January Sakai Board Meeting

First, my apologies to anyone who has been trying to reach me over the past few days. I’ve come down with a nice bout of the flu and have been pretty much avoiding contact, including electronic contact, with other living things…but I’m (mostly) back in business now.

In any case we had our first Sakai Board of Directors Meeting on January 10th. The main order of business was the approval of the 2008 budget. If you’ve seen my Sakai Foundation Update presentation from Newport Beach, you’ll know that I set out some 2008 budget priorities, including:

  • Reducing conference expenses significantly
  • Increasing spending on product development (especially UX and QA)
  • Executing on the UX initiative and supporting Fluid work
  • Re-energizing the Sakai Fellows program

I’m pleased to let you know that the budget I presented was approved. Instead of providing lots of details, I thought I’d try to capture things with two graphs. First, a breakdown of actual spending in 2007:

2007 Sakai Spending Pie Chart

There are so many questions that could be asked about how various expenses were allocated, but in an effort to keep this brief and not completely boring, I’m hoping I can get away with a couple of quick explanations:

  • This is primarily a “functional” analysis of spending, based on the activity the money went towards rather than the type of thing it was spent on. So my plane flight to Educause comes under “Industry Events” while my plane flight to Newport Beach comes under “Conferences.” The big exception to this is staff salaries, which we didn’t allocate across functional categories.
  • The “PC & CL” category is Project Coordination and Community Liason–essentially Peter Knoop and Anthony Whyte’s activities.
  • Product Dev is anything spent on producing the released software, including UX and QA.
  • The “net” by Conference means that I’ve included the revenues that we generate from conferences.

And now the 2008 Budget, broken into basically the same categories:

2008 Sakai Budget Pie

Now there’s lots to say about this, but I want to call out three important items:

  • There’s a big increase in Product Development. This is mainly an increase in spending on QA (look for more info on this in the coming weeks) and the UX Initiative, as well as some money set aside to fund development work we may want to tackle. While this looks impressive, one grain of salt here is that your new Executive Director (me) doesn’t write as much code as your previous one did. And you wouldn’t want me to start (think of the impact on QA).
  • Conference spending is significantly decreased. This is mainly because we’ll only be having one big community conference in 2008.
  • Marketing is increased. I’m not sure exactly what we’ll do with the extra marketing budget at this point, but I’m certain we’ll spend some of it being present at industry events we haven’t attended in the past.

If there’s interest, I’ll provide more detail on the wiki. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to send me questions directly!

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