Refresh Baltimore

Open Source: A Free For All

Tracey Halvorsen

At the end of the day, it's all about the content. When it comes to open source and providing a service to the community for free, the more people use it, the more the community can evolve around it. Big Tree, an open source CMS, isn't necessarily giving anything away, they're helping people grow. During this presentation Tracey will talk about proprietary vs. open source, community vs. competition, problems her team faced while building Big Tree, issues within the industry, and why she chose to offer a service for free.

January 2013- Open Source: A Free For All from Refresh Bmore on Vimeo.

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Transcription of January 2013's Refresh Baltimore

Pete: Really excited to bring back Refresh. It's been up and down, but we're going to see it through. We're excited about some of the programs that we have coming up. So, to the site and see them as they're launched. I just wanted to thank everyone here that participated. Betamore, obviously, for the space. Isn't this just gorgeous? I found out tonight who helped design this. I'm not going to point any fingers or say any names. Yair, where are ya man?! There he is. There's Smartlogic. Thank you to him. Are you ready Rachel?

Rachel: I'm ready.

Pete: Please take a bow. [inaudible 00:50]

Rachel: I thought you said earlier, I was going to have to take a bath.

Pete: I know. How am I going to pull that off?

Audience Member: Wrong venue!

Pete: Obviously, Betamore, as was just mentioned. A very big thank you to the event community manager. I don't know if you can see her. She has a bright yellow shirt on right here, Sarah Jones. I'm not the important one here. Please, let me step aside and introduce Tracey Halvorsen from Fastspot. She is going to be speaking about something very important to me, and I think to us in the web design industry. She's a little bit content, a little bit rock and roll. Please welcome Tracey Halvorsen.

Tracey: [inaudible 01:51]

Mike: While I'm setting this up, she's probably going to mention that the more we talk about her in the presentation, the better. We have a Wi-Fi network in here. The password, you guys can all jump on it. It's ********. It's really complicated. The P is actually capitalized. Everything else is lowercase.

Audience Member: Secure.

[Crosstalk 02:10 through 02:30]

Main Presentation

Tracey: There we go. Always something when you start anything with technology. Thank you guys all for coming. A big thanks to Vim for convincing me to do this. Thank you Vim and Sarah. Thanks to Betamore for hosting this event. It's my first time in the space, and it is really awesome. I think it's a great thing for Baltimore. I'm glad everybody is here to experience it for the first time, or maybe follow-up times. My name is Traecy Halvorsen. I run a company called Fastspot with Amy Goldberg. We are an interactive agency in Baltimore. I'm kind of blown away by the turnout tonight. I have to get my nerves out of my system while I talk to all you guys.

I'm going to be talking about Open Source. The reason I'm going to be talking about Open Source is because we released our content management system, BigTree, as an Open Source product in 2012. That was a very interesting journey from my perspective, to take something that we had spent a whole bunch of time and money on, then say, "Oh, let's give it away for free," and the process that got us there and what I really learned about the community from doing that. A little bit of background before I get into this.

I started out as a painter. I'm from Bethesda, Maryland, which is about the most vanilla-suburban experience that you can have. When I started thinking about college, I really wanted to get some real world experience under my belt. I headed to Cleveland, Ohio, which is about the exact opposite of Bethesda, Maryland. Is somebody from Cleveland in here?

Amy: That was me.

Tracey: Anybody else from Cleveland?

Audience Member: I'm from Bethesda!

Tracey: You guys know what I'm talking about. Anyway, I was at art school, late 80's, early 90's. I was learning to be a painter, faced with the ugly realities of what a life as a fine artist would offer for me. It wasn't much. I realized that as I was becoming a creative person, I really liked the idea of trying to solve other peoples' problems. The reason there is a boot on the screen is that when you're in Cleveland, you get very attached to a good pair of boots, if you have them. I had a very good pair of boots that kept me very warm, when you have the lake effect and all that. I used to daydream about if I could make a commercial or an ad to talk about my experience with these boots. I think that it was the first time I can remember wanting to use my creativity to solve other peoples' problems, which is really kind of at the heart of what we all do.

