cPanel VP of Operations, Aaron Phillips; Why We're on Board with i2C

As the VP of cPanel Operations, I receive a huge number of cold calls, sales pitches, and emails. One discussion I recall vividly from years past was from a passionate young man on a mission to “Save Hosting”. By nature I am a skeptic, and quite honestly in the past 10 years, I have been asked to join, start, or participate in no less than 3 organizations focused on this same mission. In all prior attempts, organizations relied on guerrilla marketing or had aspirations that just ended up being unobtainable. Nonetheless, I enjoy a good cause and have always listened, provided feedback, and in some cases, went so far as to participate in the planning process.

At HostingCon 2012, I spent some time chatting with Christian Dawson about the new iteration of Save Hosting, now being dubbed The Internet Infrastructure Coalition. I didn’t let Christian off the hook with easy questions, rather I wanted to know some very specific execution items, like mission of the organization, current members, how they were going to raise money and more importantly how they were going to make a difference.

The mission:

Represent the interests of our industry on Capitol Hill and relevant regulatory agencies;
Educate members of Congress, other key legislative, and regulatory stakeholders on the complexities and workings of the Internet;
Develop & share best business practices with fellow members;
Educate the media about the Industry; and
Promote the Industry’s message to internal & external constituencies.

The nuts and bolts:

The Internet Infrastructure Coalition has a strong start with key players in the industry pulling together to get this off the ground, but there is a sense of reality. Most members of the i2C have busy careers that simply do not allow us to spend 50 hours a week devoted to causes. Getting an audience with, and educating Capitol Hill, isn’t going to be an easy task. The difference with the i2C plan is that some of the greatest minds in the hosting industry have pulled together to develop a strategy that includes the utilization of outside resources in an effort to help chart the course, and get the attention we need.

I work for a company that has core values centered around making a difference in the world. We contribute to causes such as Stop SOPA, open source projects, and participate in various communities.

What made i2C Different?

The first noticeable difference is that i2C has goals and focus. They had a notable celebrity, Christian Dawson, leading the way. When launching this, they went out to key industry leaders to get involvement, and in the process, they enlisted charter members that have the strategic vision, professional background, and enough skin in the game to make a difference.

From a business level, imagine if i2C is able to stop or change policy that has an impact on how we do business? Imagine if that change results in lowering our costs, or saving us from having to hire a new set of employees to enforce it? Imagine if Congress had enough insight into the hosting industry to make decisions that would make the Internet and our individual operates a better place? cPanel’s decision to join wasn’t a gamble, rather an investment in the future of a better Internet.

Like Mr. Dawson, I am passionate about the i2C. I even asked him to forward me a list of everyone that says “No” to joining, in hopes of giving them another take, another dose of passion, and the comfort of knowing that a coalition of great companies, working to make the Internet a better place, requires backing from great brands, innovators, and like minded organizations ready to change the world.