Sweat Equity in the OVC

From: Alan Dechert <adechert_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Sun Sep 07 2003 - 16:03:02 CDT

Okay, I've seen enough.

In my last post to the list, I said that "It's time for me to let go of it
and see if it will float."


I have been investing too many volunteer hours -- far more than I can
afford. I felt I had to do something else to try to earn some money
(evidenced by the fact that I'm running out of assets to sell just to keep a
roof over me and my family).

It didn't work.

1. It didn't float -- it sank. Looking at the project archives, I see that
in August we were averaging over 11 messages per day. Since I unsubsribed,
it's around one message per day. But it's worse than that. I didn't look
at the archives for several days. Then I noticed the first message in Sept
was a query from Anand asking if the list was still alive. I was glad to
see David take on the lead developer role but I noticed in his Sept 1
message he asked that one of the administrators give him admin privledges on
Sourceforge. Two days later, and no one had done so. So I went ahead and
did that. Other than a few follow on messages about David taking on Dev
Lead role ... nothing.

 There were no posts at all from any new people. I went ahead and contacted
Jan Karrman and asked him to join the project. He did so and posted a
message to the list. At a minimum, someone should have said "welcome to the
list Jan. It's great to have another engineer with expertise in an area
specifically needed by the project." No one said anything. I was appalled.

Other that the threads started by David and Jan -- posts made in response to
urgings from me -- the only other thread was started by Dennis Paull. And
that message was REGRESSIVE. It counters something we've discussed at
length, and have we've already agreed on a mode for a full faced ballot with
an option for a paginated (NOT SCROLLING) ballot. Thanks to Doug Jones for
his cogent response to this regressive message from Dennis.

So I asked Arthur to re-subscribe me.

2. I have been unable to find paying work. The job picture is bleak in
general, and I have put myself in a bad situation by spending too much time
on this project over the last three years and not enough time keeping my
skills current. I am now qualifed as a voting technology expert but little
else. I suppose I could get a minimum wage job but I have a wife and 2
children to support so such a job would not do me any good.

The Open Voting Consortium
The project needs a full time administrator now. I feel I have to do it and
I have to figure out a way to get paid doing it. This need has been
acknowledged by Doug Jones and Arthur Keller. Here is a 15 Aug message from
Doug Jones:


Some of you have struggled with the notion that this is a very large project
and there is a lot of money at stake. There is just no way an open voting
system can be developed and implemented using only volunteer help. You
should not feel that your volunteer work will be exploited by others for
financial gain. If I figure out how to make some money with this project,
it's only after having devoted approximately 2,000 volunteer hours. In
other words, I have sweat equity in the project.

I endorse what Arthur said here:

But I would amend what he said to include the concept of sweat equity. I
believe that those that work hard on this project will find a way to
capitalize this work if they choose to do so. If the project is successful,
the food chain will develop and you will be in line for something. I can't
make specific promises, but I know there is a lot of potential here.

I have decided to start the Open Voting Consortium (OVC) now. I think I can
attract money from interested parties. I ask for your support in this
endeavor. You already have some sweat equity in the OVC (some of you more
than others). I have started talking with some potential corporate OVC
members and some foundations. I think it can work.

I plan to incorporate (non-profit corporation) next week. This is a fairly
simple matter of filing some papers with the state (I happen to live near
the state capital and can probably walk the papers through). Gaining the
tax exempt status with the IRS as a non-profit is a more complicated longer
process but we should still be able to raise some money and get some
memberships even before we have the tax exempt status -- probably 501c(6)

I have discussed this some with David Mertz and Arthur Keller. David says,
"do it!" I think Arthur feels it's a bit early for this but I think he is
wrong. It's not too early. There is no penalty for starting on this too
soon. There could be a large penalty for starting it too late.

I plan to be president, CEO, and founder of Open Voting Consortium Inc. My
wife will work with me on this. I will pay myself whatever salary I can,
and as we build up, we will have other employees. I expect the OVC to
eventually become a very large organization. It's not what I've always
planned to do with my life, but I feel strongly about what needs to be done
right now: I have to do it.

-- Alan Dechert

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Received on Tue Sep 30 23:17:01 2003

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