With a tweet and a blog post, just three weeks ago the world was introduced to the Board of Directors of the Magento Association. Many of you congratulated the new Board and shared kind words, but a common question has been “Wait, what’s a Magento Association and what is this new Board up to?”.
Thanks to the efforts of the Founding Task Force, the Magento Association is a non-profit (a 501(c)(6), if you’re wondering) entity incorporated in the state of Illinois. We have a mission, vision and culture statement and we have corporate bylaws. The Task Force even built out a series of guiding principles and a proposed strategic plan for meeting those principles, which the Board will be reviewing and discussing shortly.
While all of these things have paved the way to allow us to get to work on the Association’s business as quickly as possible, we are in the initial stages of laying down the groundwork, once this is complete we will be full force moving forward. For instance, just this week the Board named Hilda Fontana our Treasurer, Kuba Zwolinski our Vice-Chair and myself as Chair as one of our first steps in completing this startup work ahead of us. Until that groundwork is completed, it’s challenging to communicate with the speed that we all have come to expect in the Magento community, so in the meantime, here’s a high-level overview of what the next few months look like and how each of you can get involved (and why you might want to).
The vision of the Association is “An open, healthy and powerful Magento ecosystem for continued success of future generations”, so our actions both in the short-term and the long-term will always tie back to that. If you’re curious how an association could support a vision like this, take a look at other associations in the software sector and the work that they do. Over time, we will be building out much of what these other associations currently provide for their communities, and the services they provide. For instance, we will be taking on the role of ‘central hub’ for all Meet Magento event organizers as a replacement for the Meet Magento Association.
Currently, we’re a team of 8 community volunteers officially backed by 2 Magento employees (with quite a few others behind them helping out) and the services of SmithBucklin. To meet our goals, we’re going to need quite a bit of help, which is why one of the most important things we’ll be doing in the near future is recruiting volunteers. To be successful, we need 50 to 100 dedicated volunteers from the Magento ecosystem to join our cause on an initial set of committees. We will be announcing a number of committees focused on areas such as events, education, diversity, advocacy and partnerships and looking for volunteers to help complete the activities of those committees.
In addition to the committees, we will be inviting the community to formally join the Magento Association. Magento Association is a membership-led community that will vote on its Board Directors. Once seated, Board Directors guide the association within our not-for-profit governance structure (State of Illinois law as well as the bylaws, charters and strategic plans of the Magento Association). This governance includes Board Director term limits, which ensures membership continually reviews plans, progress, and leadership.
We ask for your patience during this time - the Magento Association is very much an early stage startup. We have the equivalent of seed funding and resources - the next few months of planning are critical to ensure our long-term success. We will be spending the next couple of months getting our initial Board of Directors up to speed. After that, we will need to closely guide and monitor our go to market programming to ensure we’re using our limited resources properly. During this transition and ramp-up, Magento, an Adobe company, has been continuing to support the existing Meet Magento events to ensure they are successful until the Magento Association is fully ready to assist those events and their organizers. Your patience and support will give us the time and space we need to develop an Association and surrounding events and resources for the ecosystem that will endure for many years to come.
We will also be seeking corporate partners. Magento, an Adobe Company, has paid for the services of SmithBucklin in the incorporation and startup of the Association, however, as a non-profit independent of Magento, the goal of the Association is to fund the activities we engage in towards meeting our vision through a sustainable level of revenue sourced from a number of different companies and not just one or two partners. We seek win-win relationships with our corporate partners, but we are also very aware that having any one company provide a majority of our backing is not ideal.
As for why you should get involved - the Association is by the Magento ecosystem, for the Magento ecosystem. Our plan is to provide value in a way that helps the Magento community to continue to grow - both in numbers and in individual skills, abilities and empowerment. This benefits everyone in the Magento ecosystem - merchants win when there are more Magento skilled developers and solution specialists. Freelancers win when demand for Magento qualified individuals continues to grow. Agencies, extension authors and technology partners win as their employees learn new skills and demand for their products and services increases. We all win through the open, continuous sharing of ideas, education and experiences amongst the entire Magento ecosystem, especially when that sharing is nurtured and coordinated by an organization with no profit motive.
We are here to serve the Magento ecosystem by creating an Association that will endure for years to come as a central coordinating point for anyone interested in contributing to and learning from the Magento ecosystem. We welcome anyone and everyone who shares in these goals to join us in the coming weeks and months as we find our footing and begin to establish our committees and programs for 2019.