Tell us about your current work as well as your educational, professional, and research background. What major professional or related time commitments do you have in addition to your primary affiliation?
Current work: Principal Scientist at Adobe, corporate standards group: advise, develop training and management tools, and coordinate standards participation across the company; monitor and participate in relevant standards activities in W3C and IETF.
Additional professional time commitments: none.
Education: BA Mathematics, Rice; PhD Computer Science, Stanford.
Professional and Research background:
2.2 What experience do you have related to the Internet, including research technology strengths, experience with other SDOs, experience in industry, etc.? Describe your experience (if any) actively participating in other SDOs. Especially describe any activities related to standards making, management of organizations, management of teams, or design/development of Internet software or hardware. (Please answer question 2.2 concisely - you may also include a CV and/or list of relevant technical publications).
2.3 Tell us about your IETF and/or IRTF work experience in technical leadership roles (for example, WG/RG/BoF chair, IAB/IESG/IAOC, directorate, etc.).
http://larry.masinter.net lists RFCs and Internet Drafts, W3C specs, patents, talks and technical publications. My blog http://masinter.blogspot.com includes some essays about standards and standard processes.
Outside of IETF:
Outside of IETF & W3C, my direct standards involvement includes chair of principle sub-committee of ANSI X3J13 Common Lisp; part of my work in Adobe corporate standards has given me broad exposure to all forms of standardization and standards activities and processes, including ISO, ECMA, ETSI, and numerous consortia.
2.4 Internet Governance - describe any personal experience you have had that relates to Internet Governance, or has touched on Internet Governance.
I have a strong interest in Internet Governance, and worked on documents there relating to the relationship of technology to Internet governance.
2.5 Intercultural Skills - Background: People from many different cultures and backgrounds participate in the IETF. Many have English as a second language, and the diverse backgrounds mean that there are numerous sets of mores for public behavior in the IETF. How should the IETF improve its handling of intercultural matters? Please provide specific examples of problems you have seen. Additionally, please indicate any skills or experience that you have that you think are relevant to helping the IETF better handle such issues in the future.
There are two distinct issues here. The first one is a matter of accessibility of proceedings to all participants. The second is dealing with unpleasant or unexpected behavior. The best approaches to these issues are different:
For the first issue:
The IETF/IAOC should focus on improving the technical means of participation (projected real-time transcripts, simultaneous translation supported, training for participants as well as chairs, etc. Steps can be taken to help non-native speakers understand and participate in the work, and to reduce the fire hose of mailing list traffic (which can act as an effective “denial of service”). Many of the ideas for improvement would help ALL participants engage in a more deliberative discussion. The limits here are budget and management of the effectiveness of various potential solutions. Most of the technology investigations done to date have been ad-hoc and poorly supported.
The “community” to focus on is those who represent the Internet engineering community. Dealing with language, culture, geographic, gender, ethnic, nationality diversity, should all be focused on encouraging technically-engaged participation.
Expertise is not confined to particular geographic areas, and the best minds are just as likely not at institutions that can fund frequent travel. Fortunately, collaborative technology is growing in power and usability, including issue trackers, version management tools, speech-to-text, machine translation aids, and so forth. It should be a goal to increase the reality of the proposition that attending IETF meetings is unnecessary for full participation, not just through remote participation in meetings. Note that other SDOs provide simultaneous translation. Benchmarking against other SDOs and an evaluation of the effectiveness of process enhancements on standards-making is called for.
In addition, there is the matter of increasing diversity of participation in IETF management positions (chairs, IESG, IAB) by engineers from outside the G8 countries; participation in management is primarily a matter of focusing mentoring and outreach.
Specific examples, experience, skills: I’ve frequently observed, in IETF meetings, rapid-fire conversations which are barely comprehensible even to someone fluent in English. IETF remote participation support is haphazard, difficult to set up, and not readily usable by chairs, note takers, meeting participants. I’ve been in working groups where flurries of discussion on minor points have swamped the mailbox any less-than-fulltime participants. Network-mediated communication has been a long-term research interest, and I have experience with a wide range of experimental and commercial systems, both good and bad. In the 90s, I gave numerous tutorials (some with simultaneous translation) to audiences of non-native speakers and took speaker training.
For the second issue:
Dealing with difficult participants and behavior is problematic, because of the openness of the IETF process. However, my perception is that most difficult behavior has been manageable by working group chair with occasional help from their AD. IETF will have difficulty relying on authority to enforce rules of behavior. Rather, it is the needs of the community – working group members, observers, and the IETF as a whole, to call out and censure inappropriate behavior, and to promote rules of conduct.
Specific examples, experience, skills: The HTTP working group was especially contentious, and there were times when forceful feedback was necessary to remind participants of the common good of standards and the inappropriateness of ad hominem remarks. The most egregious ad hominem attacks I’ve personally experienced have occurred outside the IETF (in W3C HTML). A sense of humor and a better insight into the nature of standards goes a long way toward being able to deal with unpleasant behavior.
2.6 If you are an incumbent IAB member, what aspects of your own work do you think you could improve to become a better IAB member?
