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Old Apr 15, 14, 7:41 pm   #46
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Originally Posted by kokonutz View Post
I believe they were working on MilePoint for quite some time, and that Gary only resigned from TB when their new venture actually launched.

Gary Resigned TB Feb 4, 11, 6:46 am.

MilePoint Beta launch Feb 4, 2011 12:00 AM

Buuuuuuut according to this Randy Petersen post on MP, the idea to create a site to compete with FlyerTalk was Gary, Tommy and Ed's idea, not his.
I'm not sure if you're supporting my point or countering it ... I have no doubt he had been working on MilePoint for a while. Did he tell all the folks he solicited for votes when running for TB then as TB President that he was working on a competing venture? Is it was ethical to be working on a competing commercial venture at all while he was on TB or serving as TB President? I do not believe so.
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Old Apr 15, 14, 7:54 pm   #47
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Originally Posted by Beckles View Post
I'm not sure if you're supporting my point or countering it ... I have no doubt he had been working on MilePoint for a while. Did he tell all the folks he solicited for votes when running for TB then as TB President that he was working on a competing venture? Is it was ethical to be working on a competing commercial venture at all while he was on TB or serving as TB President? I do not believe so.
I'm not really passing judgment. Just pointing out that Gary was a TB member and TB President as well as a senior moderator when he, Ed and Tommy apparently approached Randy about starting a site to compete with FT after Randy's non-compete with IB expired, held those positions when he was working with Ed and Tommy and Randy on creating the site and held those positions up until the morning their venture launched only since you seem to be interested in how that went down.

I personally have mixed feelings about that. So I'll leave judgment to others.
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Old Apr 15, 14, 8:01 pm   #48
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Originally Posted by kokonutz View Post
I'm not really passing judgment. Just pointing out that Gary was a TB member and TB President as well as a senior moderator when he, Ed and Tommy apparently approached Randy about starting a site to compete with FT after Randy's non-compete with IB expired, held those positions when he was working with Ed and Tommy and Randy on creating the site and held those positions up until the morning their venture launched only since you seem to be interested in how that went down.
And what I don't know about that timeline is when he campaigned to be elected to the TB and then as TB President, and then informed the members of FT that voted him to those positions of his involvement in a competing venture, but that timing would not change my opinion that it was unethical of him to hold those positions at FT while he was involved in MP in any capacity.
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Old Apr 16, 14, 5:21 am   #49
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I believe the smearing going on here -- based entirely on speculation and not fact -- is beneath the dignity of members. (In addition to being rather off-topic )

I don't want to get into any pitched battles. There are some inaccurate insinuations that go directly to my integrity. Hopefully I can clear some things up. And hopefully folks can return to more productive issues of miles and points.

Timeline of my Flyertalk involvement

I joined Flyertalk in April 2001, having lurked a bit before that. I believe I first stumbled upon Flyertalk through a reference on Holly Hegeman's PlaneBusiness site. I've mentioned this to Holly but am not 100% certain.

I attended my first Flyertalk event in October 2001. Randy Petersen was on his 'come fly with me' tour, non-stop flying to all of the states flown to by US Airways as part of promoting time to get back in the air after 9/11. He came through DCA and a bunch of folks turned up at Legal Seafood there. I remember introducing myself as someone who read a lot but rarely posted.

I first became a Flyertalk moderator in January 2003 and served in that capacity for 8 years.

I was first elected to Talkboard in September 2003 and served in that capacity for over 7 years. [kokonutz would suggest that was too long and he may well be right.]

In the summer of 2004 cblaisd and I worked to flesh out and test the 'SuperModerator' program which became the Senior Moderators the following year, with SanDiego1K and Canarsie added that fall. I suggested the name 'Moderator at Large' instead, or 'M@L'. No one ever said I was any good at names.

My memory is fuzzy on all of this, but I think I was elected TalkBoard President in the fall of 2005..

What this will point to, of course, is that I was on an odd-year election cycle. I was re-elected to TalkBoard in 2009. I was not up for election by the membership in 2010.

Furthermore, I ran for re-election as TalkBoard President in November 2010 and was actually re-elected a few days into December. At that point I had no plans to start another frequent flyer community.

My engagement in Fall 2010

When Randy announced his departure from Flyertalk in November 2010, the actual idea that some of us had (Randy had no part of) was first to buy back Flyertalk and bring back Randy. This was all an emotional decision rather than a business one. When I was re-elected as TalkBoard President I had this crazy idea of putting some investors together. But Internet Brands wasn't interested.

