BNI , Givers Gain and the Community.

Somewhere we ( the community called Free and Open ) should start to write down the less pat answers to the incredulous responses of non Linux users. There are the usual questions consistently raised and repeatedly answered such as :

  • Why is it free
  • isn’t it illegal
  • surely someone is going to abuse it
  • how can you make a living out of it
  • and so on ..
  • and so on ..
  • and on again …

This ground, this well established common has been tread , retread, mown , reseeded and turfed up all over again. Over ten years of talking and promoting and establishing an idea and we haven’t made a dent in the public opinions about software freedoms. There are of course the glib responses the same tired comments about the public and who they are and why they don’t care. After ten years of hearing, that and saying this , we are still here and the ideas are getting stronger and louder still.

So what has this to do with BNI ?

BNI, the Business Networking Organisation ( Spelt here correctly for the sake of English ) is a series of very exclusive clubs which help a business promote itself and gain new clients. It ensures that as a BNI member the Chapter you belong to will contain a wide and varied mix of other Companies and Organisations whose clients will benefit from your services. The Chapter as part of the BNI philosophy will ensure that no other business or individual can provide or promote services to that Chapter which conflict with your own. In essence you lock out the competition. I prefer to restate that and say you ensure a single clearer message about your services which chapter members will understand.

BNI encourages you to get to know your chapter members requirements and needs. In doing so you will be able to understand the type of clients and business they seek. You become the sales man for them , as they become the salesmen for you. Its about sales, its about business and its about networking . Its about getting results and getting people to hear about your business.

It should make you pause for a minute and wonder why would anyone do it ? how can it benefit them ? isn’t it open to abuse ? Haven’t you heard those questions before ?

The Linux story , the story of the Free and Open Source community and its members is a story of commitment to an idea and the promotion of values and concepts. Sharing software and seeking review and acceptance by your peers. Something the press keeps promoting as “New” and “Different”. To me it is the same as “Givers Gain” its networking at its core and about ensuring that if I can do something good and valuable I will receive the same in return.

Incidentally the difference in age of BNI and the age of the OSS vision is not that large. The prestige and structures that have developed in either groups are not so new either.

If you’ve never been to a BNI meeting you should go. Conversely if you are a BNI member and you’ve never experienced the Open Source Community then come to the Linux World Expo.

This year im helping the Ubuntu UK comminity to organise the Ubuntu Booth. We will be located withing the .ORG village and its where you will see Givers Gain in Action at every booth.

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