2.7 If there is any other information you wish the NOMCOM to have, of any type that might personally identify you, please share it here or in Section 11 below, and not elsewhere in the questionnaire. This question is a good place to summarize why you personally are qualified for and should receive strong consideration for the position.
I have experience and expertise to provide a unique contribution to the IAB. I understand and respect IETF traditions, but I am not bound by them. I have long and broad experience in IETF, and I also bring significant standards experience with Internet standards outside the IETF, and in particular with W3C; I am one of a handful of people who have regularly participated in both IETF and W3C meetings.
My tenure in the W3C TAG gives me a different architectural experience and perspective.
3. IETF Discuss the ways you think the IETF is fulfilling its purpose and the ways it needs to improve.
The IETF’s core mission and basic principles are sound, and the IETF has been quite successful in developing the Internet, while insuring an open process and limiting intellectual property constraints. On the other hand, IETF has often failed to attract or retain the essential participation of some of the most important stakeholders and Internet uses; some working groups have produced specs which are not adopted by industry, fail to make progress or just take too long.
In particular, processes and infrastructure are woefully behind the state of the art. Especially at the applications layer, the IETF has fallen far behind.
As a voluntary standards organization (in that IETF specs alone do not carry legal weight), IETF needs to more clearly understand its audience ( implementors, reviewers, purchasers), insure their effective participation, and reduce friction and process bottlenecks.
The IETF currently does not invest nearly enough in outreach and promotion. The rest of the world has discovered the power of the Internet for building and managing communities and supporting collaboration; it’s time for the IETF to move forward much more rapidly.
3.2 Discuss your views on the nature and practice of IETF liaisons, including any changes you would like to see.
There is a tendency to treat other SDOs and consortia as separate groups, with liaisons functioning as ambassadors, to be called in when problems are detected and often too late to fix. But often these other groups consist of (often different) representatives from the *same* companies and groups. Some part of liaison coordination should be the responsibility of working group chairs and document editors at the working group level. Liaison needs to be pro-active and not reactive. Liaison coordination should be more part of the process – for example, that determining “rough consensus” explicitly solicit opinions of working groups of other SDOs considering referencing IETF standards; encourage joint meetings with participants of liaison working groups, and so forth.
Background: The summary of desired expertise for IAB positions is available at:
4.1 What are your views on the description, especially concerning the different roles for an IAB member and the time commitments deemed necessary to fulfill those roles?
As described, the responsibilities of the IAB would seem to greatly exceed what can be accomplished with the total manpower available from IAB members collectively. However, the IAB web site (http://www.iab.org/) gives a better picture of actual IAB activities.
4.2 What should be the impact of the IAB, internal and external to the IETF? What is currently going well and what needs improvement? What is your long term vision for the IAB? What needs to happen, to achieve these goals and what are the priorities for them?
No other group is chartered to steer the long-term strategy for Internet development, and this should be the primary IAB focus. More resources for development, education and outreach on Internet Architecture would be helpful. While currently IAB has successfully published RFCs on important strategic architectural considerations, in many cases, this should be the start of outreach activity, not the end. To lead, the IAB needs to reach a wide audience, from Internet developers to government regulators, and not just Area Directors and those working group chairs who manage to watch the RFC stream.
The stable functioning of the Internet has become a crucial underpinning of the global economy and society, and it is at risk, from both unintentional side-effects as well as malicious attack. Defense against both requires an architectural vision that balances features against resilience in an architectural way.
4.3 What is your understanding of "architecture" when referring to IETF work? How is it different from protocol work? What areas of Internet architecture need improvement and how should that be achieved? What is the role and utility of architecture in IETF activities?
I use the term “architecture” for any system to mean the ways in which a system can be divided into parts, each with one or more identified functions, and the set of interfaces (APIs, protocols, languages, data formats, connectors) that connect these parts.
The Internet is just a distributed system composed of many parts – it is unique and uniquely valuable in that there is only one Internet on the planet. The architecture of the Internet evolves; traditionally, IETF has focused on protocol interfaces with an occasional dip into common data formats and (even less frequently) languages.
Unfortunately, the documented parts of the actual Internet architecture represent only an incomplete fraction of what is actually deployed. Within IETF activities, the role of architecture is to document how the pieces fit together, to allow for predictive understanding of the impact of protocol changes on performance under load, security, reliability, and other qualities.
Ideally, a clear understanding of Internet architecture would improve the quality of IETF work.
4.4 What abilities would you bring to the IAB compared to the expertise currently available on it? What are your key strengths (in general, leaving specific types of experience to your answers in Section 2)?
I bring unique experience in key areas of Internet use that are currently poorly represented in IETF management. I understand the business aspect of standardization and commercial motivation for standards participation and standards processes. I have deep experience not only in IETF but also other standardization organizations, and have studied and helped develop standards processes.
4.5 What are your views on the ongoing IAB programs in general and on the specific programs? In particular, how do you see confidentiality issues e.g. sharing of information to non-IAB members, and do you see needs for improvements to any of the current practices related to IAB programs?
