Centis BV

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#1
Legal Entity: Centis BV, incorporated in the Netherlands.

Guide Representative: Niels Klomp

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Hi All,

As a current guide for almost a year I believe people know both my strengths and weaknesses as a guide (and in life ;) ). I am a firm believer of the protocol, which I hope people have seen and continue to see, given the amount of time put into bringing both the protocol further from a governance perspective as well as bringing new people and entities to the protocol by having done several presentations and technical sessions with people not from one of my other affiliations, but as a representative of the protocol. I believe the guide role is one that brings parties within the system to another level, but is also one that together with marketing initiatives is a party that brings newcomers to the protocol like for instance clinical trials, governments and developers. Some interesting conversations have happend as part of my efforts to educate people on the protocol, where people of well established companies get rather excited about the offering of the protocol. I have also gotten a lot of good feedback on my medium article about the protocol. Both the teaching people about factom (not only the technical stuff), writing articles and getting people involved is something I'd like to expand on during a next term if reelected.

I believe one of the current most needed work is making sure we expand standing to FCT holders followed by users of the protocol. Although we have accomplished a whole lot last year in terms of governance and decentralization and it is not a project for the short term, one of the things that needs to be done ASAP is expand standing. Authority Node Operators will always play a dominant role within the ecosystem and that is fine, we are at 27 parties as of today in the protocol (25 ANOs + 2 guides from other entities, with ANO affiliations). From an outside perspective that could be seen to some degree as an old boys club. It is natural human behavior that people form fractions/collaborations. Our current decentralization isn't far enough to protect the protocol itself enough against certain parties becoming too powerful. That is why I believe that during next term we at a minimum should have expanded the type of standing to FCT holders and EC burners. This ties in both crypto people and users of the protocol to have a say, instead of the ones running the nodes alone. We are already in a position where the entities making current decisions are also in competition to some extend, which is fine, but we also need entities that are not in direct competition with current entities for us to thrive. Sometimes I feel that people are afraid of expanding standing parties, whilst I believe these parties are vital for our survival as a protocol. We really need people that pay the bills of current standing parties to make sure that current standing parties can do all in their power to bring more and more value to the protocol.

My main focus if reelected would be to find ways to expand on the above mainly:
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  1. Make sure our focus is on expanding standing parties from governance. The reason why I am also in several workgroups related to governance
  2. Bring new people and organizations to the ecosystem in the form of events and articles and making sure our ecosystem is as inclusive as possible
  3. Bring technical insights into governance, operations and development
  4. Make sure the technical parts that are most centralized get more decentralized as well (development approach/design, portainer and most importantly:
  5. Onchain governance/voting should become a reality this term

For people that want to know more about my career I defer to https://www.linkedin.com/in/niels-klomp/ I don't believe that listing in here what I have done and are doing should matter that much, as hopefully the people voting know what I will bring instead of relying on jobs/positions.
 
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#2
Thank you for volunteering for this challenging and valuable role.

At this stage I have one question for all of the prospective guides:

If you were able to change only one thing during your tenure what would that be, why would you choose it and what would you specifically bring that would make a difference to the outcome?

(I recognise that certain guides have already made some of these things explicit in their statement and do not expect them to have to repeat that, in which case a partial answer or simple reference to their statement will suffice.)
 
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#3
First, thank you for stepping up as a Candidate. Putting yourself out there like this is not easy and I appreciate your willingness and desire to work for the Protocol.

1. Thank you for sharing your LinkedIn.

2. Certain processes such as Document Ratification require a 4/5 vote from Guides prior to the process moving on to additional Standing Parties for a vote. Do you feel this is a centralization of power in the ecosystem? Why or why not? And under what circumstances would you vote "no" and gatekeep that process from progressing?

3. Do you feel Guides should always be a Standing Party? If so, why? If not, when would you like to see the role removed?

Thank you.
 
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#4
Thank you for volunteering for this challenging and valuable role.

At this stage I have one question for all of the prospective guides:

If you were able to change only one thing during your tenure what would that be, why would you choose it and what would you specifically bring that would make a difference to the outcome?