I continued on my path as the artist and made some paintings. I'm just going to show you a few paintings so that you can believe me. I realized that I really had a bleak future ahead of me. I also started to realize that I had no idea what I was going to do. I decided the best thing to do would be to go to grad school, because then it would give me two more years to try and figure it out.

I applied to grad school, came to Baltimore to go to MICA. That's why I ended up in Baltimore. I visited. I fell in love with the city. Even though I grew up in Bethesda, I didn't really know much about Baltimore. I went to MICA, and as soon as I got there, I scrounged together money and bought myself a Mac. Because when I graduated undergrad, the year after I was out, I heard about Photoshop. I was kind of blown away by this idea, and I heard about AOL, and I was blown away by that. I realized that if I could get money together, if I could learn how to work this computer thing, and buy a scanner, that I could scan my slides and put them on AOL, which is what I thought the Internet was back then. That's what I was trying to do.

Has anyone here ever done slides of art before? Fine art. You guys know how horrible that is, or how it used to be. You have to find a photographer who had a good camera and lights, and you have to schlep all of your art somewhere and sit there. They take the pictures. You pray they turn out because it costs a lot for the film. You have to have a hired photographer. You go get your film, you get it converted to slides, and you mask the slides with this little silver tape. Then, you get duplicates made and fill out in sharpie the names of the slides. I mean it's like the worst arcade game in the world.

I was painting. I thought, "This beats the crap out of doing these slides, if I can make a website." Really, when I was in grad school, I took every opportunity to learn HTML, to learn anything that I could put a website together with. I actually was really interested in flash and director and things like that. Along the way, I started picking up some jobs. I got some internships, I worked for free, I took some really awful jobs just to beef up my resume, as I'm sure we all have gone through that experience in the past. One of the things I was learning along this whole process was really what I picked up in art school, which was to do it yourself. I think that's kind of at the heart of what we do, as technology people or creative people. We like to do it ourselves. We don't like to rely on anybody else to do it. We are not waiting to find the perfect solution out there to do it for us. If something needs to be fixed, or something needs to be solved, I think we all like to do it ourselves. Certainly, that's something that I like about Baltimore. Baltimore has got that kind of attitude to it, as a city.

The other thing about art school is that you get really good at explaining complex ideas, because you're talking about art, which has no real inherent value. You are trying to sell something that doesn't really serve any purpose at all. You get really good at B-Sing the whole story behind it. There was a girl, an undergrad who used to drive me crazy, because she named one of her paintings "Kierkegaard's First Friends." It was just some pink splatter on this giant canvas. It was huge. She named it "Kierkegaard's First Friends" I just found that to be so irritating. You are like 20 years old, and you're going to put that title on this painting. Anyway, I'm not into that. I like things to be real and genuine.

I got out of grad school. Now, I can get some real jobs that pay me some money. This is in like 1998, 1999. I could get these great high-paying jobs that pay me $12 an hour. I was just rolling in the dough, and I was able to keep my studio going. I just thought this was the best thing in the world. Then, that kind of bubble happened, where all the startups got a lot of money to run real bad ideas into the ground. I got sucked into one of those. I got enticed into a full-time position at a company that no longer exists. We won't even talk about them. What I learned in some of these experiences was, I had my first experience with a content management system, and I'm calling it that loosely. I don't think AOL considered Rainman, a content management system. Does anyone know what I'm talking about? That's how obscure it is. A couple of you have heard of this?

I had the amazing opportunity to drive everyday to Virginia, to AOL's headquarters, in the traffic, and learn how to program this language called Rainman. It really did feel like you were having to channel other parts of your brain to understand this. It was the most un-intuitive, un-enjoyable, un-creative process. I like code. I think code can be very creative. It was just horrible. I'd sit in traffic coming home, and I felt like a monkey. I felt like I was just a big monkey head because I felt like anybody could do this. You can just train a monkey to do this. I got a great body of work out of it. I realized that in the world of technology, there are really bad ways to go about trying to get people to use something or really put their content out there.