I cared deeply about Flyertalk, Internet Brands had already approached me a few months earlier about the path forward and my interest in a formal role and I advocated with JohnMcG that the best win for them would be to sell SanDiego1K on becoming Community Director and I'm thrilled to see how well she has done managing such a challenging role for the benefit of all members here.

Point is that contra the smearing above, during the time that I was running for re-election to TalkBoard I was completely engaged with Flyertalk's future and advocating for what I thought would be its best course (although of course reasonable people can disagree with that course).

Spinning Up a New Venture in January 2011 and Launching in February

It was January 2011 when Ed, Tommy, Randy and I sat down for a full day to talk about another community. We spent the day in my office in Arlington, Virginia and went on through dinner across the street.

There was a month's work at that point, and we never intended to be ready at the beginning of February... the idea was a very soft launch in the evening on February 4 so that a small group of interested frequent flyers could begin to introduce content onto the site. (When ingy posted about how to sign up for Milepoint on his blog I actually asked him to take it down!)

And incidentally at the time there was no agreement even that I would have a small minority interest in the new site. It was just about doing something cool and with Randy.

My Decision to Resign from TalkBoard

My private resignation to SanDiego1K came before my public resignation, but in truth it actually took me a few weeks to realize that I should step down (to everyone else it was probably obvious, but in my mind it at least it wasn't a competitor, and my reason for resigning was more that I wasn't going to be able to give Flyertalk the attention and focus it deserved given the new venture rather than any sort of conflict; in hindsight it's obvious that at a minimum it was going to be perceived as a conflict and so my resignation was absolutely required).

My Love for Flyertalk

For me Milepoint was a passion project, coming out of my overall feelings towards Randy and desire to be a part of a community that he would lead, and an opportunity to try to serve a different group of flyers in a different way.

I am in no way critical of Flyertalk, given the role I played here for many years I always considered any shortcomings to have been on me -- which is to say at a minimum that I had failed to change or fix it.

I've gained tremendous learning and lifelong friendships from my time here. I'd like to think that i gave back in both learning for other members and in service, but given how rich my own life has been as a result of the relationships built I'll never consider the scales equal. But I'd like to think that I'll always have a home here, this is where I went to college in some sense.

After more than a decade it was time for something else for me, but I still spend countless hours every day helping frequent flyers in a variety of days and I hope that counts for something.

I'm actually getting choked up about all of this, because I still do have a great love for this community despite the rocks and arrows that get thrown my way from time to time here.

Best,
Gary
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Old Apr 16, 14, 5:35 am   #50
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Originally Posted by Beckles View Post
And what I don't know about that timeline is when he campaigned to be elected to the TB and then as TB President, and then informed the members of FT that voted him to those positions of his involvement in a competing venture, but that timing would not change my opinion that it was unethical of him to hold those positions at FT while he was involved in MP in any capacity.
I voted for him and I'd vote for him again. Do you really believe he'd even consider sabotaging FT? I would be more likely to believe that the 14 year old Dutch girl tweeting AA as "Ibrahim from Afghanistan" is a member of Al-Qaeda and should be placed on a government no-fly list for life .... and I don't believe that either.
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Old Apr 16, 14, 6:08 am   #51
  
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... I'm actually getting choked up about all of this, because I still do have a great love for this community despite the rocks and arrows that get thrown my way from time to time here.

Best,
Gary
Gary, just wanted to say that your post was an excellent one and that you can definitely feel your love for the flying community at large. I only wish I could contribute 1/10 to some community as you have to this one. Keep it up!
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Old Apr 16, 14, 6:16 am   #52
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Originally Posted by gleff View Post
I believe the smearing going on here -- based entirely on speculation and not fact -- is beneath the dignity of members. (In addition to being rather off-topic )

I don't want to get into any pitched battles. There are some inaccurate insinuations that go directly to my integrity. Hopefully I can clear some things up. And hopefully folks can return to more productive issues of miles and points.
Wise words (as usual). Which is a perfect occasion for me to ask members to keep this section of the new & improved rules in mind when responding to this thread.

