I’m speaking at WordCamp Toronto next Saturday and I’ll be part of a team offering a free hands-on WordPress workshop for beginners on Sunday.
The WordCamp organizers asked the speakers to fill out a questionnaire. One of the questions asked was “Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Toronto?“. I gave them the short answer. “Speaking at WordCamp is an opportunity to give back to the WordPress community.”
Here is the longer answer…
Before I came to WordPress I primarily designed osCommerce online stores. The os stands for open source. Open source means that it is available for private or commercial use free of charge under the GNU Public License. osCommerce is great but few of my clients were after e-commerce. I needed a better way to create simple web sites and blogs that clients could easily maintain themselves. This brought me to WordPress another open source platform.
Last week at my meetup group of Etobicoke Women Entrepreneurs I tried to explain the open source philosophy. Much of the Corporate world just doesn’t “get” the open source non-proprietary approach.
“But how do they make money?”
Open source developers aren’t making money from selling the platform but they usually use the platform as the core for the portfolios that earn them a living. It is in their best interests to build upon each others ideas to create a better platform. There is a spirit of generosity and collaboration in the open source community. It is about people working together for the common good in a non-competitive way.
To add a new feature to your WordPress site you can search plugins and usually you’ll find that a plugin already exists and is being maintained by the plugin developer for free.
Recently I emailed a plugin developer. His plugin was almost what the client wanted but not quite. I asked him if there were some settings I could change in his plugin. Within two days he had written a new plugin that was exactly what we were asking for. He didn’t ask for payment, he just created the plugin and put it out there for the rest of the WordPress world to use.
Speaking at WordCamp Toronto is a way for me to pay it forward. Speaking at WordCamp is an opportunity to give back to the WordPress community.