Those who have visited and used the Movable Type forums at great length will no doubt recognize the names bmk, girlie and Kadyellebee. Almost since the inception of the forums, these three women have played a pivotal role in supporting the growing base of Movable Type users. These three made it possible for us to continue developing Movable Type and then proceed to start developing TypePad.
BMK, Girlie and Kadyellebee (or rather Brenna, Shelley and Kristine) were volunteers who wanted to help support our community by helping the countless numbers of new users who hadn't a clue how to chmod or install a Perl module. They started as new users and over the course of the past couple years, became experts on Movable Type.
I've always been conflicted about volunteers and their roles in supporting products. It's my Fairness with a capital "F" gene that says that relationships should always be mutually beneficial and there is an incredible balancing act to prevent exploitation of volunteers.
The thing is, a volunteer hopefully provides their services in return for receiving some sort of non-monetary compensation. That may be the feeling that they are helping others, the recognition of being an expert on a topic or simply the enjoyment of working in a space that they love.
When we were establishing the corporation and setting our goals, we made it clear that we wanted to recognize those who supported us during these past years. So, it was an easy decision to look at our support network when staffing Six Apart.
While it took almost an entire year (since funding) to bring Brenna, Shelley and Kristine into Six Apart in an official capacity, I'm happy to say that as of last week, they are all now a part of the full-time staff.
Now, I think that in order for Six Apart and our products to ultimately succeed, we need to continually recognize and reward our developer network. This isn't just about hiring -- it's about creating a system that allows people to not only contribute but also to be rewarded.
I'll be addressing these issues in future posts. For now, I just wanted to highlight three of the members of our staff and publicly express our gratitude for their support over the years.
Update: Just to clarify, Brenna has been with us on staff since last July. We never made a formal announcement about her hiring so I felt that it was important to include her in our announcement regarding Kristine and Shelley.