Regards Oliver2002
Mod EM&PR
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Old Apr 16, 14, 6:36 am   #53
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Originally Posted by gleff View Post
My private resignation to SanDiego1K came before my public resignation, but in truth it actually took me a few weeks to realize that I should step down (to everyone else it was probably obvious, but in my mind it at least it wasn't a competitor, and my reason for resigning was more that I wasn't going to be able to give Flyertalk the attention and focus it deserved given the new venture rather than any sort of conflict; in hindsight it's obvious that at a minimum it was going to be perceived as a conflict and so my resignation was absolutely required).
Maybe you are referring to someone else's postings, but you seem to be agreeing with me but then characterizing what I said as smearing and undignified.
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Old Apr 16, 14, 7:47 am   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gleff View Post
I believe the smearing going on here -- based entirely on speculation and not fact -- is beneath the dignity of members. (In addition to being rather off-topic )

I don't want to get into any pitched battles. There are some inaccurate insinuations that go directly to my integrity. Hopefully I can clear some things up. And hopefully folks can return to more productive issues of miles and points.

Timeline of my Flyertalk involvement

I joined Flyertalk in April 2001, having lurked a bit before that. I believe I first stumbled upon Flyertalk through a reference on Holly Hegeman's PlaneBusiness site. I've mentioned this to Holly but am not 100% certain.

I attended my first Flyertalk event in October 2001. Randy Petersen was on his 'come fly with me' tour, non-stop flying to all of the states flown to by US Airways as part of promoting time to get back in the air after 9/11. He came through DCA and a bunch of folks turned up at Legal Seafood there. I remember introducing myself as someone who read a lot but rarely posted.

I first became a Flyertalk moderator in January 2003 and served in that capacity for 8 years.

I was first elected to Talkboard in September 2003 and served in that capacity for over 7 years. [kokonutz would suggest that was too long and he may well be right.]

In the summer of 2004 cblaisd and I worked to flesh out and test the 'SuperModerator' program which became the Senior Moderators the following year, with SanDiego1K and Canarsie added that fall. I suggested the name 'Moderator at Large' instead, or 'M@L'. No one ever said I was any good at names.

My memory is fuzzy on all of this, but I think I was elected TalkBoard President in the fall of 2005..

What this will point to, of course, is that I was on an odd-year election cycle. I was re-elected to TalkBoard in 2009. I was not up for election by the membership in 2010.

Furthermore, I ran for re-election as TalkBoard President in November 2010 and was actually re-elected a few days into December. At that point I had no plans to start another frequent flyer community.

My engagement in Fall 2010

When Randy announced his departure from Flyertalk in November 2010, the actual idea that some of us had (Randy had no part of) was first to buy back Flyertalk and bring back Randy. This was all an emotional decision rather than a business one. When I was re-elected as TalkBoard President I had this crazy idea of putting some investors together. But Internet Brands wasn't interested.

I cared deeply about Flyertalk, Internet Brands had already approached me a few months earlier about the path forward and my interest in a formal role and I advocated with JohnMcG that the best win for them would be to sell SanDiego1K on becoming Community Director and I'm thrilled to see how well she has done managing such a challenging role for the benefit of all members here.

Point is that contra the smearing above, during the time that I was running for re-election to TalkBoard I was completely engaged with Flyertalk's future and advocating for what I thought would be its best course (although of course reasonable people can disagree with that course).

Spinning Up a New Venture in January 2011 and Launching in February

It was January 2011 when Ed, Tommy, Randy and I sat down for a full day to talk about another community. We spent the day in my office in Arlington, Virginia and went on through dinner across the street.

There was a month's work at that point, and we never intended to be ready at the beginning of February... the idea was a very soft launch in the evening on February 4 so that a small group of interested frequent flyers could begin to introduce content onto the site. (When ingy posted about how to sign up for Milepoint on his blog I actually asked him to take it down!)

And incidentally at the time there was no agreement even that I would have a small minority interest in the new site. It was just about doing something cool and with Randy.

My Decision to Resign from TalkBoard

My private resignation to SanDiego1K came before my public resignation, but in truth it actually took me a few weeks to realize that I should step down (to everyone else it was probably obvious, but in my mind it at least it wasn't a competitor, and my reason for resigning was more that I wasn't going to be able to give Flyertalk the attention and focus it deserved given the new venture rather than any sort of conflict; in hindsight it's obvious that at a minimum it was going to be perceived as a conflict and so my resignation was absolutely required).

My Love for Flyertalk

For me Milepoint was a passion project, coming out of my overall feelings towards Randy and desire to be a part of a community that he would lead, and an opportunity to try to serve a different group of flyers in a different way.

I am in no way critical of Flyertalk, given the role I played here for many years I always considered any shortcomings to have been on me -- which is to say at a minimum that I had failed to change or fix it.

