Hi Daniel, Welcome to the interview hotseat. Can you tell us a little bit about your club Ninjoomla?

Ninjoomla on the surface is an extension club. You join, pay a 3 monthly or annual fee, and download lots of fun and useful extensions in that time. But behind that it's actually a lot more.

It's an attempt by me to do two things:
Firstly, to show that Open Source is a viable business model if done correctly. That this fear of sharing that people have isn't as terrible and risky as it seems.

The biggest issue I see in the Open Source arena with people trying to go commercial is that these people are developers first, and businesspeople second. They make decisions based around the product and not decisions based around the business and the customers. This inevitably leads to a poor to moderate financial outcome, like any expert who tries to ply their skill/products without first understanding business. In the same way that there are lots of real world small businesses run by very smart and very hardworking people, who just can't get ahead and don't know why, I see the same thing with many OS businesses.

I want to find a new road that balances the community benefits of Open Source with the Personal Benefits of a successful business.

The second thing I am trying to do is provide a workplace where my staff love their job, and wake up looking forward to working. Where everyone of us can use as much of our potential as possible and constantly grow and develop.

I myself am a high achiever type. I am rarely satisfied with my performance and want to always do better. The problem I see in almost every workplace today is that there is no place for creative, energetic, high achievers. Corporate life, and especially hourly wages, often rewards you for being slow and unproductive. They try to bring everyone down to the lowest common denominator.

I am really a terrible employee. I have walked out on several jobs simply because the management was too inefficient or ineffective and I couldn't get anything done.

So I want to show that staff with motivation, pride in themselves, their work and their company can achieve unbelievable things. I want to reward my team not for how many hours they take to do a job dragging it out for maximum salary, but for how fast and how well they do it. Rewarding them for how much they give the company.

In other words, create a completely new style of company and management and show that trusting, supporting and helping your staff provides the best results.

How many staff do you have working for you?

In the team right now there is 12 of us ... Some are working on a new project, so currently unpaid, others are all currently part time, but staff get salaried.

How does the salary structure work?Everyone has a salary goal, and list of what they will contribute to reach that goal. It goes well. Everyone has been very fair and all the finances of the club are open so all the staff can see where every cent goes.

Ninjoomla is relatively unique in the Joomla spehere, where did you get the inspiration for your club from?

Good question. I was partly inspired by the Template clubs, I got my first real look at Joomla, and learned so much about it at the Rocket Theme forums, and seeing the model I thought it was a great idea.

Initially I tried to go with a donation model, but that didn't work as anyone who has done it works. But then I tried a pseudo club model where people paid me $5 for access to my 4 best modules - the module hider, modulizer, Now You See Me and Shapechanger. This worked quite well considering, and I was getting between $10-$50 a day. Which got me thinking, heck if I made enough useful little extensions regularly people will pay for them.

From that idea the Ninjoomla Club was soon born.

The reason I originally chose Open Source is 3 fold.

Partly because I owe everything I know about PHP, JavaScript, HTML etc to Open Source. I was an Oracle Database Engineer for 10 years so I knew how to code, but I learned how to do web development by reading other people's code. I have yet do do any formal study of any of the web technologies except what I can find on Google and read in less than an hour.

I couldn't in good conscience take so much from other people without giving back. I also believe in a sort of cause and effect Karma, not in a religious sense, but in a practical one. I figure it takes so much energy to keep your secrets safe, and so much stress, that it is just easier to put that energy and stress into making a product and service so good that people won't bother stealing it. Providing such an overwhelming amount of value that it has to come back to you.

Also, I don't believe our ideas are 100% our own. If Bill Gates had been born in the middle of Africa, he wouldn't have started Microsoft. We learn from those around us, and all our ideas stem from us combining what we learn into something new. When you lock away knowledge that process of learning, and advancing stops.

I actually think that intellectual property laws as they stand today are the worst thing to happen to the advancement of mankind since the Dark ages. I do feel that people should be rewarded for their work and the effort they put in for a new discovery, don't get me wrong. But they also owe that discovery to those around them who made them what they are today. Because they couldn't have made it without them.

IP laws stop this process. An idea can no longer be passed on except in a straight line following one person/company.

The second reason I chose Open Source was for peace of mind. I didn't want to be chasing hackers around, and hiding in my cave hoarding my secrets like Daffy duck and his diamond. (free Ninjoomla gold membership to the first person to name the reference).

When you treat people like you don't trust them, they are more likely to cheat you. Because they have nothing to lose. But if you treat them with respect and show them you trust them then they tend to return that trust. Yes, I know not everyone will. My stuff is up on warez sites so someone is trying to take without giving.

But meh. Good luck to them. People who do nothing but take find themselves hollow in the end. Because they lose the ability to provide any value by themselves.

If anything I pity them, rather than hate them, and it's certainly not worth wasting my life getting upset and trying to fight them.

The third reason I chose OS was because it's just good business.

I have thousands upon thousands, possibly even millions of scripts and programs that I can take, modify, improve and then sell. If I go proprietary I need to write everything myself! Why should I reinvent the wheel all the time? That is the whole point of OS, to take what has gone before, learn from it, improve it and pass it on. Thereby increasing the global pool.

It totally defeats the purpose if the global pool of knowledge is full of 2000 ways to do the same thing. About 40% of our extensions are original work, 30% are great scripts like sIFR or Shadowbox made into an extension and ported to Joomla, and 30% are forks of other GPL projects.

A few of our forks were purchased, some are abandoned projects, and some are projects we felt need new features or a new direction. Either way over half our products are value added products, rather than completely new. Open Source allows us to be twice as productive if not more than if we chose a proprietary route.

Click here to read part two of the interview with Daniel from Ninjoomla.

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