Joomla! on Community leadership.

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The Jand Beyond conference has always been a special event. Like a family event and this years was not an exception. We gathered at the Pre-Party Event organized by dashboard at Wazze Krafta on 10 Dolnych Mlynow, a place full of creativity. Walk a few blocks down and you find Perfect Dashboard. My friend Djamel, who heads the Joomla User Group calls this place “the Incubation Startups of bars” As a creative, this was the perfect place to start the three day event. The #Jab17 was an opportunity for several of our newly-elected members of OSM’s leadership to meet with the Joomlas who were attending the conference in Krakow, Poland, for a drink a chat and brainstorming.

Poland and most importantly Krakow, once the city were the King sat,  was a great choice for this event at we discovered from the welcome we received from the Joomla community in Poland. The city hosts many historical buildings including St Mary’s Church, Cloth Wall and town hall tower sitting in the middle of the square. Robert, the President of JandBeyong has always done a great job organizing this event together with the newly elected team who were at forefront to make sure that the event was on point. Alexander, the Vice President of OSM was very involved, together with his company Perfect Dashboard who were also the sponsors, we had Mike “Demo” Demopolous, OSM’s Treasurer; Yves Hoppe, Department Coordinator for Programs; Rowan Hoskyns-Abrahall, Department Coordinator for Events; and Robert Jacobi the President.

Since this group was recently elected, it also presented valuable time in the evening and following the conference to get to know each other and discuss the important priorities for their departments. Different meeting were taking place in different rooms. Joomla is powered by a team of volunteers from all over the world, dedicated people who put a few hours a day to create a product that will help people at the end of the other side of their computers. Events like this bring fun and renewed strength to the people behind Joomla! and the community. The community representation was in different ways, jRunning on Saturday and Sunday, the beer evenings at the lobby of Best Western, the “going for a smoke” team at the entrance of Novotel and the “late night crew” who went to bed at 2am and woke up at 6am for breakfast.

The main take-aways from this event included ideas for maintaining the health of communities formed of contributors that put in just a couple hours a week.   The topics attracting the most attention when i  comes to creating a vibrant community included:

  • how to “onboard” our newest contributors to make sure their first attempts to contribute to documentation or user support are a success and that first attempts to submit a Pull Request to improve the software are properly mentored and result in a successful and positive experience;
  • how to communicate effectively to a diverse community that is spread across continents, time zones and languages;
  • how to prevent burn-out of volunteers that have moved into critical leadership roles, especially release managers;
  • how to create a culture that teachs new contributors the “right way” to contribute in a way that does not embarass or discourage them; and
  • how to build succession into the responsibilities of each leader so that fresh enthusiastic faces can rise quickly in an organization and not be discouraged by long-term leaders that have lost some of their energy.

Joomla is always in  need of volunteers, hance a “call to volunteer” you can always make a difference. Joomla is now represented by 370,000+ lines of code, made by 780+ contributors. It is used by 6.9% of all the websites whose content management system we know. This is 3.3% of all website, with 82,000,000+ downloads from joomla.org since February 2017. It is also home to 7,888 extensions, and translated in 68 languages.

As any ecosystem – Joomla’s ecosystem is fragile and needs to be nurtured to sustain and grow. Through joomla.org you can volunteer and for more about certification programme, certification.joomla.org. Joomla community will be heading to Rome Italy in November for the Joomla World Conference dubbed “The Italian Bridge” I haven’t seen the movie, but I hear Italy is a home of bridges.

 

Prayers From Auschwitz.

“You have made me so rich, O God; please let me share Your beauty with open hands. My life has become an uninterrupted dialogue with you, O God, one great dialogue.

Sometimes when I stand in some corner of the camp, my feet planted on Your earth, my eyes raised toward Your Heaven, tears sometimes run down my face, tears of deep emotion and gratitude.

At night, too, when I lie in bed and rest in You, O God, tears of gratitude run down my face, and that is my prayer. Amen”. – Etty Hillesum

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On September 1st 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland and thus began the second world war. Less than a month later, Warsaw surrendered and the Nazi victory was all about complete. On November 1940, the Jews of Warsaw were transferred and confined into small ghetto within the walls of the city. The ghetto population increased to 45,000 and the conditions became unbearable. The streets were full of starving children. The diseases and poverty were rampant. Some kilometers away the gas chambers were designed to kill 600,000 people every day.

