Meeting Notes 2012 07 31
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====Thiel Money==== :''[[Grants/tf2012|Text of agreement]]. Previously discussed at meetings on [[Meeting Notes 2012 06 26|June 26]], [[Meeting Notes 2012 07 03|July 3]], [[Meeting Notes 2012 07 10|July 10]], [[Meeting Notes 2012 07 17|July 17]], and [[Meeting Notes 2012 07 24|July 24]]. Malaclyps: I would be worried if we spent 10K on party + sent someone to Singapore (like last time), I would feel guilty because I work w/ foundation. So this 10 grand will go to our prudent reserve. So I wouldn't want to spend it on specific projects, just two months' rent. The other objection that had been cited was that the Thiel foundation connected to Peter Thiel, and Peter Thiel connected to Palantir, which datamines for the state. Leif: Not the problem that Palantir datamines for the state, but that it was mentioned in the Bank of America-connected attack on journalists reporting on Wikileaks. He is also not a fan of the source of Thiel's wealth: PayPal + Facebook. He agreed long ago at last meetings to stand aside but thinks we really, really shouldn't do this. It's not as no-strings-attached as it's being made to sound. I understand we can pay rent, but if they wanted to sue, which he doesn't think they do, they could. It's important to understand that we are entering into a contract that says this $10,000 is only for operating expenses and we can give them a receipt, but that doesn't make me feel any better about this. Ben: Doesn't see a problem. That's what they ''want'' us to spend it on. Leif: But we're ALREADY paying our rent. Malaclyps: I've worked w/ Thiel fund a lot in past couple of years. I'm not sure he can speak to all the connections, but I can really say they would be totally happy spending this on rent, I'm totally happy being the person saying we spent it on rent, I have a continuing relationship with them so I would lose a lot more than just getting sued as a board member, so willing to put a lot more than that on the line for this, including my current job. Alex: Have had dealings with "PayPal mafia." At [[Hackmeet]] a while ago, a friend of his "hazed" him for wearing a T-shirt which has a Palantir logo on it. Feels bad being associated with Palantir on the face of it, but the shirt is for an organization called Hack the Future and a bunch of people who work at Palantir help with that, are just hackers like us who happen to work for a shady company. Met the CEO of Palantir and asked him right out, "How do you explain your own actions?" said they wanted to make this software to make sure no one would abuse software like it But there's also the thing this is about, which is the 20 Under 20... speaking tomorrow at Hackademic camp. unschooling folks...was originally asked by Danielle about coming to Noisebridge. Hasn't seen contract till tonight but only has obligation of one 501(c)3 to another. The Thiel fellowship is just a bunch of smart kids under 20, and we should welcome them. I hope when someone says, "I heard about this from the Thiel fellowship," that we don't attack those newcomers. There's the utopian positive arm of Thiel's work, and then there's the evil capitalist arm, but the utopians are awesome. Lizzard: That touches on the other thing brought up, you mention your T-shirt as an example; people felt that the fact that you're wearing it "excuses them" because they are using Alex' social capital to deflect from their negative image. Malaclyps: Just to be explicit, Thiel Foundation is different from Palantir. And I also don't think TF is particularly interested in riding off Noisebridge's social capital. They have plenty from other eccentric hacker projects. Alex: When there's a direct "this is going into bed with this group," but here it's enough places removed it shouldn't be an issue. Used to black-marker all Microsoft logos off his shirts but hasn't gotten around to it with Hack the Future tees. Malaclyps: Proposes putting up for consensus. Carlos: Asks what Leif would do if it passed consensus. Leif: Would not block, but would stop paying Noisebridge dues for 1 year. Will probably spend his personal surplus on nb projects Moderator: Proposals for next week... Malaclyps: No, no, no! Consensus! You need to do the magic words. Stand aside? Block? As such, it is the consensus of Noisebridge that we are taking this money. Malaclyps: Yuck! Does everyone *really* feel okay with this? Snail: Asks whether consensus has do-overs. Malaclyps: Is that consensus? I don't think it is.<br> Is anybody enthusiastic about taking this money? (Murmurs of assent) Malaclyps: We should formally note what it is spent for in consensus. Snail: So we don't have long discussions on what it's spent on Malaclyps: Trying to find wording that makes us feel better about taking the money. Worried Leif + Carlos aren't happy. Carlos: Agrees with Leif. Alex: Missed last discussion, doesn't want to rehash, but what in particular about Peter Thiel? Carlos: Feels like it's another individual who's washing their money with a non-profit. Happens a lot in the Bay. I cannot assure to you that Peter does that, I don't have time nor info for that, but as an individual who wants to defend himself with the facts, and know what is really going on? Malaclyps: Heard last meeting that it was a sort of money-laundering tax dodge; this isn't how tax dodges work, he doesn't pay any less tax. Leif: A charitable foundation is very much a tax shelter; that may be pejorative, it is legal, but it's true. He's a wealthy libertarian. All billionaries have nonprofits and it's not because they're all really nice people. The rule is they have to spend 5% of total value and don't pay taxes on profit from investments so he can give away and invest in for-profit enterprises. Eric: It doesn't actually work that way. For instance if I'm a 501(c)3 and you decide you're going to invest in a non-profit, there is intense shit you have to go through with the board. No, he doesn't pay taxes, but it's not really his money anymore, the board controls it, even if he gets a director's salary.<br> What Leif says, on multigenerational level, has merit but in single generation doesn't work that way. Moderator: Have we arrived at any new conclusions about our stance? Carlos: Nothing against ... but believes Noisebridge can really succeed independently. Malaclyps: I do, too... I've been wavering on this too, and I think the thing that convinced me is to push this more was that we get a fair bit of our money that we use on a regular basis from checks of this size - maybe not quite, but one month ago we got one for $5,000 from a Silicon Valley charity, so it's my feeling that this money, aside from this contract that we have to sign, is pretty much part of the ebb and flow of money that we get, and how we get money is to get donations like this. Agrees we need to maintain independence, but our independence depends on the sporadic charity of individuals like this and doesn't really change how we work. Alex: It's not a great outcome if everyone feels like this is dirty money and these are bad people. There are all these super-science save-the-world type of projects and I don't think they're evil. I think if a bunch of people from 20 Under 20 show up, it's a good source of new awesome hackers, and there's a bunch of people from Palantir who already show up to use Noisebridge. Leif: They're as welcome as anyone else to use Noisebridge, and they're welcome to be members but that's not related to the grant. Malaclyps: Would like to try to retry the consensus, reworded to say we're going to use money exclusively for paying rent (later operating expenses) Leif: Thinks we should write down how many people are standing aside: at least 2 + maybe more... There were 4 two weeks ago, and Danny withdrew it. Malaclyps: Because if there were 4 stand asides we should talk about it some more. Not saying this as a threat, but he's only doing it this week because there was a strong consensus that he should do it one more week, but he's not going to bring this up again. And the foundation is totally fine either way. Standing aside: Leif, Carlos, El Presidente - doesn't want her executive powers to present a conflict of interest. ---- Wording of the consensus: It is consensus of Noisebridge that the grant be accepted, and the money be used exclusively for paying operating expenses. ---- Standing aside: Leif, Carlos, Snail.
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