages of "costs less, does more" and "all apps need Open Infrastructure".

He described how the Foundation has been iterating on a "pitch deck" and had completed twenty or so interviews with journalists where they presented this deck in a concerted effort to "change the narrative". This begins by talking about some recent industry trends, including a slowdown in the rate of public cloud growth and the coverage of Snap's significant spending on public cloud services compared to their revenues.

It goes on to compare "Gen 1" and "Gen 2" private clouds, with the challenges moving from technology and people to culture and processes. The advantage of a multi-cloud strategy, with sophisticated workload placement was discussed as well as some detailed information backing up the claim that companies are achieving cost savings with OpenStack.

Jonathan described how this presentation had been very well received, and had resulted in some very positive coverage.

Jonathan briefly touched on key improvements in Ocata and information about the profile of our contributors. This resulted in some debate about the value of "vanity metrics" and there was general agreement that while there continues to be demand for this information, we we should all be cautious in over-emphasizing it.

Finally, Jonathan reflected on feedback from the Project Team Gathering in Atlanta. Attendance was strong and attendees reported feeling less distractions and a greater ability to have important discussions because of the smaller venue and attendee count. While it was mostly seen as a great success, there are areas for improvement including the approach to choosing hotels and committing to hotel room bookings, how scheduling is organized, the size of some rooms, etc. Jonathan mentioned the success of the Forum and the OpenStack Summit in Boston will be key.

User Committee and Compensation Committee

The board spent a fairly short time discussing two matters from its committees.

Firstly, a proposal from the User Committee Product Working Group for facilitating the organization of the schedule for The Forum in Boston was well received, but since the board encouraged all interested parties to work with the Foundation staff who are coordinating the planning, particularly Tom Fifield and Thierry Carrez.

Secondly, the board approved Jonathan's goals for 2017, which had been prepared by the Compensation Committee and sent to board members earlier for review. The board only sets Jonathan's goals, and empower him to set the goals for the rest of the staff. Related to Jonathan's goals, the board also had some discussion later around documenting the goals of the board itself.

Membership Applications

Significant time during the day was given over to considering some corporate membership applications.

With HPE resigning its Platinum membership, we had invited applications to take over its slot and received applications from Ericsson and Huawei. Both companies had previously applied in November, 2014 at the OpenStack Summit in Paris to replace Nebula as Platinum member, but Intel had been successful that time.

Anni Lai presented for Huawei and Chris Price presented for Ericsson. Both described their employer's vision for OpenStack, and their wide range of contributions to date. Both also talked about their position in the market, their key customers, and how they are growing the OpenStack ecosystem. The presentations were well received and, after an executive session, the board voted to approve Huawei as a Platinum member. The board expressed their gratitude for Ericsson's interest and preparation, observing that having multiple companies interested in Platinum membership opportunities is a sign of the strength of our community.

Representatives from H3C also presented their application for Gold membership. H3C is a prominent IT vendor in China's enterprise IT market, distributes an OpenStack based cloud product, has several very large reference customers, and is establishing itself as a technical contributor to the project. After executive session, the board voted to approve H3C as a Gold member.

Wrapping Up

One piece of good news wasn't public during the meeting, but has since been announced by Jonathan:

The Board also approved the promotion of Thierry Carrez to VP of Engineering for the OpenStack Foundation. Thierry has been a leader in the technical community since the beginning of OpenStack and has also built a team within the Foundation focused on upstream collaboration.

I think it's safe to say the board were warmly supportive of this change, wished Thierry every success in this new role, and looked forward to working more closely with Thierry than ever before.

And, with that, the board dispersed feeling pretty fried after an intense couple of days of discussions!