Sumana Harihareswara's Be Bold: An Origin Story" keynote at Open Source Bridge

Yesterday Ada Initiative advisor Sumana Harihareswara gave a very well received keynote talk at Open Source Bridge, “Be Bold: An Origin Story”:

I learned how to do community management before I knew what it was called.

My parents came to the US from Karnataka, in south India, in the 1970s. They spoke Kannada, and they arrived in Oklahoma and found that they were about as lonesome as a Linux user in Redmond. They saw that the Kannada-speaking diaspora wanted to talk to each other but couldn’t, and so they made that happen. How do we get Kannada speakers together? Kannada Koota local organizations (like user groups). “Koota” means “meeting.” They basically started a grassroots network of Kannada speaker meetups. How do we get these folks talking to each other, all across the country? They started a bimonthly magazine, Amerikannada, and ran it for 7 and a half years, until their money and energy ran out. It had great fiction, and articles from the literary magazines back home. And It included ads for those Kannada Koota meetups, “how I started a Kannada Koota” articles, and tutorial exercises for “how to learn Kannada”, for your kids. And I helped staple them, and stamp the envelopes.

One of the greatest gifts you can give your children, your employees, the people to whom you are a role model, is the knowledge that some field of endeavor is in a sense No Big Deal. Knowledge — belief backed up by experience — that they can do interesting and rewarding projects in it without fear of public embarrassment.

You can read the full text of Sumana’s talk as written, or view the talk in this video: