On Friday night in Cancun, Mexico at the third Joomla World Conference I presented an Ignite session. Ignite is a presentation format where you have 20 slides and only 15 seconds before each slide changes. What I actually said on the night you will have to wait for the video but this is what I intended to write.
This is my family - they are all lawyers and the one in the middle is a judge. 9 and half years ago lawyers like them gave me some advice - Keep quiet - don’t say anything until you have made all your decisions - That was wrong and bad advice.
I realised quite quickly that if you want people to accept your ideas then you have to explain how you came to those ideas and the thought process behind them. It is not enough to present your conclusions - you have to explain the Why!
Democracy cannot take place behind closed doors. Radical transparency is the key. This does not mean that everyone and anyone can comment it means that everyone and anyone can observe. So that when a decision is made they know the Why!
How do you do this? By making all mailing lists open (read only), by making monthly reports - even a single paragraph. By going outside your comfort zone and meeting people and talking to them.
Joomla is almost unique. We have grown and grown and grown not because of a single leader but because of a community of volunteers and a set of shared goals. If we want to continue to grow (and I am assuming we do) then we need to maintain that uniquely successful formula.
So what is the problem we are trying to solve with structural changes - Belonging, ownership, Empowerment, equality and leadership. They are what should make joomla joomla
How can we do that? And importantly how can we do that when we do not have a single body to belong to. If you do not speak english can you participate equally in debate. If you do not earn big money can you equally participate in conferences around the world.
How can you show your support and have your voice heard if you are only told about changes and not participate in the process. So what are we missing - why do we need changes
Leadership - a leader is someone who leads, guides, inspires and motivates. A leader is not someone sitting in a closed room behind 6 foot walls making decisions in secret. Do we have those leaders? Do we have people that have a vision that they can share with others.
Leadership is hard. If it wasn’t hard then everyone would be a leader. Some people are leaders by their actions, others by their ideas. But all great leaders are inspirational, challenge the status quo and know their limits
A good friend of mine once said to me "I want you to fail". What you want me to fail!! Yes it is good to fail - that means you are trying hard - the challenge is for you to recognise the failures and react quickly and respond appropriately.
Participating - how can everyone take part irrespective of their language, location and culture. Those of you lucky enough to be in this room today are here because we had the money (or the sponsorship) to take time out of our lives to be here and participate. But what about those people that wanted to be here and could not.
Can we do something about that can we include everyone and not just the privileged few. What about virtualising the conference - with remote locations linked by camera - so everyone wherever they are can take part equally?
Community - in the last 2 years we have had more community meetups (joomladay and jugs) than ever before. But lets not stop there. We need to enable and empower those people. We need to involve them and make them feel not just part of a local community but part of a global movement.
Code - over the last 18 months we have seen more people than ever before writing code, fixing code and testing code. Why is that? Because it is an open and ever improving process.
With leaders setting a direction that everyone understands the reasons for and who have made great efforts to go out and meet the community across the world to listen and share. For the first time ever we have a roadmap
Leadership - creating a structure with just a few people at the top does not make leaders. That makes a committee. Placing all the decisions in the hands of a few behind closed doors is not leadership that is a politburo.
It is not important to me who makes a decision. What I believe we all care about is that we know why the decision is made and what the thought process is behind that.
That is the why? the how and the who. Be open, be transparent, encourage that feeling of belonging and do not be afraid to fail. That is the why behind anything. Do the changes made at the summit do that? That is for you to decide. I say ....
That Joomla! is the right question http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nx8LAFSY3Ws We need to stop playing the class clown and start to be the super heroes we've always dreamed of becoming.