While stories of Auschwitz seem more fiction than reality to many, to most people, this place, is one of those places they would rather forget. Most of my polish friends have never visited Auschwitz, and they are not planning to, they say it’s a place that reminds them of the past they would rather pay to forget. On the 68 year of celebration after the liberation, I watched a survivor narrates of his time in the consecration camp. That evening was a turning point in my life. I wrote in my journal some lines that will remind me that this would be one place I should visit. Atleast before I die.

By late 1941, Hitler decided that the Jews of Europe were to be exterminated, so Birkenau, originally intended to house slave laborers, was re-purposed as a combination labor camp / extermination camp. Prisoners were transported there by rail from all over German-occupied Europe, arriving in daily convoys. By July 1942, the SS were conducting “selections”. Incoming Jews were segregated; those deemed able to work were admitted into the camp, and those deemed unfit for labor were immediately killed in the gas chambers.

The group selected to die, about three-quarters of the total, included almost all children, women with small children, pregnant women, all the elderly, and all those who appeared on brief and superficial inspection by an SS doctor not to be completely fit. Mengele, a member of the team of doctors assigned to do selections, undertook this work even when he was not assigned to do so in the hope of finding subjects for his experiments. He was particularly interested in locating sets of twins. In contrast to most of the doctors, who viewed undertaking selections as one of their most stressful and horrible duties, Mengele undertook the task with a flamboyant air, often smiling or whistling a tune.

He was capable of being so kind to the children, to have them become fond of him, to bring them sugar, to think of small details in their daily lives, and to do things we would genuinely admire … And then, next to that, … the crematoria smoke, and these children, tomorrow or in a half-hour, he is going to send them there. Well, that is where the anomaly lay. As I walked inside the camp I wondered, I wondered what kind of man would send small innocent children to death while he goes back home and put his own children to bed. 

For me, a trip here is something I cannot explain. This is a very emotional trip, filled with silence, soul searching and most times tears. People visit here in their thousands everyday, but it’s always a silent tour. No talking, just marmar. The trips are very well organized, with a bus ride from the city of Krakow and a tour guide. You are provided with headset and you are able to hear what your guide is saying clearly. I saw pain in the pictures on the walls, pain of prisoners in their uniforms, labeled with a small triangle and a number. I saw where they slept, small rooms where they crowded with not enough restrooms and air, I saw what remained of their belongings, their spectacles, all crowded in a large room, two tons of women hair cover two large rooms, this is just the remnant of what the Nazi germany looted from them.

They robbed them of everything, they robbed them of their homes, families, personal belongings, the hair on their heads and the clothes they were wearing. All this was shipped to germany, to be sold. Tons of gold were melted from their ornaments. And after they took so much from them, they choose who they would kill, women and children. And for those who still had the health and strength they robbed them of that too. They worked 12 hours, without food. Their labour was free, painful, sweat, tears and blood, everyday. At night they were crowded in small rooms, they died from suffocation and starvation. Some slept standing all night……some made it and others didn’t.

The pain of those who died here is still here, it hasn’t gone away. I don’t know if it will ever go away, it’s been 72 years since the liberation and for me it’s been 4 years since I desired to come here. I am also in pain, I see their faces and in the quietness of this place, I can hear their voices. The place where some of them were hanged still smell of death, the sight is still fresh. You can see the crystals flying in the gas chambers, denying you air as you suffocate to death. Its been many years, they say time heals all wounds, it doesnt.

After the warsaw ghetto uprising, Jewish fighters continued to defy the Nazis. Over 30,000 Jewish fighters fought in resistance units in the ghettos, forests and death camps. They fought all throughout Poland and Europe until the final defeat of Nazis in 1945. Emmanuel Ringelblum letter to his fallen friend described his emotions on this painful moment.

“Peace go with you my friend, maybe we shall meet again. The thing is the dream of my life has come true. Self defence in the ghetto and Jewish armies has become a reality. I have lived to see the magnificent heroism of Jewish fighters in battle” Emmanuel was killed days later. In his last letter, the warsaw ghetto historian described the spirit of Jewish resistance…..”To live and die with honor” Unlike other brutal foes…….the resistance fighters lived and died in honor.

Many of those who had the opportunity to visit Auschwitz, those I have gotten the opportunity to talk to, can’t describe their experience other than that of sadness, emotions and reflective. And like many of my Polish friends, it’s something they would rather not talk about. Something they wish they would forget. But there are some wisdom words that greet you when you enter Auschwitz…words from George Santayana. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat

 

To the memory of men, women and Children who fell victim to the Nazi genocide. Here lies their ashes. May their souls rest in peace.

 

 

 

 

Fighting the Dragon.