I've gained tremendous learning and lifelong friendships from my time here. I'd like to think that i gave back in both learning for other members and in service, but given how rich my own life has been as a result of the relationships built I'll never consider the scales equal. But I'd like to think that I'll always have a home here, this is where I went to college in some sense.

After more than a decade it was time for something else for me, but I still spend countless hours every day helping frequent flyers in a variety of days and I hope that counts for something.

I'm actually getting choked up about all of this, because I still do have a great love for this community despite the rocks and arrows that get thrown my way from time to time here.

Best,
Gary
Thanks for providing the details, and confirming the timeline.

You made choices that were best for you and followed your heart. Good for you!

But I don't believe anyone smeared you. As you point out yourself, you probably should have resigned the day you started working on MilePoint (and congratulations on getting such a robust site together in one month!!!). But you didn't and some (including Beckles, apparently) may view that as having been inappropriate (again, a point you seem to concede).

And for the record, yes, I do think 7 years is WAY too long to serve on TB. Fortunately we have term limits now.

Now for Moderator term limits... <ducking>
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Old Apr 16, 14, 7:53 am   #55
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Now for Moderator term limits... <ducking>
How about Ambassador term limits...
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Old Apr 16, 14, 7:55 am   #56
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How about Ambassador term limits...
Isn't an FT Ambassadorship like a Federal judgeship, until death or debilitation?
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Old Apr 16, 14, 8:02 am   #57
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Isn't an FT Ambassadorship like a Federal judgeship, until death or debilitation?
Just like moderator terms. Though mods can also be fired, it turns out. I assume the same can happen for ambassadors.
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Old Apr 16, 14, 8:02 am   #58
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Originally Posted by kokonutz View Post
As you point out yourself, you probably should have resigned the day you started working on MilePoint (and congratulations on getting such a robust site together in one month!!!). But you didn't and some (including Beckles, apparently) may view that as having been inappropriate (again, a point you seem to concede).
If the complaint were really that I should have resigned three weeks earlier than I did then we can have that discussion (re-reading posts above that's certainly not how it comes across) although it seems an exceptionally minor one to be having now more than three years later.

In any case, this thread notwithstanding I guess I finally just came over to your side, koko, and imposed on myself a poster term limit after a decade.

Best,
Gary
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Old Apr 16, 14, 8:34 am   #59
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Thanks for providing the details, and confirming the timeline.
There was at least one meeting, held in November 2010, missing from the timeline. I was at that meeting and, among other things, a new domain name was registered as part of the brainstorming process for possibly building a new site/community. Ultimately that domain name was not used and the discussions shifted after that point, but I know that both gleff and I were in the room when it happened.

Perhaps we have different views of the purpose of that meeting or the actions taken during and after it. I know that gleff's recollection of that meeting do not completely mesh with mine.

Last edited by sbm12; Apr 16, 14 at 8:42 am
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Old Apr 16, 14, 8:47 am   #60
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There was at least one meeting, held in November 2010, missing from the timeline. I was at that meeting and, among other things, a new domain name was registered as part of the brainstorming process for possibly building a new site/community. Ultimately that domain name was not used and the discussions shifted after that point, but I know that both gleff and I were in the room when it happened.

Perhaps we have different views of the purpose of that meeting or the actions taken during and after it.
Tommy and Ed came down to my office for a meeting that I expected to be about the hair-brained idea of acquiring Flyertalk. Seth came to the meeting too (I don't know how that came about), and so the idea was off the table for discussion.

We talked mostly about the future of the Frequent Traveler Awards, about doing a first Frequent Traveler University I think as well. I don't remember how it came about, but I sat there while Seth registered "milestalk.com" himself. (I didn't try to shut down any such conversations as I tend to keep my own counsel, other than pointing out that it could equally be read as "Mile Stalk" which isn't very good.)

At that time all I was interested in was picking up the pieces from Randy's announcement at the moderator meeting in Seattle the week before that he would no longer have a day to day role at Flyertalk. I had spent much of the aftermath of that meeting talking moderators down off of resigning on the spot, suggesting that they at least have a cooling off period. I was doing my best for Flyertalk, while for a few weeks pursuing the dream of bringing back what (in my emotional view at the time) it had been to me.

I got a firm no on that The holidays came around, end of year at work, and so to be clear it was as 2011 began that I became a part of any meaningful discussions about any other site.
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