Teaching the Teachers

By Mike / On / In Appsterdam

It’s been interesting seeing people’s reactions to my announcement that I’m giving Appsterdam to the App Makers. Most people are happy to see me take a break, excited to see what I come up with next, but a little worried how the organization will fare without me. I appreciate the concern, but let me assure you, it’s misplaced.

First, because it’s not really about me stepping down as much as it is me setting an example that I hope leads this community organization into being run and led by the community, and not a set group of people. There is no permanent leadership class in Appsterdam—just people taking their turn, ready to serve.

Second, because I’m not really going anywhere. I’m just changing my focus to longer-term goals. I did the doing for a while, then I did the teaching. Now I’m ready to teach the teachers. The success of a generation is not judged by its children, but by its grandchildren, so I’m giving the reins over to a new generation while I’m still around to guide them.

There are more, less obvious changes in the works as well. I’m cutting my speaking schedule way back, to about a quarter of what it is now. Instead, I’m going to be dedicating a lot more time to the Appsterdam Speaker Bureau, meeting demand for my stage presence with an army of even better speakers.

Like I said before, we’re all about results. When the work done by the volunteers of the Appsterdam Foundation pays off, the ecosystem they have built inspires new creativity. Where before the dreams of the community were met with calls of “not possible,” at Appsterdam gatherings they found support, inspiration, and likeminded individuals, to build their own engines of change.

I’ve already told you about the Appsterdam embassies, local implementations of our open source movement, starting in Delft, then spreading to Warsaw, Milan, and now a number of other cities. It won’t be long now before every city with App Makers has their own version of Appsterdam.

I’ve already told you about Apps for the Planet, the on-going hacktivist collective founded by Casper Koomen whose events are not just about the joy of getting together to work on projects, but in focusing those efforts to make the world a better place. I was most impressed when they teamed up with Pachube to teach people how to program the Arduino by having them build air quality monitors.

Now it is my very great pleasure to introduce you to Appril, a month-long festival of App Making born right here in Appsterdam and driven by the amazing Jacqueline de Gruyter and her team of volunteers. When I look at all they’ve built, and how many people they’re brought together, in just a few short months—and I think about a very determined Jacqueline at many an Appsterdam event, overcoming setbacks and making things happen—it fills my eyes with tears, and my heart with pride.

If you’re looking for a chance to change the world, to become a teacher, to join people like Casper Koomen and Jacqueline de Gruyter in the pantheon of future heroes of Appsterdam, now is the time. Whether you’re bringing your knowledge to Europe, or bringing your experiences in Europe to the world there’s never been a better time, or a better place, to take up the mantle of knowledge.

We’ve called for pilgrims. We’ve called for students. Now we’re calling for teachers. We want Appsterdam to be a bright shining beacon in dark times ahead, but we can’t do it alone. We’re trying to solve the world’s problems, one app at a time, and we could sure use your help.