ICANN Board of Directors and my decision to run for it

In the last seven months many people have asked me if I will be running again for the ICANN Board. Many have come to me and have asked me to run.
Today, that the term for nominations to the ICANN Board is over, I can publish mu response to these questions.

I am not running again for the Board of Directors of ICANN. I didn’t submit any documents to the NomCom.

I’ve served three years, and I think I’ve paid my duty to the community.

ICANN Directors spend usually half of their time serving on the Board. I believe that one term is enough, and if one wants to have a career, the ICANN Board is very demanding in terms of time, and makes it difficult to follow different projects. Additionally, ICANN Directors are not paid, but in return they get blamed for what they do (or don’t do). ICANN Directors have to spend more time than the ICANN community participating at the ICANN meetings. Today, on average, directors spend 10 days per meeting, and there are three such meetings per year. ICANN Directors can hardly find time to see the places the meetings are happening. In Marrakech, I managed to go twice for dinner outside of the hotel, and one hour at noon time to the suk. In Wellington I didn’t have time to do any kind of site-seeing.
I am mentioning these two places, but it has been the same everywhere. And I say it, because I hear all the time, “Yeah… You spend a lot of time, but you see all these wonderful places…” See them? I don’t think so.

I also believe I could contribute to the development of the Internet in general, and to ICANN in particular, in many different ways, and it’s not a “conditio sine qua non” to be on the Board if one wants to contribute. In fact, if one is not on the Board, he or she can do perhaps even more. Being on the Board has some serious restrictions. And if you don’t trust me on that, talk to some lawyer from California 🙂

It is an honor to serve on the ICANN Board, and I’ve accepted it as an honor and a serious obligation three years ago.

I’ve met great people there, exceptional by many standards, and true leaders in their countries. I’ve managed to speak several languages with them, which made my life easier.

Regardless of my decision, I encourage people to run for the Board!

Here’s why:

a) There are great people on this board! It brings a lot of experience to work there. You will for sure learn a lot.
b) Several of the former Directors will suggest constructive ways to change the Board work, so that the Board can attract people who are employed, rather than self-employed, university professors or retired people, who seem to be the ideal candidates at the current time consumption. But in order to do that, there’s a need to change the time the Board spends on e-mails, mailing lists, meetings, retreats, conferences, workshops, etc. So, I hope we’ll produce such a paper, and submit it to the Board in time for any changes to happen before 2007 elections and nominations.
c) The Internet needs a well-working and operating ICANN, with big international involvement, and covering developing countries. If you are coming from one, do not hesitate – start learning about ICANN, and join the community. Most of the people you will meet there are well established business people, and you will not be sorry to know this whole new industry.
d) There’s a need of more – and new – people on the Board. If you want to change the way the Internet is being developed, join the Board, and make it happen.

I managed to do some positive things for my own country, while I was there – including changing the legislature in a very, very positive for the Internet way. Bulgaria has not licenses on ISPs, and Internet domains and IP addresses are outside of the control of the national regulatory – by law. The number of Internet users have increased from 78,000 to 2,100,000 for just 7 years! Broadband in Bulgaria – yes, but 100 Mbps, not the DSL 2-4 Mbps.

Many of these changes in Bulgaria happened because of the contacts I’ve made at the ICANN Board level. I will remember all my colleagues as really great people. My deepest respect, thanks, and congratulations to all of you!

Note 1: In fact I told that I am not running to several people, Rosa Delgado, former ISOC Trustee among them. She couldn’t believe it, when she heard it in Marrakech, and she asked someone to come and witness what I am saying. People who are not on the Board, and see only the outside cover, may think I must be crazy not to run again.
Note 2: I wish also that one day the people who are most vocally critical of ICANN, join the Board one day. This will let me go and criticize them, without constructively proposing solutions to the problem. I think it will be fun:)
Note 3: At a certain point I was thinking to run, and have easily found people to write me recommendations, but then I thought again, made my calculations for the time I’ve spent, and decided to pass this time.
Note 4: This is not farewell to the ICANN community – for you I will post in December 😉
A note to my colleagues: if you start missing my jokes, you can always invite me for a day at your next meetings.

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