Ever since I read this post about open source motivations I’ve had a lot to think about. The post and some of the related posts were fascinating. However, I’ve been completely struck by a comment that Matt Mullenweg (founder of WordPress) put in the comments:
When I receive earnest or polite emails, I either forward them on or answer them myself. Most of these people are quite lost and probably don’t even realize my role in WordPress when emailing me. But the gratitude expressed and knowing I made the world just a little bit better for a little tiny moment is worth more than a few dollars worth of donations. In fact if I could pay to have that feeling I would.
The last line is completely fascinating. It resonates in a fantastic way. A few days ago, I tried to describe this feeling to someone who knows very little about computers and particularly open source. I used it in the context of helping a friend fix their computer problem. The blank stares on their face told me they didn’t quite get how I reached this point of discovery. Just says to me that these people I was talking to hadn’t tasted the joy of helping someone fix a problem that they couldn’t fix themselves. Often a problem which is incredibly simple for me, but heart breaking to the person having the problem.
I totally agree with Matt when he says…
“If I Could Pay to Have That Feeling I Would”
Chew on that for a little while.