The Starfish and the Spider

By: Sonny Zulhuda

“The Starfish and the Spider”, or so we were told about ICANN‘s uniqueness by Rod Beckstorm. This is also the title of the book by Rod, the CEO of ICANN, and his co-author that was generously given out to all the Fellows in one of the ICANN’s Fellowship meetings. I did not have chance to grab him after the forum and to get him sign on the book. But here I want to say a big THANKS for the beautiful gift!

The ICANN’s CEO deliberated about how ICANN works as a ‘bottom-up’, decentralized and multi-stakeholders organization. Even though this has been repeatedly mentioned by many previous speakers, to me his presentation wraps up the whole idea of how ICANN has been working.

My note here is not going to repeat that. What I can appreciate here is that ICANN is truly a unique experiment that is undertaken in the world where it is needed most: the Internet world! At many times, I was amazed by how sustainable it has been in the face of many challenges and criticism. The development of protocols, names, numbers and its processes had been more or less the result of careful bottom-up consultancies. The way I was amazed, I can say, is like love at the first sight!

But having said that, a love at first sight is not totally unassailable especially once you go and know further what it takes to preserve that love. In ICANN world, I believe my journey has just started. It has drastically grown (positively) from my first encounter which was mainly restricted to the issues of Domain Names abuse and its UDRP. That’s it. Now, my understanding is even better. The fact of how UDRP came to existence and how it has been put under potential review alone has shown me the ICANN is much more fun than that. It is a world of its own worthy of investigation, observation, research and elaboration.

My querying mind wishes to know what ICANN should or should not do DESPITE what it has been saying what it should or should not do. This querying mind also wishes to know how much ICANN would sustain and further help develop the future of the Internet, where human being benefits at its most. Ultimately this querying mind wishes to know what role I can play to achieve that goal.

And this book, Rod’s Starfish and Spider, would hopefully guide me to that. Thank You again Rod Beckstrom!

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1 Comment

  1. […] talking about is beyond technical, tangible or even structural. It is even beyond organizational! A multi-stakeholders bottom-up ICANN as an organisation needs not only structural constructions: it requires a soul. And that soul is […]


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