MetaBrainz Foundation Board Meeting Minutes: May 18th, 2017 (and November 21st, 2016)

Here’s the second round of board meeting minutes. We have had board meetings both in November and in May, but the November board meeting only consisted of Robert, Sophie, Rassami, and Matthew meeting up in London approving the minutes of the prior meeting and agreeing to only hold 3 meetings in 2016. So we decided to kind of skip over reporting on that meeting and just include the summary when posting the minutes for the May meeting. Which I now just did. 😉

These minutes have been reviewed by the board but have not been formally approved at a board meeting yet, meaning that it is subject to change if the board feels something is wrong or missing. Also note that discussion related to personnel or confidential topics have been/will be redacted. Furthermore we may also add more text to the notes in order to give context and background, while not altering the meaning of these notes.

Let’s dive in!

MetaBrainz Foundation Board Meeting Minutes 2017-05­-18

Attendees: Frederik “Freso” S. Olesen, Robert Kaye, Paul Bennun, Matthew Hawn, Sophie Goossens, Rassami Hok ​Ljungberg
Absent: Nick Ashton ​ Hart, Cory Doctorow

Agenda

0. Call to order
Rob called to order at 18:11 CEST
Editor’s note: Unless otherwise noted, Rob will be the one speaking in the notes below.
1. Approval of last meeting minutes
Rob motions for approval. Paul and Rassami seconded. Unanimous approval.
2. Old business
  • General update: Things have calmed down and life is much nicer. With Elizabeth replacing Christina, Rob’s life has become much simpler. She is allowing us to tackle long-standing non-technical issues and helping us look more professional, with clear results.
  • Office: More people are using the space, a community feeling has emerged. Getting a kitchen sink installed on monday, which will be paid from petty cash contributed by other users.
  • Hosting: Things have been working amazingly well — all of our hard work has paid off. Our systems are stable, we’re serving many more requests and we’re still saving $700/month. Even on the hosting front we’re working down the long backlog of tasks.
  • Elizabeth: She’s been handling the onboarding of our new supporters and is now leading the charge to streamline our invoices. She’s also been engaging with the community and taking on other chores such as improving our social media presence. She’s been the female presence that we’ve so desperately needed on the team to make everything a little bit smoother and more professional.
  • Yvan: Yvan, our new developer is doing well, mostly keeping to himself and getting things done.
Matthew asks about plans in case of a catastrophic failure. Rob answers that with the move to Docker we should be able to transition from completely losing access to hardware to servers being back up in less than 24 hours. Matthew says that this is probably quick enough for supporters, and Rob adds that we really recommend supporters to have their own replicated MusicBrainz databases/setups.
3. New business
  • metabrainz.org​ : Matthew has been prompting Rob to improve the messaging on our main site. These tasks have finally rise to the top of our list and Elizabeth is working with community feedback on the site. The about page has important elements that Matthew has been requesting [1]. Based on her experience so far, we’ve also streamlined our support tiers and improve the verbiage there as well [2]. Have a look at the issues we have on our plate [3].

    We also have some specific feedback we’d like to board to give: [4]

  • Accounting improvements: Harmonize invoices to be on quarter boundaries for easier invoice sending. Set up EUR PayPal accounts to cleanly bill and collect in the respective currencies of the customer. This will reduce our accounting efforts and reduce the amount of money that must flow across the Atlantic.
4. Finances
With our new web site and with Elizabeth’s focus on customers our revenue is increasing. Our funds are roughly stable, but we have a few large payments coming in soon (universal, Google Open source programs office, totaling $60k). Also, the BBC will resume paying us (they had paid 3 years in advance) and we have two new possible unicorns (a single and a possible triple), so I anticipate our income growing faster in the near term. Rob is very happy with the current state of things.
Current plan is to hoard money for a while before considering expanding expenses.
Paul asks if Rob/MetaBrainz has had any recent dealings with Amazon related to Alexa. Rob answers that there has been no specific communication, but is guessing that Alexa either already does or will soon “speak MusicBrainz”.
5. Adjourn
Meeting adjourned at 18:44 CEST. (Matthew recommends appear.in as an alternative to Google Hangout for next meeting.)

Footnotes

  1. https://metabrainz.org/about
  2. https://metabrainz.org/supporters/account-type
  3. https://tickets.metabrainz.org/projects/ORG/issues/ORG-18?filter=allopenissues
  4. MetaBrainzFoundation WebsiteChanges-1.pdf attachment
  5. Profit and Loss, year to date: MetaBrainz Profit & Loss – 2017 ytd.pdf attachment
  6. Balance Sheet, year to date: MetaBrainz Balance Sheet – 2017 ytd.pdf attachment

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