Some Thoughts on ICANN’s Next CEO
Now that the search has officially commenced, I thought it might be useful to make some public statements as to what I would like to see from the next ICANN CEO. My comments are driven by what I see as the deficiencies over the last number of years and, most importantly, by a deep desire to see the ICANN experiment in global governance succeed. The Internet is the greatest agent for positive change the world has ever seen and a healthy ICANN strengthens its ability to foster positive change.
For me there are three essential qualities required and they are tough to order because I would like to see them all. They are as follows:
- a deep love and understanding of the Internet;
- the ability to “run a business” responsibly; and
- the ability to lead with vision.
First, a deep love and understanding of the Internet.
‚ÄúChoose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.‚Äù ~ Confucius
For me, Mike Roberts was the best ICANN CEO to date and the reason is that he was the one who most loved and understood the Internet. ICANN is responsible for names and numbers, which are about finding and using resources on the Internet. Appreciating what that means and why it is important is central to being the ICANN CEO. Too much of the last few years have been about ICANN as an institution for the institution’s sake, not for having ICANN live in service to the Internet. A great CEO will create and lead an ICANN that lives in service to an open Internet and to the role of names and numbers inside of that.
Second, the ability to run a business responsibly. ICANN as an institution has ballooned over the last few years, seeing its budget grow by massive amounts. I am in favor of a healthy ICANN that is not begging its constituents for money and that is able to provide necessary staff support for policy creation and management. However, the money should be spent like it was their own! There is much too much wasted on very expensive consultants, staff duplication and on unnecessary efforts. There is a good core of credible and productive staff who I believe will respond to this so positively.
The next CEO should be comfortable learning about an issue and making a decision. Rather than pay BCG, McKinsey or some other exorbitantly priced consultant to call me, and a dozen others, to ask for our opinion on an issue, the CEO himself will research a topic and then come to a decision. Yes, ICANN is a consensus-driven, bottom up organization, but that need not apply to every issue. To be clear, I am talking here about day-to-day issues like a new RAA, transfers or whois.
The next CEO should be comfortable making decisions, leading the team and spending money responsibly. They should be a doer. The do/say ratio in ICANN needs to increase immeasurably.
Lastly, the next ICANN CEO needs to be able to lead with vision. So much of what ICANN deals with concerns the future, not the past or the present. The next ICANN CEO needs to possess enough imagination to create a broad vision for the organization and lead staff and the various constituents in that direction. This does not mean they should drive the policy-making process, nor that they should substitute their judgment for the community, but that they should have a big picture view of what the organization looks like when it is functioning well and how the organization exists in service to the Internet.
The organization should not lurch from issue to issue like it does now, constantly fending off imagined existential threats. It should move in a clear direction toward a bright future.
Yes, I know I am looking for a lot in one person, but I really believe that at this point in the Internet’s history, ICANN demands more than a CEO. It needs a passionate visionary.
Tucows Inc. Announces Preliminary Results of Tender Offer
TORONTO ‚Äì March 16, 2009 ‚Äì Tucows Inc. (AMEX:TCX, TSX:TC) a global provider of domain names, email and other Internet services, announced today the preliminary results of its modified Dutch auction tender offer, which expired at 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on March 13, 2009.¬† Tucows expects to purchase 4,250,000 shares of its Common Stock at a purchase price of $0.41 per share, or a total of $1,742,500.¬† The 4,250,000 shares expected to be purchased are comprised of the 4,000,000 shares Tucows offered to purchase and 250,000 shares to be purchased pursuant to Tucows‚Äô right to purchase up to an additional 2 percent of the shares outstanding immediately prior to the commencement of the tender offer.¬† Due to over-subscription, Tucows expects the final proration factor for shares tendered at or below $0.41 per share to be approximately 99.8%.¬† For this purpose, shares tendered at or below $0.41 per share will include shares tendered by those persons who indicated, in their letter of transmittal, that they are willing to accept the price determined in the offer. All shares purchased in the tender offer will receive the same price.
The price per share and the proration factor are preliminary and subject to verification by StockTrans, Inc., the depositary for the tender offer. The actual price per share and the proration factor will be announced promptly following completion of the verification process.¬† After the determination of the actual price per share and the proration factor, the depositary will issue payment for the shares accepted under the tender offer and return all shares not accepted.
Tucows commenced the tender offer on February 12, 2009, when it offered to purchase up to 4,000,000 shares of its Common Stock at a price between $0.36 and $0.45 per share, net to the seller in cash, without interest. As a result of the completion of the tender offer, Tucows expects to have 68,823,782 shares issued and outstanding as of the time immediately following payment for the tendered shares.¬† Subject to the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Tucows may, from time to time at management‚Äôs discretion, repurchase up to approximately 6,361,769 additional shares of its Common Stock on the open market under its previously authorized share buyback program.
Tucows is a global Internet services company.¬† OpenSRS manages over 8 million domain names and millions of email boxes through a reseller network of over 9,000 web hosts and ISPs.¬† Hover is the easiest way for individuals and small businesses to manage their domain names and email addresses.¬† YummyNames owns premium domain names that generate revenue through advertising or resale.¬† Butterscotch.com is an online video network building on the foundation of Tucows.com.¬† More information can be found at http://tucowsinc.com.
For further information: Lawrence Chamberlain, The Equicom Group for Tucows Inc., (416) 815-0700 ext. 257, lchamberlain (at) equicomgroup.com.
This news release contains, in addition to historical information, forward-looking statements related to such matters as our business, including the price per share at which Tucows will purchase shares, the proration factor and the repurchase of additional shares of Tucows‚Äô common stock. Such statements are based on management’s current expectations and are subject to a number of uncertainties and risks, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. Information about potential factors that could affect Tucows’ business, results of operations and financial condition is included in the Risk Factors sections of Tucows’ filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All forward-looking statements included in this document are based on information available to Tucows as of the date of this document, and Tucows assumes no obligation to update such forward-looking statements.
Tucows is a registered trademark of Tucows Inc. or its subsidiaries. All other trademarks and service marks are the properties of their respective owners.