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Marek, who is seats at the help desk at Novotel City West hotel says that Krakow is a small city, it’s not.
Long ago in Poland’s early history, On the River Vistula, there was a small settlement of wooden huts inhabited by peaceful people who farmed the land and plied their trades. Near this village was Wawel Hill. In the side of Wawel Hill was a deep cave. The entrance was overgrown with tall, grass, bushes, and weeds. No man had ever ventured inside that cave, and some said that a fearsome dragon lived within it. The young people of the village didn’t believe in the dragon. The old people of the village said that they had heard their fathers tell of a dragon who slept in the cave, and no man must dare waken it, or there would be dire consequences for them all.
Some of the youths decided to explore the cave and put an end to such foolish talk. They thought that they knew better and dragons were just old stories from the past. A group of these young people took some torches and went to the cave. They slowly entered the cave until they came to a dark mass of scales blocking their way and the sound of heavy breathing. The boys ran as the dragon awakened and roared. Fire came from it’s mouth warming the boys heels and backs. When they were far enough away, they looked back and saw the dragon at the entrance of the cave, very angry being awakened from it’s sleep.
From that day on, the people knew no peace. Every day the dragon appeared and carried off a sheep or preferably young virgins. The populace made many attempts to kill the dragon but nothing succeeded and many of those that attempted were killed. The hero in this part of the story differs. In the village lived a wise man, or a shoemaker or a shoe makers apprentice named Krakus or Krac. He got some sheep and mixed a thick, yellow paste from sulfur. Krakus smeared it all over the animals. Then led them to a place where the dragon would see them.
The dragon came out as expected, saw the sheep, roared, rushed down the hill and devoured the sheep. The dragon had a terrible fire within him, and a terrible thirst. It rushed to the River Vistula and started drinking. It drank and drank and could not stop. The dragon began to swell, but still it drank more and more. It went on drinking till suddenly there was a great explosion, and the dragon burst. There was great rejoicing by the people. Krakus, was made ruler of the village, and they built a stronghold on Wawel Hill.
The country prospered under the rule of Krakus and a city grew up around the hill which was called Krakow, in honour of Krakus. When Krakus died, the people gave him a magnificent burial, and erected a mound over his tomb which can be seen to this day. The people brought earth with their own hands to the mound, and it has endured through all the centuries as a memorial to the person that killed the dragon of Krakow. Today Aleksander Kuczek welcomes us to his city of Krakow and from what we can see the people of Krakow did a good job rebuilding their city.  We are here to “Fight the Dragon” in a smart way.
The Joomla community is meeting here in Krakow for the JandBeyond conference for three days of fun, learning and networking. We are here to be inspired by the story of the people in Krakow, they are very friendly  and welcoming. Their contribution to the Joomla community has been felt all over the world. I have no doubt in my heart that we will break the head wind, and make the community better for the future.
Joomla has come a long way, we have now 82,000,000 downloads, or there about and its not stopping now. The community with over 1,000 volunteers working on very small or sometimes without a budget, with their heart, soul, mind and everything. The future is very bring for Joomla, so get involved, make it happen, because if somebody asked you a question! Who is Joomla? Joomla is you, and Joomla is me.
Greetings from Krakow, Poland.

The Loneliness of An Entrepreneur.