What AOL was, was this great place at the time, where they had a lot of good content. Then, they were going to make you go through this horrible process of learning how to become a monkey to deal with content. It really all is about how you make the content better, and how you get your content out there. That was a real eye opener for me. I also learned that happiness is more important than money. After about six months at the startup company that enticed me to go full-time and give up my studio time, I quit. I quit, knowing exactly how to never run a business. I quit, knowing how to never treat people. I quit, knowing how to never have customer relationships, ever. I quit, knowing everything not to do, and that was the best experience I could ever have, in starting Fastspot, which is what I promptly did. If anyone hasn't had a very bad job out there, I would encourage you to find one, put in about six months, and then hopefully get a lot of money while you're there.

Then, I started Fastspot. I'm going to fast forward here a little bit, literally Flash Forward the conference. Does anyone remember Flash Forward? The good old days when flash wasn't banned. Joshua Davis was really my first experience with open source. He was this skateboarder, rock star guy, who just got really into flash. He gave everything he did away. He posted it all onto a Playstation. You could go there, and you could download it, and that's literally how I got into flash. It's really how I evolved my skills in that program. What a waste of time that was. At the time, it was just really amazing to see creative people and technology people coming together and sharing all of these new things that were happening, in order to put these great stories out there.

That was sort of like, "Wow". I don't know what I would have done without that experience. It was an early community. It was really built around that idea of sharing and giving things away. There wasn't this whole focus on paying for it and all of that. I want to change gears a little bit and talk about Joe. I know it's a little bit of a shift. When we were talking about releasing BigTree as a content management system, as an open source product, truly grappling with this idea. How is it a good idea to give something away? Does that make good business sense? I have a lot of people who I need to make sure are taken care of, to get a paycheck at the end of the week. Am I jeopardizing our company's financial future by giving something away, that we had previously really associated a dollar amount to? As hard as it was to actually price it. I started reading as much as I could about the idea.

There's a great book called "Free Future of a Radical Price". Has anyone ever read that book? It's a good book. Chris Anderson is the author. He tells a story about Jell-O. Does anyone know what Jell-O is made out of? Intestines, connective tissue, everything that you would never eat in animals; I'm really sorry that I just ruined Jell-O for all of you. It is absolutely disgusting. The thing about Jell-O is that when it was invented, the guy who invented it had a hard time selling it, because they already knew what it was. He eventually got tired. The first owner of it was, I think, the guy who invented one of the first steam engines. These real entrepreneurial people back in the 1800's are trying to figure out how to make a buck from Jell-O.

He selects another guy. They invented flavors. Then, they had the orange, the cherry, and the four flavors of Jell-O. They couldn't figure out what to do with it, so they sold it to their neighbor for $49. This is like in 1898 or something. He decided what he would do, after having a lot of challenges with the Jell- O, is he would create a cookbook, a rescue book, that was all about Jell-O and he had all of his sales guys go out and give it away for free. They went door-to-door, and they gave it away to all the housewives and all the people at home. They got this free book of recipes, which a lot of them involved Jell-O. Then, they would go to the store. They would tell the store owners, "You want to stock up on this, because all the housewives are coming in to get this product." Sure enough, they started coming in.

He actually made success out of Jell-O by giving something away for free that had nothing to do with it. That starts to get you thinking a little bit about how you get people thinking about your product, and how you introduce them to it.

In terms of the concept of "free", we all remember when Napster came around. We all remember when music started to become digital, and suddenly, you could get music for free, even though you knew you weren't really supposed to be. I'm sure everyone in this room probably did so, at some point or another. What was really happening is that things that were physical were becoming digital. There was this sense that they should be free, that you should have access to them because information wants to be free; digital information wants to be free. We had this real change of how we were thinking about things. Then, we had the long-tail effect. Suddenly, anybody who was obsessed with Korean roller- skating punk rock could find the band that was producing that in Romania, and join their fan club, and have a party together. There was suddenly no more Casey Casum's Top 10 and all of that. Again, we've got all of these accesses, all of these access codes.

