ICANN’s new interim CEO Sally Costerton addressed the community in her new role for what I believe was the first time last Thursday, in a call with the GNSO Council.
The hour-long call was meant to discuss the outcomes of the Council’s Strategic Planning Session a month ago, but it also served as a Q&A between councilors and Costerton.
The last 15 minutes are of particular interest, especially if you’re one of the people concerned about ICANN’s devolution into a “do-nothing” organization over the last several years.
At that mark, Thomas Rickert of the trade group eco addressed the issue in a lengthy comment in which he pointed out that ICANN has been moving so slowly of late that even lumbering governmental institutions such as the European Union have come to realize that it’s faster to legislate on issues such as Whois than to wait for ICANN to sort it out.
He also pointed to the community’s pain of waiting a year for the recent Operational Design Assessment for the next round of new gTLDs, and its shock that the ODA pointed to an even more-expensive round that could take five years or more to come to fruition.
“I’ve heard many in the community say that the operational design reports come up with a level of complexity and diligence that stands in the way of being efficient,” he said. “So maybe the perfect is the enemy of the good.”
ICANN should be brave, dig its heels in, and get stuff done, he remarked.
Costerton seemed to enjoy the critique, suggesting that the recording of Rickert’s comments should be circulated to other ICANN staff.
She described herself as a “pragmatist rather than an ideologue”.
“I so want to say you’re absolutely right, Thomas, I completely agree with you 100%, we should just get it done,” she said. “Good is good enough. Perfect is the enemy of the good — I like that expression, I think it very often is.”
Costerton said she has to balance getting stuff done with threats from governments and the risk of being “overwhelmed by aggressive litigation”. She said that ICANN needs “a framework around us that protects us”.
Getting that balance right is the tricky bit, she indicated.
Costerton, who took her new role at the end of last year following Göran Marby’s unexpected resignation, did not tip her hand on whether she plans to apply to have the “interim” removed from her job title. It is known that she has applied at least once before.
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