Being part of something bigger than money

I realized today why I don’t understand the Open Source community as well as I should. I love money. It pays for my house. It gets me food when I’m hungry and want to drive through Wendy’s. It even helps straighten my kid’s teeth.

However, money doesn’t motivate this younger generation of coders in the same way it did/does me.

“I’m not looking for money,” says Mr. Holder, whose contributions became part of Zimbra’s instruction materials. “The incentive is that five years down the road, I can say I helped those guys.”

Today’s front-page Wall Street Journal article, “Trolling the Web for Free Labor, Software Upstarts Are New Force,” highlights the motivations of open source developers and is a great read. Why? Because it shows how startups today are after more than a check and a handful of Microsoft stock options that should mature as nicely as a US T-bond over 5 years. They’re filled with a community of developers, many and most of which are paid by other means.

The new startups are filled with energy to change the old guard by overturning it. All of the old timers, including myself, can take the advice from The Flaming Lips,

I’ll tell you right now
You oughta change your mind
All of your friends are standing in line
They’re getting tired of your attitude fast
You better move it
When out on your own
How long would you last?
Not long
You think you’re radical but you’re not so radical in fact you’re fanatical
“Free Radicals,” from the album At War with the Mystics – Flaming Lips

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