I am not a good traveler. I am freaked out being in a situation like this morning, when I tried to order a coffee in a local café with my primitive and comical Spanish and get away clean. I sit down and order oon café con letchay pore favore. The guy says something to me, and I look at him and nod, open-mouthed, like an idiot. He probably said something like, “would you like anything else?” and I just nod and stare at him, and so he says something a little more irritatedly and impatiently, something probably like “well, what would you like, then?” but I just keep nodding, like, Yeah, whatever you’re saying sounds good. He sort of shrugs, takes the idiot’s money and I chug my boiling coffee and get out of there.
It was interesting to hear Jimmy Wales at the opening press conference say how the cultural and language differences of all the attendees of the Wikimania from around the world, how the differences are trumped by "Wikipedia culture, Geek culture."
There's a culture, and it has a heavy technological component, but 'Geek culture' doesn’t sum up the powerful and uniting story. What is the story?
For me, it’s hard to top the goosebumps I get from the vision written on the business card. Is that the biggest story?
In addition to the vision of world-knowledge shared with everyone on earth, you hear a lot of almost sacred talk about how that knowledge was created: the belief in the people, the openness, the sharing, the transparency.
Then there’s the why of all this, the belief in the power of ideas, ideas that are free not just as in free beer, as Michael Snow, Wikimedia’s board Chair, said, but free to use and modify and share and share a modified version of, and make money off of it, or not.
Then there’s the people getting together part. People coming from all over, sharing ideas, giving their talents in order to build something beyond what any of us could create as individuals.
For me one of the most compelling aspects of the story is the unknown part of it. Nobody knows where it will all lead, this tool that lets human beings create things collaboratively. Nobody knew the story would unfold as dramatically as it has. Nobody knew a little free online encyclopedia would turn into the largest assemblage of knowledge, ever? What happens next? Jimmy Wales said we’ve only had a tiny hint of the power of this movement.
The line up of Wikimedia's investors – The Ford Foundation, Hewlett, Alfred P. Sloan, and today they announced that the Omidyar Network's $2m dollar grant – gives you an idea of how important this work is becoming. It’s a privilege to be a part of it.
If I had to reduce it all, right now, for me, it’s about growth, the flowering of our human potential. That’s the stuff that is just too exciting to me - the explosion, a becoming, the wave that we are all riding on, in one way or another.