(I recognise that certain guides have already made some of these things explicit in their statement and do not expect them to have to repeat that, in which case a partial answer or simple reference to their statement will suffice.)
One thing we need the most IMO is additional standing parties as I mentioned in my opening post and have been mentioning on several occasions to prevent centralization of power and competition/infighting because current standing parties are also competitors in some cases (of which the grants are the most apparent). In order to achieve this we need technical solutions in the form of on-chain voting, standing, working toward as much on-chain governance as possible. I hope by now people know that I can combine high-level and critical thinking combined with technical expertise to provide my insights in how to solve problems. Then there is the point that I have been the guide that probably had pushed pursuing the additional standing the hardest. Where I have failed IMO is accepting that the technical realization of some components (identies, on-chain voting), would be required for first steps. The problem is hard and as a technical person you seek solutions by default in technical solutions. I proposed for instance to create self-organizing add interim standing for FCT holders. I didn't push that hard enough, as I knew back then (few months ago), that actual on-chain solutions would be at least 6-12 months out. I will make sure that we will pursue interim solutions and at least get timelines clear, so people know what to expect with regards to on-chain governance
 
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#5
First, thank you for stepping up as a Candidate. Putting yourself out there like this is not easy and I appreciate your willingness and desire to work for the Protocol.

1. Thank you for sharing your LinkedIn.
Have fun with it says the guy that has an aversion of social media platforms, because my ICQ list back then had hundreds and hundreds of people wanting my help in the 90's ;)

2. Certain processes such as Document Ratification require a 4/5 vote from Guides prior to the process moving on to additional Standing Parties for a vote. Do you feel this is a centralization of power in the ecosystem? Why or why not? And under what circumstances would you vote "no" and gatekeep that process from progressing?
Good question. IMO this is a delicate problem. In the core yes it is a centralization of power, simply because it would not get to the other standing parties of the guides voted no or do not vote. On the other hand are guides voted in/out by that same standing parties. So they hold the actual eventual power. This is the core of our role; to be the gatekeepers of proper processes and standing. Today we are needed to make sure the processes get created, identify the problems and come up with solutions. There is only one other party type so there would be no balance without guides. Then we get into one of my guide pledges; the additional standing. We need to do that soon and I would see it as a failure if we do not accomplish that expansion to FCT holders and protocol/EC users next term. Having said that, I probably have to explain to nobody that this is a proces that we have to do responsible and that this needs to be guide by us guides. Only if we mature in that process I would feel safe to relinquish much of the current guide standing and ratification control. Guides always include the standing parties in processes.

I would vote no if standing parties would include wording/clauses to documents that give them more power, or prevent new standing parties to not become standing parties. That is one of the fundamental reasons I applied/am a guide to begin with. People know I am also involved in the Factom (r) protocol from Sphereon, BIF and Triall, of which Sphereon is a commercial company that is heavily invested in the protocol. I applied during this term, to a degree with Sphereon in mind. As a business that is so heavily invested in the protocol it means that the governance and standing of the protocol needs to be in order, no single party needs to be all powerful (yes that also applies to Sphereon or my other affiliations). Power needs to be distributed and yes parties that are invested in the protocol through multiple means (FCT holding, EC burning, ANO, grants) might have a few tents of a percent more influence so to say than somebody with only some FCT, but it should never become so powerful that it dictates the direction of the protocol. That is the line for me (sorry for this wall of text btw)

3. Do you feel Guides should always be a Standing Party? If so, why? If not, when would you like to see the role removed?
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I partially answered that question above. To be honest I think guide will have standing for a long time in the future. Not as much as they have now though. I believe we will always need people in the real world to get some processes of the ground. Of course when the protocol matures, on-chain governance becomes more and more a reality and powers are nicely distributed, the whole governance and ratification role will diminish over time. The guide role will become more a facilitator and bringing new standing parties to the protocol. Of course if we would reorganize the role could be completely removed altogether. In the end it is all the standing parties that decide what happens to the guide role.
 