When we think about software, that started to happen too. At first, you had just these big enterprise systems. If you wanted to do anything, you had to buy this big expensive software. I will talk about enterprise CMS's in a moment, and our feelings about them. Then, the tool started becoming so popular, and so ubiquitous, and so free that you didn't know if this was a good tool or a bad tool. There was so many options. Then, you have to start asking yourself, "What's the quality?" It used to base the quality on the price, because it wasn't so easy to get. But now, everything is becoming so popular. Everybody is cranking things out, there are tools everywhere. Everybody and their cousin can throw together a website, supposedly. I keep hearing that one. All of a sudden, it changes the question of, "What is quality?"

Today, we have a total shift, where everyone is a producer of content, whether it's for good or for bad, mostly for bad, right? Everyone is a photographer. Everyone is an artist. Everyone is a reviewer. Who has bought something in the last three or four years, and they haven't looked at the reviews of the other people who have bought it? We're relying on this content now. It's so important. What that has meant is that it's all about that content. It's all about being able to share that content. It's all about that content being free. You are not going to pay for that. It's your God-given right. That's certainly how you feel about it.

This "I-Creator" trend that is going on now, you have to kind of support that. We've gotten in the app world now, where there is an app for everything. What we were thinking about was barriers to entry, as we were trying to sell this CMS. We've actually run into a situation a couple times where we were told our CMS is too cheap. They actually wanted to more expensive option because the perception of quality was that the more expensive option was going to be the better one.

There's a really good study that Dan Ariely from Duke conducted about chocolates. He set up a table. It wasn't very scientific, but he did document it. He had very expensive, nice truffles on one side that were $0.15. He had Hershey's Kisses on the other side of the table that were $0.01. Pretty much across the board, everyone when they were given the option would go with the $0.15 purchase, because they knew it was better quality. If they had to pay, they were going to pay for the more expensive chocolate. Then, they changed that study. They lowered everything by a penny, and the entire reaction changed. Everyone took the free chocolate. Free versus cost is no comparison. Why risk your $0.14, when you know you can get a little bit of Okay chocolate for free? It was predictable, irrational behavior. Yet, if you think about it, you probably would have the same inclination too.

That barrier to entry with our product was a big issue for us, because we sell creative services for the most part. How do we package this thing in there? We have to come up with a price on it. Reading about this study was a real eye opener for me. Stuart Grand was a well-published hacker back in the 60's. He said that information wants to be free. Yet, information also wants to be valuable. If it's good information, it's really valuable. They kind of fight against each other. You want the thing to be free, but you also want it to be really awesome, which means it shouldn't be free. It should have some value to it.

How do those two things resolve themselves? I think they are still resolving themselves. If I wanted an expert medical opinion about something that was going on with my toe, I would probably have to go see a toe specialist. Maybe that toe specialist wouldn't even be in my state. I'd have to travel. Maybe I'd want a second opinion, because they might want to remove my toe or something. I'd get to a couple different opinions, then I'd have to come back, maybe go to the library and do some toe research there. We are talking about a serious time commitment. Not to mention, then, I have to weigh through it all and make a decision. But now, I can just type in "funky toe" and get all sorts of things. Go to WebMD or any other reputable medical source, now I can get that information for free. People always say, "Don't go on the internet for a medical problem," which is true. But we all do it, because that information is there. We want to know because it's valuable. It's important to us. It's kind of at odds with each other, this whole idea of open source and free.

Of course now, everything that you want to do, how many people just go to an app to do it? I'm going to go on a diet after the holidays. I'm going to get the app, how many calories, sync it up with my scale, take it to the gym. It records my workout, sends my mom a picture. I'm doing great. There's an app for your life now, to record the content of your life. Speaking of apps, and speaking of the idea of free and giving things away, this is an interesting case study that we went through.

