Hugh Douglas-Smith, 2019

Last modified by Unknown User on 2019.03.19 at 02:13:07 PDT

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About Me

I am a highly effective and broadly skilled leader with an extensive technical knowledge, specialising in analysing and improving business processes to improve efficiency and profitability. As well as a commercial background as a board member of international software companies, I am actively involved in the running and leadership of community groups and charitable organisations.

Sales Marketing • Leadership • Strategy • Revenue Growth • Analysis Management • IT • Process Improvement • Team Building

I have a track record of successfully delivering sales, leading marketing campaigns and building and leading teams. A proven capacity to successfully develop strategy for sales and marketing and IT and to improve processes to deliver bottom line results. Dedicated, goal-focused and entrepreneurial, with a strong ability to motivate and coach teams to excel.

I have volunteered as member of the Joomla! Community for the past 10+ years and am now serving as Operations Director on the Open Source Matters Inc. board, the organisation behind Joomla!

What I can offer OSI

As a board member I look to get involved and take an active role. I have a vast experience of commercial software licences across international boundaries and of leading and managing development teams. One of my key skills is by ability to motivate and mentor individuals and guide projects to successful fulfilment, these are, I believe essential qualities within the Open Source environment where we are completely reliant on the goodwill and co-operation of all members.

My thoughts on Open Source

I have a background in commercial software development, first as a programmer (at the coal face doing the coding), then as a sales person selling the product/solution. In both instances I interacted with customers and users. In my naivety in my early years as a programmer, I could be dismissive of customers requests “because that wasn’t the way the system worked”, and I was the programmer, so I knew best. Then as my career progressed and I moved to sales, my mind was opened up to a completely new dimension and the understanding that the customers were equally valuable and if they didn’t get what they wanted, often they would go else where. As the sales person who understood programming, I often sat as the intermediary between two camps, negotiating between the two and ensuring that each side understood the challenges and requirements of the other.

In the commercial world there was an added complication of the corporation itself and the bean counters who ensured that company maintain profitability and stayed on track, this force often having an overreaching arm of power that could dismiss particular features because they just cost too much or didn’t fit in with corporate strategy.

About 20 years ago having co-founded my own web development company I was introduced to the concept of Open Source. It took a while to understand it, the concept seemed somewhat alien, after all, who would pay the programmers? But then the penny started to drop and I understood this was a breeding ground for creativity and improvement. Ideas could be fostered, shared and refined whilst work was shared with developers taking on tasks they have the most interest in and the whole become far more than the sum of its parts. Gone (to a large extent) was the overriding rule of the finance department, both the customer ruled and the programmer ruled, each free to provide input and comment.

It was around this time I read, what I consider to be the best analogy of Open Source, by comparing it to the bee keeper. A bee keeper maintains a hive of bees, provides them a safe place to stay and work producing honey, they then harvest the honey which is sold for profit, that being their reward for the safe environment. The bees can at anytime decide the environment is not to their liking and move elsewhere, the bee keeper has no control over that and can only influence by ensuring the environment is as good as it can be and therefore there is no better alternative.

So it is with Open Source. As the leader of a development company, we build specialist websites and functionality on top of the Joomla! Platform, we are driven by the goals and requirements of our customers who pay our salaries. We have a vested interest in keeping the Joomla! Platform as rich and up to date as possible because without it, we would be spending hundreds of man days re-coding elements which are provided for us. I am therefore heavily committed to offering whatever I can to the Joomla! Project to help it grow and improve.

But, Joomla! Is only one project within the wider scope of Open Source and I can see benefits beyond just that single project. I believe that my knowledge both from a commercial world and with the Joomla! Project can be put to a wider benefit, hence my nomination to support OSI.

In the late 1980s, early 1990s I was working in the documentation sector specifying and selling large documentation systems into defence and aerospace. Many of these projects were founded on government procurement initiatives (CALS in the USA, CHOTS in the UK). At the time (before the advent of the web), the ‘big thing’ was SGML (ISO8879) and many of its derivatives. I was one of the leaders of the UK SMGL group back then and sat in an advisory capacity on the ISO standards panel for a sub project of SGML (DSSSL) which today we would probably describe as CSS. I learnt a lot, as I have done within the board of Joomla! With regard to the need to support standards and breed an environment which is both safe and inclusive.

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Created by Patrick Masson on 2019.02.28 at 07:08:50 PST
    

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