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It’s lonely at the top.
It is lonely where I am, I am all alone. I cry. I’m not ashamed of it.  I go through a range of emotions, but they really only get me in trouble if I let them manage me, rather than the other way around. Loneliness is a feeling, nothing more. After all, you can be lonely in a crowd of friends. Like all feelings, they need to be felt and then addressed. Cry it out. Have that pity party for yourself. Then wipe your nose and move forward. I today share with you something on entrepreneurship and why in my opinion it “feels” like such a lonely journey.
Along the entrepreneurial road, there are a good number of successes to share with your team, with your stakeholders and your customers. But there are a ton more failures and setbacks. Few people around you share in those. That means you are essentially alone. You can only rely on yourself.  That’s, tough, when solitude can turn to the more corrosive loneliness.  How lonely an entrepreneur, how lonely.
People make lots of assumptions of what it’s like to be an entrepreneur, and many of those are false. Likewise, as entrepreneurs, we often struggle to see why people would choose to live a different way. It’s important to keep a check on this, or you’ll end up very lonely indeed.
The best thing an entrepreneur does is accept that the journey will often be lonely. We find ways to stay connected with people: have other hobbies/interests, make time for people, and develop a system of values which we don’t compromise, which is true to us. It sounds much easier than it is. When you are going against the grain, there are big forces you have to fight with.
But you are walking to the beat of your own drummer, which will pay off once your business is up and running. So while everyone else clocks out of work and has a little free time to spend with friends, party, work on their hobbies, etc., you’re constantly just working around the clock to make sure everything turns out perfect. How lonely an entrepreneur, how lonely.
I have a reason to be an entrepreneur and I can name a reason everyday on why I require myself to be an a entrepreneur. People focus on how hard it is, but I’ve learned that anyone can be and it is definitely possible. The key thing to being a entrepreneur is admitting you don’t know or have all the answers to your questions, but you are willing and doing whatever it takes to find those answers. Keep an open mind and have a solid reason on why you want to be an entrepreneur and honestly It will be a lonely road.
It’s even more  lonely road if you can’t find people who aren’t taking the same journey as you are. Forgive me if you don’t feel encouraged, truth is very white.  when you’re self-employed or an entrepreneur, opportunities are really limited, because you’re most likely working alone or at home… at least at the start. You’re going to need to try much harder to put yourself in social situations if you want to make friends.
Lonely
These 3 things set entrepreneurs apart from others. Entrepreneurs are motivated and driven by their cause to get a lot done; they’re not afraid to do the work; and they know the importance of going one-inch wide and one-mile deep…Versus one-mile wide and one-inch deep.
Richard Branson says his biggest motivation is to keep challenging himself. He treats life like one long university education, where he can learn more every day. You can too! We need to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs, showing them the ambitions they can realise in business. I charge full speed ahead pretty much all the time. When I have an idea, I want to implement it now. This is a struggle because I come up with a lot of ideas, but I also know in the back of my mind that there are many things to consider before starting to use your time and bandwidth on a new project.
It’s this exact fear that will continue to try over and over to hold us back, and I know that what sets successful entrepreneurs apart is that they take action and move forward in spite of this fear. I know there are risks and potential failures in my future—I’m just not willing to let them hold me back from trying. It’s thanks to my mentor and the people I choose to surround myself that I have the support and encouragement I need to continue pushing through these fears.

It’s a Social Media world.

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Fareed Zakaria argues that the world today is the world at peace, and he should know better, because he is considered one of the world’s best thinker. We have made a lot of tremendous advancements in health and in technology. There are no geopolitical wars, the worlds biggest nations are not at war with each other. Most people are educated and knowledge, more accessible than in many centuries ago.

We are more online today than ever before. We live online, we dont go online. Social media have become prominent parts of life for many young people today. Most people engage with social media without stopping to think what the effects are on our lives, whether positive or negative. Are we as a society becoming more concerned with Facebook “friends” than we are with the people we interact with face-to-face in our daily lives?……..you know the answer.

There are also a lot of benefits that come from social media and the internet for teenagers. For a lot of people in my age group social media is an outlet for thoughts that they are able to share with their peers. Websites where you can interact with others your age means a lot to teenagers because it is a form of self expression. As we begin to get older it is very important to know who you are and what you want to do with your life, through social media you can easily find this out. So before we get into our serious years we might as well practice how to express ourselves in a respectful way.

Also social media is an easy way to connect with people all throughout the area that you live in. In my age group a lot of very close friendships have been formed through social media and have helped to benefit each other in multiple ways. The reason social media makes it so easy to create bonds is you’re allowed to express your likes and dislikes, which people can easily relate to. As many ways as people believe that social media is bad, it can also provide a lot of good, you just have to use it for the right things.

Young people in Kenya are okay with government regulating social media, citing hate speech as a reason to inform the regulation. A majority of youth polled do not mind regulation of the internet by their governments. When asked if governments should regulate the use of social media, 54 percent of respondents believed the government should regulate social media; 46 percent indicated they did not want the government to regulate social media. Ghana has the highest number of respondents (61 percent) who favour the government regulating the use of social media followed by Kenya (58 percent), Nigeria (54 percent) South Africa (52 percent).

From the feedback of the countries polled, Ugandans least support regulation at 46 per cent. The Ugandan government shutdown the internet during the elections two years ago, something that none of the other countries polled have faced. Kenya has the highest percentage of youth who picked hate speech as the reason for regulation at 36 percent. When asked why they would support a government regulation of social media, most (24 percent) felt that a regulation would be effective in preventing hate speech.

It is clear that countries that have experienced free speech issues whether it’s access being misused or access denied, inform their decisions on whether they support regulation or not. There have been concerns that the Kenyan government could shut down the internet during the August elections. While the government has responded by saying it will not, it has been quick to add that electoral violence is one reason they can use to shut down the internet.

