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Why I’m into Open Source Consulting

If I remember correctly, it was from Nick Nichols whom I first heard of this term. Nick says blogging is a form of open source consulting. I guess that was my approach ever since I first started my online presence back in 2000.

Back then, I saw the power of the internet as sort of dynamic collaboration with free flowing information and discussions of almost anything one can ever imagine. I was awed and thought the Internet was inherently good as it opens new possibilities for everyone who has access to it.

One of the first websites I created when I was just starting to learn HTML was a mix of a tutorial + guide + how to website. I posted computer shop information, some price lists I saw at Buy & Sell, guides on how to troubleshoot a computer, comparative reviews of some new gadgets or peripherals, and even a hand-coded marketplace to sell really cheap but used computer spare parts. It was my way of sharing what I know to the rest of the intarwebs.

Today, I go out to meetings with people I hardly ever know. They just happen to chance upon my blog and thought I could help them out. They could be a geeky foreigner who just came to the Philippines for the first time and wanted to have some beer, a stay-at-home mom who wants to start blogging, a group of students who needed help with their thesis paper, an office worker who wants to earn on the side, an IT company seeking fresh input for their consumer-oriented services, a new graduate who needs a career advice, or an NGO that wants to market their fund-raising efforts online.

All those time, I never (directly) made a cent and on some occasion, I’m the one who shells out for lunch. No biggie. I thought I was actually helping people. Last night, I met with a project coordinator for a local company’s NGO effort. They wanted some help to go into blogging, ICT being part of their advocacy. They said they didn’t have money but badly needed the help. I said, it’s for charity, we’re not suppose to make money off charity work. Long story short, I volunteered my time and expertise to their foundation. I was happy thinking I was making a difference, however small it was. I thought I could also learn a thing or two from them as I’ve been planning on putting up an educational foundation myself.

So, my recent meeting with Carl and his dad seeking for advice on how to face their predicament was a way to bridge the distance and resolve the miscommunication. I thought I was helping. Apparently, Anton de Leon thinks I was being nosy and overdoing it. Wow, even the best of intentions are being frowned upon. I know, I’m not new to this but sometimes, fresh perspective can strike a cord. Was I really being nosy? Some time back, I was also invited to observe in an interview about the spat between Gail and her client with allegations of a libelous blog entry. Was I being nosy then too?

But that is the beauty of blogging. Everyone wields the power, not just a small group of people. Anybody can express their opinions and be heard. No one is preventing anyone from joining the conversation. It’s all there and you are free to join or exclude yourself from the discussion. That power is so potent that you can even shut it off in a blink by clicking on that small square box with an x at the top right corner of your browser. Out of sight, out of mind.

The exchange of opinions (minus the cussing) is a sign that the blogging space is vibrant. Anyone can add or subtract to it and that choice is solely theirs. What would have been more sad was if nobody cared nor lift a finger. I feel blessed that we are free to express our thoughts and we’re aggressively expressing that freedom. My workshops around Asia opened up my eyes on why some people in neighboring countries are afraid of blogging while others are being jailed for it.

I believe that the recent rounds of debate is a testament of our growth, both personal and as a society.

“No great advance has ever been made in science, politics, or religion, without controversy.” – Lyman Beecher

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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9 Responses

  1. Nick Nichols says:

    Oh yeah, babe. I’ll go to my grave (probably some place in Bukidnon) trying to carve out a space here in the Phils. for open source consulting … now if I can just figure out what it is … :)

  2. In some Rizal movie, Cesar Montano says (in reaction to the ruffled feathers of the frailes): “Eh di magsulat sila.” (Let them write.)

    And no, you were not being nosy.

    You were being charitable.

  3. Anton says:

    i commend you sir for your good intentions.although i digress that nosy is too much of a harsh word to use, i was wondering what you would have done if the blogger kid turned out to be fraudulent, or that he was being forced by his father into maintaining the blog? Would you have called the cops, reported their abuse or give them a stern lecture on blogging ethics.

    You yourself stated that you asked both father and son some questions between bathroom breaks, which baffles me, why couldn’t you ask them straight out while both were present.

    in fact, you did say that you came not to size up carlo but his dad.that was pretty brave of you. but one thing is for sure though, you went to meet with them to confirm your doubt and that shows with your wanting to size up carlo’s dad and not him.

  4. The Ca t says:

    On the contrary, you are a mediator and arbitrator rolled into one.

    In a conflict resolution, a disinterested party is needed to be able to come up with an agreement that would be acceptable to both sides.

    I have always done that in conflict management where I usually find it difficult to make ladies shake hands. Men tend to keep civil to each other pero nagbabaga naman ang mga mata.

    In cases where two feuding people were stubborn, I had something ready for them.

    Gloves for the men. Sige magbuntalan kayo. Kung masyadong galit, I asked them if they need swords so I can order from Spain.

    And for the ladies, suklay, pagkatapos kong bigyan ng go signal na magsabunutan, kung talagang ayaw magbati, binibigyan ko ng suklay. :)

    So don’t worry yuga, in my book, you are not nosey.
    (that’s how I want it spelled, mind you).Pakialamero lang…hehehe ….para sa ikagagaling.

  5. I call it journalism, Abe ;-)

  6. SELaplana says:

    i think, you’re following the steps of john chow and darren. I wish you can also share half of your blog’s income to charity just like what the said bloggers did.

  7. Michael says:

    You have a good soul Abe.

  8. Yangma says:

    Hi Abe,

    At least now I know how to comment to blog entries. Hehehe. We will work on our pet project soon. Perhaps another Mexicali discussion and then will start blogging.


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