We've been running a feedback survey for 2cloud for a couple of weeks now, trying to get a sense of how we're doing with the project. We've gotten some great responses (if they're not from you, please go ahead and take two minutes to fill out the form. We are leaving it open indefinitely), but one response we got bothered me:
"Bottom line you're sounding juvenile, when you want professional."
At what point did the person responding to that get the horribly inaccurate impression that we want to sound professional? We do not want to sound professional. We want to stay away from professional.
Let me start this explanation out by making a distinction. A professional person is responsible. A responsible person is not necessarily professional. The two go hand-in-hand, yes, but you can be responsible without being professional. That's what our project aims to do.
Professional is not what we want for a very good reason: professional is intimidating. Professional exists to create a barrier between two entities. There's a reason it's called "personable" and not "professionable". We want to be a personable project. We want to interact with our users, we want them to be in constant contact and feedback with us. We think this connection is a strength, not a weakness. So we do not want the barriers of professionalism raised between us and our users; we want to tear down as many barriers as possible.
A professional project does not send hand-written thank you notes from its lead to people who donate. A professional project does not engage in lengthy back-and-forth emails with its users. A professional project does not have its users on Instant Messengers and social networks.
We do. And if I have anything to say about it, we always will. Because I am not a professional, I am an amateur. I am a lover of software, of creating software, and of my users. And I'm not going to give that up so we can sound important and impressive.
I've always felt that if I'm not pissing anyone off, I'm not doing things right. If nobody's getting pissed off, nothing worth saying is being said, nothing worth doing is being done. Because everyone has their own preferences. The fact that my refusal to be professional is pissing people off is not a bad sign, in my mind.