Tobie Langel

W3C, Inc. Board Elections

Hi and welcome!

My name is Tobie Langel and I’m running for a seat on the Board of W3C’s new legal entity.

I’ll add more information on this page about why I’m running, what I’m planning to do if I’m elected, etc. shortly. In the meantime, you can read my official statement below.

If you want to learn more about me, here’s a short bio, my LinkedIn profile, and my twitter account.

If you have questions, thoughts, or jsut want to chat about W3C, please feel free to just email me or schedule a call.

Tobie’s Statement

Re-posted from W3C’s nominations and statements page with a few links added.

I have been involved with W3C and web standards throughout my career and in a wide variety of roles. I’ve been the Advisory Committee Representative of one of the largest tech companies in the world (Facebook) and of one of the smallest (my own consultancy). I have created and co-chaired one of W3C first and largest community groups (Coremob). I have edited multiple specifications (Web IDL, Generic Sensor API) and contributed to many others at W3C and in other standard bodies. I leveraged my open source background to help accelerate and open up the spec editing process by moving it to GitHub, producing documentation to help editors get started and open source tools that you most probably still rely on today if you’re contributing to a spec.

As a W3C fellow, I led the effort that built the foundations of Web Platform Tests, working in close collaboration with W3C staff and the community to create the infrastructure, governance, process, and culture for the membership to embrace this effort and turn it into the incredibly successful initiative it is today.

More recently, I relied on the expertise in governance acquired through my consulting work and advisory roles with a number of nonprofits (notably OASIS Open, the OpenJS Foundation, the Organization for Ethical Source, and the Interledger Foundation), to prepare pro bono a report for the Advisory Board on what setting up W3C’s legal entity in Geneva, Switzerland, would look like.

To my surprise, Geneva ended up being the only alternative location presented to the Advisory Board.

That caught my attention. Why weren’t other alternatives proposed?

As I started looking more into the transition process, I noticed that this critical effort for the continuity of W3C was seriously underfunded, lacked clear leadership and direction, and wasn’t well communicated to the membership or to the broader web community. To make matters worse, not only was W3C staff stretched thin, so was the Advisory Board. And volunteers from the community well versed in governance and financials were few and far between.

In heavily member-driven organizations, leadership positions often require a significant time commitment. As Advisory Committee Representatives of smaller organizations are generally keenly aware, it’s never easy to carve out enough time to contribute meaningfully in such roles, doubly so when you’re also running a business or are a caregiver. This creates a real conundrum: what if you get elected but end up contributing far less than another, just as knowledgeable, candidate would have? I have avoided running for the TAG or the AB for this reason so far, despite many members reaching out over the years to suggest that I should.

This felt different. I was seeing W3C really struggle in areas where I have significant expertise: a lot of my consulting work involves governance and financials of US and Swiss nonprofits; not to mention running my own consulting firm. I decided to step up. And in order to provide this effort with the needed attention, I sought and secured initial funding from a nonprofit in order to support my work should I be elected.

I have a track record of collaborating effectively with W3C staff and the broader community, rolling my sleeves up, and not shying away from unglamorous infrastructure work that underpins the community; I have highly relevant expertise for this role; and I will be able to dedicate substantial time to move this effort forward.