We grow up in a world where everything seems possible. We dont have a choice on whether to DO social media, the question is how well to do it.

What do you think of Christ.

What do you think of Christ, Jesus Christ?
Is he the Lamb of God and Son of God?
one who baptize by spirit
Whose sandals I am not worthy to untie?
What do you think of Christ?
The Miracle worker?
Who turns water into wine
Heals the sick, the blind, raises the dead
Who feeds five thousand people
on five loaves and two fishes
What do you think of Christ?
He who walks on water
The bread of life, The shepherd,
He who came to save us from sin
Paid it all in full.
The true light that gives life,
That all men may see
What do you think of Christ
To John, he was the Messiah. Son of God
To Nicodemus Rabbi, to the samaritan woman Sir.
To Lazarus a friend, to Martha Lord
To Mary his son and to me, Lord, Friend and savior.
What do you think of Christ
Friend let me tell you, you need to know
My Jesus, son of God
Nailed to the cross, his blood flowed
For me, for you, for them, for us all
He cried, my God, my God
It was my sins, your sins,
That he died to become king
What do you think of Christ  oh yes, Jesus Christ
He who’s tomb was empty
Stone rolled away
Where the body once lay
He how is alive and in heaven he awaits
Because one day I will meet the one
Who is so full of mercy and grace
Tell me my friends
What do you think of Christ,
Jesus Christ.

Rising from the dust.

Birthdays. They’re supposed to be a joyous celebration, right? That one special day each year when we throw a party and reflect on the day our amazing journey began. I’ve had quite a colorful journey and certainly enjoyed many wonderful birthdays in my life. I have tried to surround myself with friends and family during this time, and created some of my most memorable days in my life.

You can just picture that open highway stretched out to infinity before you, beckoning to a future somewhere out on that horizon that calls you to adventure. All that you will become lies out there.

In my twenties, I was a freewheeling single young man. I had just conquered Rheumatic Heart Disease, I felt if death was not around the corner, as healthy as I could be. I had just discovered my passion to travel so I was doing it. I managed to start a business, and enjoyed being the boss…..as they call it, “my own boss” I was also paying salaries, and that wasn’t easy. From monday to Friday I went to work, Friday afternoon I would drive to the UN Commissary and buy a bottle of King Robert’s whisky, sit in my office and waste the afternoon away. Friday Afternoon. Night drives in Nairobi, chasing cars and a 4am dash to my bed. How bad can that be, right? But then one day I crashed my car, it was 4am, and I hated life.

Turning 30 was awesome too! I was living in Nairobi making my dreams come true.  Life was good. Driving my 1988 BMW 5 series. If you told me things will change at some point I would have said they will get better.

When you are 50. You’re supposed to have accomplished your greatest life’s work by now, right? Or maybe on your way there. Achieved all your major goals. Changed the world. But what if you’re still working on that? What if you’re just now starting to figure out what you’re really supposed to be doing with your life? You can say many things about turning 50, but one thing you can’t say with a straight face is that you still have your whole life in front of you, especially when you have missed to achieve many things people achieve when they are in their twenties.

At this point in the journey, life has shown you many of its cards. Not all, mind you, but you’ve got a pretty good grasp on how the world turns. If there are still any surprises, they have mostly to do with learning to change the way you see things.

Ultimately for me at 30, I found the answer in meditation. Through meditation I learnt how to become present.

Most of us never learn to appreciate where we are at this very moment because we’re so focused on what happened (or didn’t happen) in a past that no longer exists and worried about a future that hasn’t happened yet.

Meditation taught me that to compare myself to others is the root of human suffering. Because it creates a separation between myself and someone else. A duality. A them and an us. Armed with this new perspective, the next thing I did was to review my life and my experiences to figure out what was working and what was not. This brought me face to face with a rather harsh reality. As much as I liken myself to be a caring person, I realized that I’d spent most of my time focused on my own self-interests.

But you’re walking the path. Celebrate that.

The law says that if you take steps in the direction of your destination every day and keep walking, no matter how slow or how far you must travel, you must one day arrive there. In Tibet they have a tradition. After a long and arduous journey, no matter how difficult, they seek a high vantage point and look back to see just how far they have come. Age is irrelevant. Wherever you are in your journey is a starting point. Whoever or whatever it is you’re chasing, slow down.

Realize there is no race.

Whether you’re 20 or 30 or 50, or 80…something I know very little about, if you never stop seeking then you’ll never cease to be amazed by what you might find.

And if every point is a starting point then every day can be your birthday!

How will you celebrate today?