Noted: The First Meeting on Ping.MN

The first official meeting for Ping.MN took place on September 29th 2018. There was a lot discussed with a focus on how to make this a long term sustainable project. One of our desires is to be transparent and accessible throughout this whole process. While there are meeting notes we thought it would be better to release an easier to read update (while excluding names of many people who have expressed a desire to help until they are helping us).

If you have feedback or ideas please share them in the comments, or let us know you want to help: https://start.ping.mn/

The big points covered:

  • Vision for Ping.MN: A Site on MN Tech by us in MN Tech
  • Targeting a fully functional and launched website by MinneBar 2019.
  • Starting to get the legal framework setup for a co-op nonprofit.
  • Pursuing a setup of two 5 person boards. One overseeing the editorial content, and a second for the business and operations. These positions will be filled by votes from the members of the co-op

Vision for Ping.MN

Exactly what this will be is still coming into focus. There is a general sense that the current sites & platforms are doing a limited job. Our hope is to have a site that can be much further reaching into the full breadth of our community. Hopefully this will make it easier for people to get involved in this community, and for us to keep up to date with what our community is doing. There are desires for original content, for the ability to link out to related content (both personal and professional), and to have directories and guides to highlight what good stuff is happening here.

New Website In the Works

Without discussing too much of the technical details (hard for a room of engineers) we did settle on a few key goals for the site. The UX design for the site has started with the following goals in mind.

  • A place for original content
  • Aggregate content from around Minnesota.
  • Online directories for companies/nonprofits, people, events, and meetups that are/work with technology.

Being a Co-op

This is the biggest piece we are working on getting into place before much else happens. We want to ensure that all of our work on this is owned by Ping.MN. We are pursuing a nonprofit co-op model. This is in alignment with our desire for transparency, and for community involvement. We don’t yet have the requirements for membership in the co-op, but we all agreed that it should be accessible for everyone working in technology in Minnesota. You will be able to have an account & profile on the website without being a member of the co-op. Co-op members will be able to vote for the boards of directors, and other resolutions put to the community by those boards. Voting will likely take place through the site (assuming we can legally do this).

We are meeting with a law firm to get this all arranged, and hope to have the entity in place soon. Most of the other projects are in a bit of a holding pattern until this is done.

A note on funding ping.mn

There was a desire to ensure that the funding for this site came from within our community. That there should also be a way for the community to end relationships with sponsors who are poor members of the tech community. Also that funding is not managed by the editorial board.

  • Funding should be kinda sorta mostly from MN (require significant MN presence)
  • Funding board who makes decision (complete firewall from editorial)
  • No bad actors
  • Public appeal mechanism that is clearly documented

Division of Responsibilities

Having 2 boards should allow the content to be free from any business relationships the co-op will have. Being a sponsor or supporter of Ping.MN shouldn’t shield you from negative press, or make it easier to get positive press. It also will allow the time these individuals spend on Ping.MN to be more focused (on generating/managing content, or on helping keep the site up and running). There is also a strong desire to have these boards reflect the diversity of our community, and our state. This should lead to a more inclusive set of content and organization as a whole.

Starting to Collect Interest

Now that this is coming together we are very excited. There was only a handful of us at the first meeting. The main action items are all around getting this setup and ready to go. We need to create the space for people to contribute and get involved. There are still some big blind-spots in the team so far (none of us have any journalism background, and don’t understand how editorial stuff works). Yet there is interest from people with these skills. Our goal is to get to the point where we can invite them to join and build on a solid foundation. As with this first meeting, these meetings will continue to be open to those who request to come.

Interested in being involved? https://start.ping.mn

Next Meeting

24 October 2018: 6pm — 8pm

Who was Present

Robert Nelson — @RobertMpls 
Justin Cardinal — @justincardinal 
Cody Ogden — @codyogden 
Dylan Bruzenak — @dylanbr 
Dustin Bruzenak — @bruzenak 
Paul Prins — @PaulPrins