Yesterday, you probably received an email from PASS and/or Redgate stating that PASS’s assets had been acquired from Redgate. For the health of the Microsoft data and analytics community this may seem like a win, but in reality, it creates many more questions. The first of which, is how was the auction held, and to whom did the proceeds go to? Did Summit ticket holders have their money refunded? Did PASS Pro members get refunds? The fact that a member of the PASS Exec board works for Redgate raises further questions about the fairness of the process.
Having a for-profit vendor having ownership of community assets, just continues the same problem the community had with C&C. In fact, it creates more conflicts—are other vendors going to want to sponsor “Redgate SQL Saturday Events”? Or “Redgate PASS Summit”? The complete lack of transparency around the auction process aside, having one vendor have ownership of the community assets is problematic. I would be more ok, if it was Microsoft, but would still prefer the community own its assets so that we are not at the mercy of a company. This isn’t a problem I have with Redgate—I’d have the same problem with any vendor.
What Should Redgate Do?
Here’s what I think should happen:
- Redgate should help form a not-for-profit organization with an independent board and governance structure to hold and manage community assets
- They can have a permanent seat on the board of this foundation, provided its charter allows other vendors on the board
- The organization should freely license assets like SQL Saturday and training content
- If someone wants to run Summit, that endeavour should remain separate from the community organization, and run either out of Redgate or a separate organization.
This is the only path forward for a successful community organization. There are a lot of models in technology communites for community/corporate partnerships like the Linux Foundation and the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. Otherwise, the organization is not a community, it’s just a bunch of marketing assets for a corporation.