Right before the iPad was going to come out, we decided this was a great opportunity to do some fun design, a fun project at Fastspot. We created a word game called Jambalaya. It was first just going to be for the iPad. It's now for the iPhone. It's not a cost. It's free now, so you can all go download it later. When we started out with it, we made it $2.99. We thought, "Who wouldn't pay $2.99 for a beautiful game?" Sure enough, the iPad came out, we got a little press, we got a little spike on downloads. The marketplace wasn't very full yet, wasn't very crowded. There was no Angry Birds yet. We didn't get rich off it. We made a couple hundred dollars a week. It was this nice, "Oh, wow. People like it. People are playing it."

Occasionally, somebody would write in, "It crashed. It sucks." We had to ignore that. It was an interesting process. Then, the downloads started going down. The price, we didn't know what it was. It just started dropping off. We didn't want to promote the heck out of the thing. It's only making us $3.00 a pop. We said, "Let's lower the price." We lowered the price to $1.99. We rolled out the iPhone, and had a little spike, but still nothing major. Then, what happened is that the game won a Webbie Award, which for us in our industry was great. We were very excited about it. We were so excited we said, "Let's make it free for the month." We made it free, and you would think that we cured cancer. The amount of websites that were like, "Jambalaya is now free!" We got so much incoming links from people that were so excited that something went from $1.99 to $0; it was kind of unbelievable. We had over $1 million in a couple weeks. Of course, we didn't make a dime off that. Neither did Apple, so that's all right. They take a cut of everything. It was amazing how much that barrier to entry, once gone, gave us this huge audience.

You'd think the story would stop there, but the most important part of that is we started getting good feedback. We started to get a lot of the same feedback. Everybody said, "We want an endless plan." It was a two minute time running game, and everybody started all asking for the same thing, "We want to be able to have an endless playoff in the game." We said, "Let's give it to them for $0.99. They already know they like the game, so let's sell them the $0.99 thing." What happened over the course of a few years, kind of watching this, is that when we gave it away for free, we got our biggest audience exposure. We built our biggest community around the game.

Then, the price and the downloads started to average out, and never dipped down as low as they could go before. This was good. This was actually probably one of the most important experiences in understanding "free", to everyone in our company. Realizing that community, and getting our software out there, was so much of a bigger deal than trying to make money off of it. It's sort of like having a kid and sending them off to college. We wanted our thing to go out there and take on a life of its own, and start to get feedback on it and let it grow that way.

There is still a way to make money on this idea of giving things away. We are now the premium people that can work with BigTree. We can give BigTree away, but the hope is that eventually, people who don't want to spend the time learning how to program it will still come back to Fastspot, and say, "Let's still hire Fastspot to build up the site." Ultimately, we are hired for our creative services. That's what we want to be hired for. The people who have unlimited time, and don't have the money to buy a copy of Ektron for however many thousands of dollars, and learn that corporate CMS. Sorry to any Ektron fans in the room. Now, you got an open source that we can hopefully get the community of developers learning, enjoying, giving us requests and feedback that we can actually make something better out of that experience, and that will still lead to an economic positive end result for our company.

There was another reason we wanted to do BigTree as an open source. Everybody and their mother, not really their mothers, but everybody loves saying, "Drupal, Drupal, Drupal, WordPress, WordPress, WordPress, Drupal, Drupal." I'm like, "Where do these people learn these words?" These people are not even in our industry. They're writing them into the RFP's, and they're like, 'Tell me about open source. Tell me about your pool.' you're educating people who are asking for it, right off the bat. People had all learned, through the course of 2008-2009, about this magical world called open source. Really, they didn't understand it. They appreciated the value of the community that it offered.

