It's mine!

Thoughts on the Neos Project

I reached some stunning goals in my life – this might sound arrogant but it’s a simple fact and the list is quite long. The interesting thing is, that it never feels like I focus on a goal. It all feels like a lot of fun and excitement. So does the Neos Project.

 Duane Bryers Hilda using a sling shot.

Duane Bryers Hilda using a sling shot.

Back when I was a teen my mom told me, my “fun based working mode” is a temporary state. “Due to youth, people forgive more and you have more possibilities to act, thus more freedom and thus more fun”, she said. “One day you’ll have to learn otherwise”, she said.

I didn’t - it was not necessary and I’m thankful for that.

But she was right, statistically it does not work this way. People do not seem to have much fun during their work, they might reach goals and might earn a lot of money but look unhappy.

But why not? Can I make it work like this? Always? Everywhere?

I’m 47 now and over the years I tried to find out why this works in my life, but not in other people’s life. I realized that it does not come by itself, I subconsciously work on it. Ok – I thought – let’s get a grip of this subconscious behavior! Since I used to be a scientist, I analyzed different situations in my life, tried to find the common grounds and extrapolated it to a common vision which I can apply to other situations.

For me personally it mainly boils down to this culture:

Ignite, grow, connect and be prepared to let it go.

When I truly stick to this culture it works out, I have much fun and “besides” I reach my goals. I try to introduce this culture to my work and to my communities. If these systems work “my” way I feel perfect within, everything flows like a charm and it is much fun. If I find a system which has good chances to develop in this direction and I join, I will try to move the system towards “my” culture. If I have no chance to move the system in this direction, I let it go.

My vision is to spread this culture to make us happy.

What does that mean for the Neos Project?

Surely the Neos Project is not mine – well but it is – because it is owned by everyone of us, so it’s also mine. "I am the culture" ;-). Let’s see how I apply my “Ignite, grow, connect and be prepared to let it go” in this context.


We are a group of people and everybody tries to ignite the things he/she is into. Try to make it happen! Don’t think too much about pros and cons – don’t hesitate too long. I tried so many things until now. Some of them lead to absolutely no success but all of them lead to experience. Don't think about winning or losing, think about adventure and experience. There is no shame and there are no mistakes and there definitely is nothing like “fault”. Try it and try it early - make a small experiment, if it does not work like you expected it’s not a big deal.

Ignition is exciting – it’s fun!


If your first steps work out, grow them, nurture them. Grow your experiment, grow your idea and grow as a person. I know some people in the Neos Project for over 10 years now and boy, how much did we grow! So listen to what others say and try not to “interpret” too many things into their words. People paint their stories from their point of view, so what they say is often not about you, it’s about them. Take the opportunity to beam youself into others and look at your idea through their eyes. Learn and grow your idea and grow yourself.

Watching things grow makes me proud – it’s fun!


Involve other people, talk about it, convince people. I have been convinced of ideas I never thought make sense but they did and I convinced the whole group of ideas when at the beginning everybody looked rather suspicious. Try to connect as many diverse point of views as possible – do not “accept” diversity, aim for diversity! I’m talking about true connections, meaning discuss vividly and do not take it personally. Get to know your community and talk to people honestly. Maybe at some point they will make your idea, their idea and from then on it’s our idea.

Connecting is sharing – sharing brings fun!

Be prepared to let it go

Sometimes you must let it go, although you are still convinced it’s the right way. Sometimes it’s your limited view which makes you believe in it, but others might see more. Sometimes it’s not the right time, sometimes it’s simply not possible. Sometimes the group needs to prioritizes another idea over yours since resources are limited. And sometimes you need to make space for new things or people to grow. Maybe you have to learn to meditate and/or ease your temper. You are not alone; trust in others! So work on a “Now I have to let it go”-switch in your brain.

This is real freedom – it makes me free and happy, and being happy is fun!

Your comfort zone and where the magic happens

Where the magic happens...

Like I already said, my vision is to spread this culture at my work and in my communities to make us happy with the work we do and the life we live.

Luckily I’m not alone, and luckily we already managed well, thus this culture can be found everywhere in the Neos Project, check out our values.

I hope the Neos Project will go on working “my” way. I will stick around, have a lot of fun and we will reach some great goals – hopefully until I’m very old (since I’m already gray). With all my heart and impulse, I will try to ignite and grow it in that direction and connect people wherever I go - until maybe one day I recognize that I must let it go.

And you should ignite, grow and connect too.

Have fun!

About me

My name is Gina; I was born in 1969 in Black Forest. I work and live in Hamburg, Germany as a Change Manager at sitegeist. My son is 27 years old and I studied Meteorology as a single mom. Already during and after my studies I worked at Max Planck Institute for Meteorology where I got in contact with the open source world. From 2003 on I was highly involved in open source and used to be Vice President of the TYPO3 Association.

I’m a GUE cave diver and survey a mine called Nuttlar in Germany. I love travelling the world back and forth since I was 16 and like water sports, swimming and kayaking. I’m a diving instructor, instruct divers free of charge and sail & work on a traditional ship called Windsbraut every year. I’m a Neos team member of the Minions team and the Neos Project is my open source family.

Surveying the Nuttlar mine

Dorota and me surveying the Nuttlar mine.


Me at Leak's & Sebastian's wedding.