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#6
Hi Niels,

I consider you one of the most valuable players in this ecosystem vis-a-vis your roles in Sphereon, BIF, Triall and as a Guide, and I'm aware of the massive amounts of time you've committed and continue to commit to the ecosystem. We're truly lucky to have you. However, given your many roles and obligations, I worry that you will be over-committed and will not have sufficient time to dedicate specifically to the Guide role. Can you estimate the minimum amount of time you'll be able to dedicate to your role as a Guide each week should you be re-elected? Thanks!
 
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#7
Hi Sam,

I guess memory is short. In the first few week as guides we spent 40-50 hours a week on the governance stuff. I have been mostly hindered last 2,5 months by my new house for which I did a lot myself as well. I have been open about that up front and decided to keep on as a guide because that period would transpire. Last things are being done this week. That has been a huge time drain for me and people have of course noticed I wasn't around/involved as much.

I only work 4 days within Sphereon, but am in the office 5 days. We hired a lot of new talent last few months, among them is a Operations Manager, I development lead and Technical consultant. All roles I did as well, for me to focus more on my CTO roles. Of course that is to get more focus on it, but as you can imagine if we have 3 people doing fulltime what I also did part-time as my role (no I did not do everything of an operations manager of course), it also means my schedule is more manageable.

If you combine that I only work 4 days a week within Sphereon with the new hires that make my life easier and I have no walls/ceilings to create, I can easily dedicate 20 hours a week to my guide role if reelected just as I did in the past.
 
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#8
Firstly, thank you for putting yourself up for election for this important and challenging position! These are general questions that I am asking to all applicants. If you feel the questions are redundant to your previous replies. Feel free to cite that and move forward.

Having recently ratified changes to Doc 001 I would appreciate it if you could take a moment to explain how you will intend to carry out the following as a guide.

1. Under Guide eligibility standards.
(a) demonstrate independence in thought, leadership, and business
(b) be of good moral character with a demonstrated interest in the long term best interests of the protocol, willingness to serve the community of users, and history as a leader in the community.

2. Under Guide responsibilities
(a) make themselves available to the community
(b) Maintain orderly operation of the protocol network and facilitate the relationships between standing parties and the community. Further, by ensuring an adequate number of applicants to run a large enough pool of servers to ensure 65 servers are always available for the Authority Set.
(c) Be responsible for overseeing the application of the protocol governance to the operation of the the protocol.

Finally I see the responsibility of “Maintain orderly operation of the protocol” to extend beyond simply the technical and governance parts of the protocol and extending towards the wider community. Do you agree with this interpretation? If so how do you intend to achieve this?

As a guide up for reelection could you also please touch on how you have accomplished any of the elements listed above and how you intend too moving forward.

Thanks Again
 
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#9
For legal reasons, we elect entities, not individuals. As such, the entity is the Guide and not a single individual. Therefore, in theory at least, any individual under the entity's umbrella can act in a Guide manner. This creates a scenario where an entity could get elected and then bring in an unknown individual as a part of said entity to execute the Guide responsibilities.

So the question is: If elected, will any other individuals besides yourself be acting in a Guide capacity for your entity?

Thank You
 
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#10
Hi Dan,

Firstly, thank you for putting yourself up for election for this important and challenging position! These are general questions that I am asking to all applicants. If you feel the questions are redundant to your previous replies. Feel free to cite that and move forward.

Having recently ratified changes to Doc 001 I would appreciate it if you could take a moment to explain how you will intend to carry out the following as a guide.

1. Under Guide eligibility standards.
(a) demonstrate independence in thought, leadership, and business
(b) be of good moral character with a demonstrated interest in the long term best interests of the protocol, willingness to serve the community of users, and history as a leader in the community.

2. Under Guide responsibilities
(a) make themselves available to the community
(b) Maintain orderly operation of the protocol network and facilitate the relationships between standing parties and the community. Further, by ensuring an adequate number of applicants to run a large enough pool of servers to ensure 65 servers are always available for the Authority Set.
(c) Be responsible for overseeing the application of the protocol governance to the operation of the the protocol.
I combine these 2, since they fit closely together
I think me stressing to other people that we need to include additional standing parties even if we don't have the technical infrastructure in place for parties that will change outcomes of current votes because they have a different interest then current standing parties (FCT holders for instance) is a nice example.