Some of the other reasons they were asking for it were that they had all been burned. They had been burned by those big expensive enterprise solutions, or they've been burned by small proprietary systems that were just locked in time, and had locked with a company where they just did not want to be. Everybody heard about Whitehouse.gov. Do we remember when that happened? It was like, "Oh. Obama is going to make the Internet free, and software and everything is free. We are all so excited." Then, it's like, "Oh. You can look at them on the website, and it's real information." I think there was so much press about that website being built on Drupal, and it was this community of software effort. That really changed things. I think now our world is not sustainable. That enterprise software, I don't think that's going to be around in a few years. I really think that we're going to see that die off. I'd put my money on it. I'd make that bet.

We were also really sick of being asked about the asteroid that everybody seems to think is going to hit our office. I'm still shocked that people really think something is going to land on our office. I just have to tell them, "I just don't think it's going to happen. If it did right now, before it was open source, that would suck for you." Sorry we are going to be dead. It's funny, but it really is the truth. I can understand their concerns about it. It really is back to building the community. Now, that's the only question we get asked, when it comes to software and open source, and what we're going to do with it.

I'm kind of amazed at the money that Facebook paid for Instagram. That's another story. What these things are doing, why these apps have kind of exploded, and these people have these communities now, I think it's because they're making content better. They make the content better. Evernote makes your note taking process better. It makes the stuff you're trying to keep track of better. Instagram makes your photography better. It just makes your social life better. I don't know. Things are just augmented with these apps.

Karen Gren [SP] is a consultant, and she bitches about CMS's a lot. I think, actually, if there was ever a good CMS out there, she probably wouldn't talk about it. She gets hired to come in and complain about CMS's. She makes a legitimate point, which is that most of them are really horrible to use. Has anyone here worked on a CMS that was just painful? You know if you hit the wrong button, you're probably going to tank the whole site and blow up, or you are not going to know what happened. I love logging onto a CMS, and the first thing you see is a field with the word "null" in it. It's just not a good feeling. You don't feel good about going to the next step.

How did this design agency end up with this software that we're now giving away? It's because we really thought about the user experience behind BigTree. For any of you here that want to talk about it, we can talk about it after this. I don't want to get into the nitty-gritty of software. I think again, it's about making the content better. Nobody is going to want to make their content better if they've got to learn a programming language or learn Rain Man, or jump through hoops that say 'null', and maybe accidentally blow up the website while they're at it.

It kind of boils down to this great pyramid, which I think quite sums up a lot of Apple's success. We want things to be pleasurable to use. Many of you are looking at your phones, and you're doing things not because they are challenging, 'I got to figure this out. This is so annoying. Null.' You are looking at your phones, you're on apps because they're enjoyable. You like using them. We are all slowly becoming addicted to it, whether you know it or not. It's causing some kind of chemical reaction in our brains. I think that pleasurable software is one of the only ways I know to be sure that we can build a community, and keep a community. You don't want to give something away for free that's a pain in the butt to use. We hope that that's going to be part of the key to our success, marrying that content strategy. Let's make your content better with content management. Isn't everything content management? It shouldn't be software you have to learn. It should be pleasurable to tell your story, whatever circumstance you're trying to tell it.

Giving something away for free actually costs a lot of money. We had to spend a lot of time. We agreed to do this, which was through a lot of conversations with the whole team. We knew that it had to be as [buckled down] as possible, because nobody is going to come back and try something that sucks the first time. It's something that we had to really grapple with. We knew there was going to be bugs and glitches, but how good was good enough? Were we going to toil away for years and years, and be the company that never released an open product? We went through all of the things on the left.

More importantly, you had to think about things on the right. Who did we want to download this? Who did we want to be interested in it? Why do we want them to be using it? That's really where we're at right now, thinking about how you get this out to the community, and who are they, what do we want them to like about it. We don't want it to be the next word press or the next Drupal. It's not a blog. It can do some great things. How are we going to identify that and let those people know about it? When I was putting this presentation together, I said, 'How's it been in the last year?' We released it in early 2012. How has it worked out for us? These are approximations. My life is a lot easier because I don't have to answer the asteroid question anymore, which is great. The barrier to entry has truly been removed. We are actually getting a lot more of our proposals accepted on face value, without having to go through all those questions about, "Is it enterprise software? How are you pricing it? What's your support plan?" All of those questions that we never really had a good answer for because we weren't a software company are gone. Now, we have a lot more success rate, just in our general business practices. Sure, we lose projects all the time because people are like, "I want the bigger community." We are not really losing out to the enterprise systems. People who run the enterprise systems aren't even talking to us anymore, or there are orders whipping off of them, which is great.

