Dear NEM Community Members,
I am a Canadian of European origin, with decades of international government and private sector experience. Although I have spent most of my career in the Asia-Pacific region I am not Asia-centric. Thus notwithstanding that I am based in Malaysia, I consider it essential that the NEM Foundation in order to thrive must become a strong global organization beyond its founding cradle in Southeast Asia, with key support pillars in North America, Europe, East Asia and as well in the future the Middle East, Latin America and Africa.
As a NEM member for one year, I am running for Council because on the basis of my experience I can make some value-added contributions and “impact on the sustainability and future of the NEM Foundation”. Please consider my following comments in conjunction with my candidate policy document, now publicly available to all NEM community members:
The NEM Presidency
The NEM Foundation rightly aspires to be a global organization. However based on my international experience, this goal cannot be achieved if a successor President – no matter how good the candidate — is elected again from Malaysia or even Southeast Asia, together with a VP candidate who is also standing for election from this region.
Such a Presidency will inevitably consign the Foundation to a parochial regional fiefdom with narrow local terms of reference and inward-looking staff without the requisite inter-regional or global experience.
With this kind of succession, NEM will have a diminished international profile and a major image problem, thereby not only devaluing the XEM but also other regions will be alienated and downgraded in their influence, motivation and commitment. For these reasons, no other national entity, whether it be government, corporate, banking, NGOs or the UN ever adheres to this practice and NEM should not be the exception
Thus if elected, I would press to put in place a formal restriction prohibiting a VP and a President coming from the same region. In international organizations or corporations, this is regarded as a sine qua non, a major impediment to effectively operate as a global entity and this is why NEM should also rule out such an option. I would also recommend for consideration by members, to formally decree, in line with international practice, that the Presidency must be rotated i.e. that no one region can hold the Presidency more than one term in a row.
Based on this rationale, I will vote and I advocate voting for Alexandra Tinsman as President. She is not only an ideal candidate with all the mandatory credentials but she also credibly represents North America, which must become an essential substantive platform for NEM to achieve a higher valuation and international credibility.
The prevailing governance in NEM ranging from ethics, to accountability and financial transparency has been inadequate, as well as lacking in clarity and consistency, as was recently reflected in what some members were labeling a flawed and too-protracted run-up to the electoral process.
When governance is dodgy in any organization, trust is corroded between members and management and inexorably arguments and disputes surface with a toxicity evident now in NEM over the voting process. It pulls the whole organization down. Having taken part in a wide variety of boards, I have proven experience in this field and if elected as Councilor, one of my foremost priorities would be to help draft a revised set of Foundation guidelines or bylaws based on consultations with the community, that set down clearly on paper, rules that must be consistently applied and enforced without manipulation, fear or favor.
Right up front I would also recommend revamping the current provision that allows Council decisions taken by majority vote, to be blocked by minority dissenters. There is no board in the world that allows such terms because it stymies any decision-making power of a governing body. The Council must be a majority decision-making governing body that cannot afford to be paralyzed by minority dissent.
The Overriding Importance of Technology
NEM’s success is rated and judged on the quality and cutting-edge of its technology. Thus, the key people in NEM are not Councilors or Presidents but Core Developers. Not only must the best core devs be recruited and amply funded but they also have to be heard and heeded by the executives. As Councilor, I would insist that during every Council meeting one key agenda item must always be dedicated to a briefing from the core devs. Core devs have to be more integrated with the NEM decision making process for the Foundation to move forward.
We are way behind in this regard as compared to the competition which is hurting NEM’s valuation. Lack of adequate marketing means that NEM’s international profile is not commensurate with its quality technology. In today’s world, NEM cannot count on automatic recognition of this superiority. Instead, in order to stay competitive, NEM’s blockchain technology must be relentlessly marketed and advertised. As Councilor, I would press for much more effort and resources devoted to marketing, in-line with some of NEM’s main competitors, such as Ethereum or Ripple, who do this so effectively well.
An obvious close corollary of marketing, is to bring about more coverage and interviews in both the mainstream and social media outlets. NEM has to be far more active not only with interviews but also with regular press briefings and releases. With interviews I have seen, except for the accomplished Alexandra Tinsman, I have found NEM executives not only lacking in impact but also at times purveying misleading or incomplete information. As Councilor, I would first recommend a drawing-up of a proactive media strategy and would insist on much better preparation for interviews. Speaking notes for any executive, pertaining to technical issues, should be vetted in advance by core devs. As Councilor, I would insist that any executive planning to be interviewed must first go through a media training program to get the NEM message out with maximum effect ---- not only with the benign but particularly with the critical mainstream or social media.
To proliferate the NEM blockchain technology, NEM cannot afford to just fly solo especially in markets like Canada where Ethereum enjoys monopolistic rule. Partnerships such as NEM has with the Blockchain Research Institute (BRI) in Toronto can facilitate cooperation and collaboration so essential to the building of blockchain solutions for governments and industry. Follow-up is essential. BRI can make available to the world wide NEM community, a wide array of research work. The BRI can also help in facilitating tie-ups with potential conversion customers. This will offer NEM a platform to promote its blockchain technology, which will establish a NEM foothold for expansion into important global markets where NEM alone does not have the capability to do so.
Manfred G von Nostitz