Interview with Peter Smith

Github: @hellopetersmith

Where are you based?

Nashville, TN USA

What do you do (i.e. studying, working, etc.)?

I serve as the Operations & Finance Lead at OpenMined.

What   are   your   specialties   (i.e.   Python   development,   Javascript
development, community organization, etc.)?

My hard skills primarily lie in business financial management and business
process   management.   That   includes   building   financial   models,   cashflow management, forecasting, and building out business KPIs. Ultimately, finance is a tool to achieve a goal, so my high level focus in around the org mission and how to best achieve that mission. I am good at establishing and maintaining operational systems to help discern org goals and carry that through the organization effectively.

How and when did you originally come across OpenMined?

I originally joined OpenMined in late 2019 to help the manage partnerships. I knew Andrew Trask and had been following OpenMined through Slack. My coworker, Bennett Farkas, helped create the brand for OpenMined and continued to be involved. He asked if I would be interested
in helping support the partnerships team, which sounded fun and interesting, so I joined.

What was the first thing you started working on within OpenMined?

Once I joined the partnerships team, it became clear that there was opportunity for more structure around it. I worked with that team to setup a CRM and organize a weekly meeting to make sure we were keeping up with everything and prioritizing effectively. That structure eventually lead to the creation of the Mission team to help steer org decisions.

And what are you working on now?

I will be transitioning from a volunteer to a full-timer beginning in February, so I am currently gearing up for that transition. I will be helping to establish tighter org-wide process and systems to help us be successful. That will include optimizing the HR functions to help the org scale, auditing the tools we are using throughout the various teams, establishing an org operating system for planning and goal setting, among some other core org infrastructure needs.

What would you say to someone who wants to start contributing?

It’s a great team with a natural bend towards education. That means we have a culture of learning and a culture of teaching. Knowing that, I would encourage people to just jump in and start contributing at whatever level they feel comfortable.

Please recommend one interesting book, podcast or resource to the
OpenMined community.

Lots of options here, but I will go with the book "Great by Choice" by Jim Collins. The book is a study of the role luck plays in success. It looks at various competitors where a clear winner emerged and seeks to understand why certain orgs thrive while others struggle. It builds upon
the premise that all companies face “good luck events” and “bad luck events” and dives into case studies to see how various companies navigate each scenario. I won’t spoil it, but it’s a great example of the importance of execution to achieve uncommon success.