Shawn Wildermuth's Rants and Raves

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Leaving the .NET Foundation Board - a Post Mortem
Leaving the .NET Foundation Board - a Post Mortem
October 31, 2022

tl;dr; There is no Tea to be Found Here

In case you didn’t see the notice, my term as a board member of the .NET Foundation is now over. After two years, my term has expired. My term was an interesting time to be inside the .NET Foundation. I wanted to reflect on that time.

Being on the Board of Directors

I honestly wasn’t sure I was ready to take on the role. Echoes of my imposter syndrome certainly flared up during those early days. But, for me, I wasn’t alone. When I joined the board, all the board members were brand new. There wasn’t a ton of institutional memory but that also gave us a blank slate to start with.

I could talk about each and every member of both boards I was part of, but I am sure I’d leave someone out. But, suffice to say, I believed that every member was focused on addressing real issues in the community.

I would be remiss if I said that some departures from the board confused and upset me. But, this isn’t where I want to air those issues. I really want to get the story across of what I hope is my legacy on the board.

Outreach Committee

Once on the board, I knew immediately that I wanted to help out on the outreach committee. I think I was a bit misguided at first. I was very focused on trying to help broaden .NET adoption by shining a light outside North America and Europe. If I am being honest with myself, there was more than a bit of white savior in that first few months.

The committee reached out to some of the MVPs and others in Africa, Asia and South America. We soon learned that the things we wanted to help them with wasn’t what they needed. It seems that we weren’t the first people to try and throw technology at them (e.g. Azure credits, books, courses). I feel like we really failed in this. It’s one of the disappointments that take with me from the .NET Foundation.

There are accomplishments I am proud of (e.g. launching the Speaker Bureau, continuing commitment to meetup accounts for user groups, etc.)

My hope is that I left the Outreach Commitee better than I found it.

The Turmoil

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the rocky road that the foundation ran into a year ago. I learned a lot about how to work in a crisis. While we might not have handled it as gracefully as we had wished, I will say that I think that everyone involved was sincerely trying to do the right thing. It’s not mine to say whether we succeeded. At the end of the day, I hope the foundation will help adoption of .NET open source projects.

The new board members last year (Mattias Karlsson-@devlead, Rich Lander-@runfaster2000, and Rob Prouse-@rprouse) were really instrumental in steering the committee to focus on maintainers of .NET open source projects. It was amazing to see these members come in and contribute so quickly. I was humbled by it.

Moving Forward

I will continue to support the foundation as much as I can. I believe in what they are doing. Sometimes I think the community at large doesn’t see what they are contributing to the ecosystem. Joseph Guadagno-@jguadagno is taking over on the Outreach Committee. If you have a proposal to how the outreach committee could help your corner of the world, don’t forget you can submit a proposal here:

Thanks so much for letting me serve.