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Passion, Gratitude & Open Source

“WordPress saved my life”. This profound statement striked me and ignited my curiosity to hear more about what the speaker had to share. The passion could be felt in our office in Tallinn during the WordPress meetup which we sponsored last Thursday. It started after usual working hours, and Kaarel Veike, the organizer of the event, was ready to share his insights and experience as a WordPress aficionado. Realizing how much his business was suffering during the crisis, and how much he was investing in a custom made system without a decent return, he decided to switch to open source technology. It took Kaarel a little bit of self-learning, enough to get hooked on (pun intended) the huge community which was behind this powerful tool.

My deep respect for open source communities, regardless of the technology, keeps on growing everyday. The very definition of giving back and sharing makes even more sense, when I realize how much those technologies have changed people’s lives positively. Many have started their own business based on an open source model, bloggers who were once hobbyists are now monetizing their sites, big corporations and non-profit organizations have adopted it. No wonder that they are all now naturally flocking to give back to the community. That’s the beauty of it.

I’ve had the chance to attend some Drupal events, and I have witnessed the enthusiasm and the strong will to contribute for others to benefit. It’s somehow similar to the ‘pay it forward’ concept, but in a specific ecosystem. It’s a collective intelligence, a machine which gets bigger and smarter as people keep on joining the crew. And it doesn’t necessarily mean merely technical input, but also business ideas, different conceptual approaches, problem solving in every aspect.

The humongous collective intelligence which open source communities happen to be also carries with it a unique multicultural feature which makes a technology more accessible. Just try to imagine a software being developed by thousands or millions of people, all around the world. Different societies and backgrounds bring different and new ideas, and the result usually is a melting pot of globally developed tools, tailored for the masses, and free! People are encouraged to invent, improve and fine tune, without hacking the core of course. It’s simply a community, where people bring and share. This, for me, is perfect healthy win-win model. 

Last Thursday in Exove Tallinn, we hosted a sample of this proud and grateful community. We are eagerly looking forward to the next one. The heydays of open source are very far from being over.

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