King of the Internet, Emeritus

Selfie from ICANN 66
Selfie from ICANN 66

I recently termed out after completing four years and two terms as the elected Chair of the Registrar Stakeholder Group - the structure within ICANN that represents all accredited domain name Registrars, and who's membership represents some 90% or so of the internet.  It was a pretty entertaining and challenging time,  but I'm looking forward to being focused on one or two issues, instead of coordinating many. Wrapping up at 3am at home in front of my computer wasn't exactly how I envisioned ending my reign, but we'll rectify that when we can travel safely again.

Below is my thank you message to the RrSG.

ICANN68 ends tomorrow morning at 05:30am Toronto time, and with that Ashley takes over as Chair, and I return to being a civilian after four years.

For those of you who didn’t join the RrSG Membership meeting on, what I think was Tuesday am, and missed my in person thanks, below is a slightly more elaborate version.

I’ve not been around since the beginning like some of you, but my sense is that the past four years have been among the most momentous and contentious in the history of both ICANN and the RrSG.   My term as chair started with the completion of the IANA transition, and then very quickly the coming dark clouds of the GDPR appeared on the horizon. I think it was the Copenhagen meeting where we began to realize just how gnarly it was going to get.

GDPR definitely feels like it’s defined a lot of my tenure. Pushing ICANN to say or do literally anything, and then ending up with the Temp Spec at the 11th hour.  I’ve not enjoyed watching the EPDP slowly grind down our best people. 

It seemed pretty clear to me that ICANN was becoming increasingly complicated, and that if we wanted to keep up with the workload we’d need a bunch more structure, process, and people with leadership experience.  So, we rewrote our charter (thanks Charter team!) to better reflect how we work.  We also established teams for TechOps, Policy, RRA reviews, we completely rebuilt how we approach our interactions with compliance, and most recently formed the DNS Abuse team.  All of these teams provide opportunities for people to engage and lead, and for us to be increasingly productive. 

Thank you to everyone who’s participated in all of the above. I’m really proud of where the SG is today, and while I am pleased to have had a hand in it, all of that effort and recognition really belongs to you. 

I’d also like to thank everyone who’s served as part of the RrSG ExCom, on the NomCom or as a GNSO rep over the past four years. The hardest part about being chair is ensuring that you’re representing the diverse views of the SG appropriately. To that end the strong voices we’ve had in the ExCom have been extremely helpful.  Apologies if I have missed anyone, but my eternal gratitude to: Kristian Ormen, Benny Samuelson, Caroline Greer, Tobias Sattler, Pam Little, Greg DiBiase, Owen Smigelski, Theo Geurts, Darcy Southwell, Jen Gore, Sara Bockey, and Ben Anderson. A big thank you to Michele Neylon, who as chair before me gave me a ship in good shape and has been a great contributor on the GNSO, and to James Bladel who’s always had time and wisdom to share with me.

I would be terribly remiss if I didn't also thank Sarah Wyld and Reg Levy for their help and support. They're just a delight to bounce terrible ideas around with.

I also need to thank Elliot Noss for both sharing his wisdom and experience when I needed it, and knowing when to let me learn things for myself.  That Tucows is willing to put so much time and energy into this space speaks volumes about the kind of company we are, and the person that Elliot is.

This job would be impossible without Zoe and her unfailing dedication. All of our successes are based on a foundation that she has built and maintained with grace and patience. Thank you Zoe.

Congratulations once again to Ashley, I’ve no doubt you’ll be an excellent chair. 

Thank you to the whole SG for your support. It has been fun, challenging, educating and above all an honour to serve you.