Today is a big day! As you know, over the last few months we’ve been searching for a Managing Director to join the Matrix.org Foundation full-time, focused on managing the Foundation’s finances, organising the Foundation’s membership programme, helping raise funding to support Foundation work, working with the Guardians to ensure the Foundation stays on mission, and ensuring the Foundation can operate successfully as a fully independent entity.
We’re super excited to announce today that our search is complete, and so we’d like to welcome Josh Simmons to the Foundation as its first ever Managing Director (and first ever employee, for that matter!). Josh has a huge amount of experience in open source and non-profit foundations (including many stints on the board of the Open Source Initiative, including President) - as well as being an existing Matrix fan and user, even running a personal homeserver. This was a really tough search, by the way - we were genuinely blown away at the number of amazing folks who responded to the job listing, and if we’d had the $ we’d have been sorely tempted to make additional offers :)
I’m sure Josh will intro himself properly in a bit, but here’s a quick reaction from him on what he’s getting into:
“It is humbling to step into this role to lead the Foundation and fully realize the Foundation’s mission as a neutral steward for the Matrix ecosystem. Our work to bring decentralized, secure, open source communication tools to all has never been more important than it is today, amidst a panoply of power structures that surveil, oppress, extract, and fundamentally do not serve people or planet. I look forward to working together to strengthen the Foundation’s independence and make the Matrix ecosystem even more vibrant.”
If you’re wondering what the Matrix Foundation is, and why it needs a Managing Director: as a reminder, the team who created Matrix set up Element in 2017 as a way to help fund our work on Matrix - and then in 2018 incorporated The Matrix.org Foundation as a not-for-profit foundation to act as a neutral custodian for the Matrix protocol. We formally launched the Foundation alongside Matrix 1.0 in June 2019, and since then the Foundation has acted as the copyright holder of the core Matrix IP donated by Element, and custodian of the open governance process by which Matrix evolves.
However, until today the Foundation has not had any dedicated employees - all the Foundation’s work to date has been either donated by the Foundation’s Guardians (Directors) or by Element staff. As a result the Foundation has historically been very dependent on Element’s donations to keep Matrix thriving - but it’d be way healthier for Matrix (and Element!) if the wider Matrix ecosystem itself financially supported Matrix and helped steer its direction, and if the Matrix Foundation was fully operationally independent of Element.
With Matrix 2.0 rapidly coming up on the horizon, and the increased importance of the membership programme in helping sustainably fund Matrix, it’s the perfect time to be welcoming Josh to the Foundation with a view to getting Matrix entirely self-sustainable as rapidly as possible. Practically speaking, Josh reports to the Foundation’s Board (i.e. the Guardians), and will be focused primarily on running the membership programme, fundraising for the Foundation in general, spending Foundation funds to the greater glory of Matrix, as well as working with Thib on helping spread awareness of Matrix as enthusiastically as possible.
Talking of the membership programme: we’d like to enormously thank everyone who has joined and expressed willingness to join the Foundation since we launched the programme in June! We’ve been running late on onboarding and announcing folks, but now that Josh is on board we have way more bandwidth to accelerate the programme and establish the Governing Board for steering the organisational decisions of the Foundation.
Now is a great time to become a member to support Matrix and be part of shaping its future. One of Josh’s first projects is to establish the Governing Board infrastructure and run its first election. Joining now gives you the great opportunity to be part of the first elected Governing Board!
Finally, Matthew and Amandine are still involved as much as ever, both as the founders of Matrix, and as two of the five Guardians of the Foundation, and Matthew continues to be Project Lead and lead for the Spec Core Team. However, given they also have a day job running Element, it’s fantastic to have Josh join to focus exclusively on operating the Foundation.
We’d like to thank everyone who’s financially supported Matrix over the years - whether that’s as an individual supporter on Donorbox, Patreon or Liberapay, or by joining the membership programme! We’re entering a whole new era for Matrix, with your donations being proactively deployed by an independent Governing Board to best fund core Matrix development - and we can’t wait to see the Foundation grow into an open source powerhouse to rival the best of them.
We’d like to wish Josh good luck in the new role, and hope you’re as excited as we are to see the Foundation finally gaining independence and spreading its wings!
Matthew, Amandine, and the whole Matrix.org team.