Me reaching out to new parties, giving presentations to new parties, developers and consultants in name of the protocol, bringing clinical trials to Factom, being available in the market/general-chat channels, to explain people and answer any questions these future standing parties have are all examples of point b. W

Then we have the difference of opinions on matters between the guides. If you look in general it seems to me that Tor and I agree the most compared to the other guides. Of course we also have had some difference of opinions. With the other guides I did have more of those. That is good, because we don't want people to just follow eachother and only being interested in keeping the status quo, because nothing good will come out of it. BTW difference of opinions is not to be confused with respect, infighting or whatever. Just what it is; we sometimes have different opinions, but always manage to come to consensus as a team.

Finally I see the responsibility of “Maintain orderly operation of the protocol” to extend beyond simply the technical and governance parts of the protocol and extending towards the wider community. Do you agree with this interpretation? If so how do you intend to achieve this?

As a guide up for reelection could you also please touch on how you have accomplished any of the elements listed above and how you intend too moving forward.

Thanks Again
I agree with your interpretation yes, given my examples above (reaching out to holders, developers, consultants and interested parties). I find that besides all the governance work one of the important goals for guides, hence me mentioning to want to expand that further when being reelected.
 
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#11
For legal reasons, we elect entities, not individuals. As such, the entity is the Guide and not a single individual. Therefore, in theory at least, any individual under the entity's umbrella can act in a Guide manner. This creates a scenario where an entity could get elected and then bring in an unknown individual as a part of said entity to execute the Guide responsibilities.

So the question is: If elected, will any other individuals besides yourself be acting in a Guide capacity for your entity?

Thank You
Hi Matt,

It was a conscious choice to not be a guide as the BIF or Sphereon entities. Centis BV is a consultancy firm which through 2 holding companies is 100% owned by me personally. So no there will not be anybody other than me being the representative for Centis BV. Simply because I will take that role, but also because the entity is there as a protection for me as a natural person. I cannot let non owners of the company speak or act for the company in that capacity anyway ;)
 
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#12
As a former Guide, I can speak from experience that being a Guide is time consuming and can be stressful. It can take critical time away from one's duties to their ANO yet the health of your ANO is paramount to the network. Is your ANO in good health where you can work less on it and does your business partner(s) or employer support your running for Guide?
 
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#13
Yes my ANO isn't running as a guide. But it is in good enough position because we invested in BIF beforehand. I am personally financially in a good position anyway (besides my new house costing an arm and a leg ;) ) and Sphereon is heavily invested in the protocol from a business perspective as well, so yes I have the full support of my team and business partners. You can always ask @mboender and @Sebastian of course.
 
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#14
Hi Niels,
Thank you for running for a second term as Guide. While the community greatly appreciates everything you are doing with Sphereon and Triall, we also pay extra close attention to when you speak. As news to no one, you have one of the most highly valued voices in the community.

Congratulations on the new house. I know that was incredibly time consuming and took a lot of time away from Factom Guide responsibilities (as you warned us it would). In addition to the time suck of a new house, my personal opinion is that you were also burnt out. That's a result of previously having been available near 24/7. For those unaware, Niels was (still does?) only sleeping four or so hours a night. Point being, I completely understand why you were away for a bit. I'd like to stress though (as I did in Brian's thread) that an absence of a Guide places a tremendous burden on the other Guides, even causing those Guides themselves to potentially burnout. I think we learned this lesson as a protocol over the past 4-5 months. I hope all Guides and potential Guides are cognizant of this going forward. I guess that's the point of this write-up. :)

For the record, I know you put a lot of thought into whether to run as Guide again, so I do not have any concerns about your dedication going forward. I know that if you were not able to dedicate the proper amount of time, then you would not have run again. I know you'll do a great job; I look forward to voting for you.
 
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#15
Matt that is pure speculation on your side and completely false. I am in no way burned out. So instead of posting that out here, I would have really appreciated it if your thoughts would have been verified with the person in question itself instead of suggesting something to other people while somebody is running.

