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So three others and myself were interviewed about SMF, the free forum software I work on.

David, Project Manager

What made you decide to start SMF?
Money, fame, and chicks!…Back in 2004, well maybe even the end of 2003, YaBB SE had gain a good deal of popularity, but was just losing traction for a variety of reasons. We were working on a version 2.0 as well as one of our developers working on another version that ended up becoming SMF. Making this transition gave us a lot of flexibility as to the future of the project and was the best way to emphasize our team’s values and goals as well as how big of a change our code base went through.

Where do you get your inspiration?
Seeing other people doing cool stuff. I think we’re in a really unique time for the Internet, in a way like the industrial revolution, where the infrastructure is in place to make large changes to how people think about and interact with digital content. Sites like Flickr, Facebook, voo2doo, dig, and Basecamp are all doing extremely cool things not just with the model that a person interacts with their sites, but also by changing the social model that people interact. In the end, I love the problems social networking present (yes, SMF is a social networking app) and finding new ways to tackle them.

What was the biggest obstacle for SMF to overcome to be where it is now?
Acceptance, a handful of new forum scripts pop up each month. SMF only got to the place where it is today, in direct competition with vB, Invision, and phpBB, by having a kick ass team of volunteers all agreed on a solid set of values. http://www.simplemachines.org/about/values.php

What forums do you visit other than the SMF forums?
I visit a lot of sites, though most actually aren’t forums these days.

How have your roles at SMF impacted your life?
I don’t even know how to explain just how much SMF has impacted my life. I got into web programming in the first place because of YaBB SE. I started a business due to it. I co-manage a team of fifty people worldwide. The skills I’ve learned are not ones that can be taught in school or even easily articulated.

What is the most important thing you have learned through your experience with SMF?
Written communication is easy to misinterpret as humans rely a good deal on tone, inflection, and body language while talking. Not only is it difficult to have a disagreement in words, but having one with someone in another time zone and American English isn’t their native language.

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be and why?
Somebody who combines flying like Batman, and shooting cool stuff like Spiderman, and crazy powers like Superman. So I guess Spiduperman!

If you could take one thing back that you did at SMF, what would it be?
Not having the time to devote I used to. School and work meant I couldn’t spend 10 hours a day on the site like I used to.

If you were to start your own community and SMF was not in existence, which forum software would you use?
Either vB or phpBB. I love supporting free software, and open source software, so I’d be drawn to phpBB. There are definitely times when I’d want the features of vB. This is why I really like SMF, it fits nicely between the two in terms of features, is easy to configure and use, and has a great price point of $0!