A little bit of a change. I guess one of the reasons I'm here and willing to answer any questions that you have, and most of Fastspot is here tonight too. When we wrap this up, which I'm about to, I'd love to answer any questions. We were invited to this conference called Shock Talk. It was the first version of the conference. They were going to do more of them. It's four people that run interactive agencies. We literally got together in a room. We took a little oath that we wouldn't share anybody's secrets, except in that room. I was literally with, probably half the people in the room were competitors, direct competitors from all over the country. Some we lost to, some we beat. We just sat and talked about everything. How much money we were making, how we were hiring people, what our proposals were like, what our contracts were like. We just shared how we were running our companies. At first, it felt very unnatural and maybe like I was being scammed. Am I over-sharing?

Really, what it taught me is this idea of keeping your secrets and being a competitive entity is not conducive to anything good. I got so much out of understanding that really a lot of us were doing things the same way. It was like, "Oh, thank God. We're doing it right. We're not as screwed up as we thought we were." Then, we learned a lot too. Believe me, there's enough work in the world for everyone. That was just a great experience, kind of an open source attitude towards my company. I think that there's not that many opportunities for business people to do that, especially ex-art school business people. I don't even know what that means.
I'm really a big believer now, and I think this evolution got me here, that community is way more important than being competitive or being like, "We are better than you. We are going to beat this agency out." I think there's an old school ad agency mentality that, "We're the bigger ad agency. We got more people. We got the biggest account." Everyone knows what I'm talking about. Right? I think that's old and dying. I hope it is, anyway.

Baltimore is a great city. I moved here for a reason. I stayed here for a reason. I wasn't just like, "Baltimore is Okay. I'll stay." I really like this city a lot. There are so many things about it. I could go on and on. I love the entrepreneurial spirit that's here, and the smart people that are here. I think that we need to keep doing what a lot of people in the industry have started doing, which is coming together and sharing ideas, and helping boost each other up. All I want to do is sell to my clients what other people are doing in Baltimore. It's great. We are having a call tomorrow with one of our clients to talk about local list. The more that I can do that, the better I am, because I made Baltimore look like the city that it should be, which is I think a fantastic place to be, as a company. I'm here, trying to do a little bit of my part. I hope that's helpful.

This is just to end with my important photo. That's what people do in presentations. Thomas Jefferson, he invented the patent system. I thought that was really interesting when I came across this quote, which is dashing when examining. He seemed to believe in that open source idea, even though he was patenting things. I think ownership and credit to where things come from is very important. Building on top of those things together, collaboratively to make them better, is the only way to go. If we all just sit in our little silos and try to come up with the new next thing, and beat the other guy out, I just think it's a losing battle. Best slide of the night. There's beer of course tonight.

In two weeks, for anybody here that would like to come over to Fastspot and see our office, sit down and actually look at the company, and talk about those things. This is being announced now. We will talk about on our website and Twitter, but everybody should feel free to come over and dig in with some of our developers. This is my credit screen. Thank you very much.

Coverage via Vim Interactive's blog

Photo of Tracey Halvorsen

Tracey Halvorsen

Tracey Halvorsen is a consultant, designer, painter, author, and speaker. Her background in visual art and computer-based technology and her hands-on style of leadership has helped Fastspot consistently create award-winning and industry recognized websites, applications and marketing campaigns. Halvorsen, known for her innovative thinking and creative problem solving, is never short on opinions or ways to make things better, and she shares these observations in her blog,Think Design Interact. She is also currently an active board member with the Greater Baltimore Technology Council, seeking to enhance Baltimore's national visibility and attraction as a technology and cultural hub.