I have had this amount of sleep for 15+ years. So no that has also nothing to do with it. I was simply working myself on my new house. As simple as I explained up front.

Btw thanks for the rest, but the middle part is based on false conjecture/speculation which doesn't help a bit when somebody is running for a position ;)
 
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#17
I think you are reading way too much into this. Maybe we're losing something in translation here also... Burned-out in the US is used pretty freely, it doesn't carry negative connotations. In fact, it's basically a badge of honor since it means someone pushed themselves to the limit because they worked so hard. That describes your work ethic. And no, I do not think you are burnt out right now. Apologies if it came across that way.

Anyway, my intentions were never to offend. You're obviously an invaluable member of the community and an ideal Guide. As said previously, "I know you'll do a great job; I look forward to voting for you."
 
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#18
Burned out is an actual health condition in Dutch, which typically means somebody is 100% out the running for many months typically. So it might be that there is a difference in this with other languages. If so then yes I probably overreacted, if that is the same in the US, then no I have no burnout (not saying it could never happen of course, heaven forbid). No I really have been doing manual labor in my house which is pretty big, so I miscalculated the actual amount of work/time it would take. And yes any additional bandwidth was gone. People that do manual labor that are not used to it, whilst still working as well, probably know that it is tiring more than you are used to.

So yes your post is spot on, no I have no burnout, yes I was of course more tired and had muscle pain and stuff, but that was because I am not used to do stuff with my hands besides typing ;)
 
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#19
Can show you some nice walls, ceilings and floors of course ;)

For the rest. Matt and I talked about it. It seems that we had a nice language barrier/wording issue. A burnout is a mental health condition over here in NL that is what a mental breakdown is in the US. Hence me reacting the way I did and Matt obviously trying to point out something different than that.
 
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#21
Hi Sam,

I guess memory is short. In the first few week as guides we spent 40-50 hours a week on the governance stuff. I have been mostly hindered last 2,5 months by my new house for which I did a lot myself as well. I have been open about that up front and decided to keep on as a guide because that period would transpire. Last things are being done this week. That has been a huge time drain for me and people have of course noticed I wasn't around/involved as much.
There's nothing wrong with my memory, thanks. I'm aware of how much time you put in to the position originally and the reason why you've been absent the past 2.5 months.

Niels Klomp said:
I can easily dedicate 20 hours a week to my guide role if reelected just as I did in the past.
Great, thank you for answering my question.
 
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#24
Thx all for the questions. Of course people have seen me reacting in the above thread. I guess that shows that yes I have my own opinion ;) and also do not shy away to let people hear my voice in public.

People do need to understand though that some people in this ecosystem talk to outside parties a lot to bring them in one way or another to the protocol. Some of these parties will do their due diligence. If we then have people making a claim based on a guess which isn't verified and apparently has a different weight/meaning in another language it shows we need to be careful about that type of interactions. Imagine what happens if a large entity is either looking at the protocol, Sphereon, BIF or any combination after talking to me? That is what is happening, which most people probably are unaware of. Personal opinions soon become the truth and we need to watch out for that.

Same for the way I reacted about the my time and whether I can dedicate enough time. I reacted on purpose about memory seeming short. I have obviously put in a lot of time this round, which was divided unevenly over time, with a lot of weight in the beginning. People tend to only look short term (not saying Sam is, but others might->hence my reaction). I do get people's concern because I was less visible during 2,5 months and that impacts other guides. I am running because I believe in the protocol and am heavily invested with Sphereon/BIF and our clients in the protocol. If I would not be able to dedicate enough time, that means I would negatively impact that investment myself which doesn't make a whole lot of sense. So believe me that I have been thinking this through really carefully when deciding to run again. I hope I explained in earlier posts why I am in a position where that time is available to me. I would not have ran and certainly resign if for whatever unforeseen reason that would change.

Let me conclude with thanking everybody for their input, ideas, blood sweat and tears last year. Let's make next term the term where the protocol shines and good luck to all fellow guide candidates.