The Programs of the IAB seem haphazard and poorly motivated – why these and not others? Every activity needs metrics of success and milestones of accomplishment tied to those. I have no problems with IAB members exercising judgment as to what should be or remain confidential; unfortunately, we live in a world dominated by rumor and social media. But confidentiality should be time-limited in a way that corresponds to the risks associated with disclosure.
4.6 What are your views of developing the skills and talent of others so that there is a pipeline into the IAB and into the leadership roles within the IAB (IAB Chair, directors of programs, etc.)
IAB members should be experienced enough to be capable of assuming leadership roles. Mentoring and pairing of leadership roles (rotating co-chair, assistant to director of programs) would be one way of developing talent.
5. MANAGEMENT AND SOFT SKILLS 5.1 How do you use analysis, planning and inter-personal skills in working with others, including managing them?
I believe leadership is more important than management in a volunteer organization such as the IETF. Management has authority and control. Leadership involves persuasion and inspiration. My experiences as project lead and manager have primarily been with senior researchers and developers, in a situation where technical competence, not management authority, inspires confidence in others and willingness to follow. People participate in IETF for a reason – some for the pleasure of contributing technology to something that matters in the world, some for personal credit, some to help insure that their products have a market advantage. The first requirement for leadership is to understand and appeal to the motives of those led.
5.2 What are your personal strengths in general that would allow you to contribute to the communications and management aspects of serving on the IAB?
I’m articulate, inquisitive, innovative, and persistent, open-minded, experienced.
Please use Section 2 to comment on specific experience that would allow you to contribute to these aspects, and comment here only on general strengths.
6. IRTF. What is your view of the IRTF's role with respect to the IETF, IAB and the Internet?
Frankly, I don’t understand why the IRTF is an IAB or IETF program, except that many in IRTF also attend IETF meetings, and some IRTF research results might be transferred to IETF. Research management is hard because it tends to become politicized; organizations tend to support research by those they know, rather than by the most important and most likely successful topics . Detecting this bias and correcting for it is difficult.
Further, while the IAB notes it has an important role with IRTF, it’s indicative the IRTF’s web page scarcely mentions the IAB.
7. INTERNET GOVERNANCE
7.1 Discuss your understanding of the activities and goals that are covered by the term Internet Governance in general terms.
The term “Internet Governance” is primarily used to refer to the management of the lower layers of the Internet infrastructure: the social, economic, regulatory aspects of developing and operating the Internet.
7.2 Please describe Internet Governance issues for which you think the IAB should have a position during your term.
I think the Governance issues of the IAB should focus on those aspects for which pending legislative and regulatory action in various jurisdictions threatens the Internet architecture. The IAB should also begin to plan for future positioning by being actively involved in positioning the IAB and the IETF as responsible and responsive participants in the massively connected world.
Background: Section 6.5 of RFC 2026 describes a process of "open review and discussion" used to resolve disputes or appeal decisions that cannot be resolved through the ordinary process. The way in which appeals have been handled has varied significantly over time. At some point in the past, appeals have been discussed in open plenary with the community asked to give input during the appeals process. In more recent years, the IESG and IAB have handled appeals in executive session, even asking liaisons from other organizations to leave.
How should IETF leadership approach the dispute resolution/appeal? Should any changes be made, such as to the transparency of the process? How can appeals be handled to lessen their being adversarial?
There have been few enough appeals that I don’t have a strong opinion; I would need to review the appeals that were handled in executive session rather than publicly. I imagine there might be some concerns about liability or other kinds of pressure on vulnerable decision makers, for example.
Appeals *are* adversarial, and I am not in favor of trying to hide that. The primary goal should be to minimize the dominance of financial or political or brand advantage over technical merit.
9. TIME COMMITMENT
Background: IAB members are responsible for various activities including regular attendance at IAB teleconferences and attendance in person to IETF meetings and IAB workshops. The time commitment in "normal weeks" (i.e., those not containing IETF meetings, retreats, or workshops) is typically one to three days a week or more for IAB members that are fully engaged.
Are you willing and able to commit your time to complete IAB tasks such as to follow the IAB, IRTF and IETF discussions on a regular basis?
END OF SECTION: NO PERSONAL IDENTIFYING INFORMATION
NOT FOR CONFIRMING BODY
The answer to the following question will not be shared with the confirming body (the ISOC Board). This section may include personal identifying information.
10. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Is there any information you wish to share with the Nominating Committee that you do not wish to have shared with the ISOC Board? This may include additional details about employment or work time issues. It may include opinions or comments about individuals on the various bodies involved in leading the IETF activities. It may include opinions about the direction of working groups, areas, or leadership bodies. These comments may also include elaborations on any of your above answers, if there are further aspects you would like to mention that you do not want shared with the ISOC Board.
while at W3C, to encourage better IETF coordination – there isn’t a separate IETF Web and W3C Web. I would hope to continue to work that relationship from the IETF side.
The IETF and W3C (and many of the other established SDOs) are under attack as being slow-moving, old-boy, insider groups dominated by academic purists. The IETF and IAB need to work to address the issues raised by outreach, but also listening more and incorporating feedback, engaging in non-contentious activities in coordination with potential allies and new audiences. In general we should be more aware that the industry and market are changing and that are willing to lead the change.