When I was young, we had a collection of books called The Encyclopedia Britannica. I still remember the thick, leather-bound books that sat in the study in my parents’ house like stout pillars of knowledge. They contained everything in the universe that you could ever wish to know.
Now, the company is out of business.
Wikipedia is here. Hold up your hand if you use Wikipedia. I certainly do. I love it because it is the work of millions of people. Yes, we all contribute to this huge, living and growing Fact-Tree. No wonder Encyclopedia Britannica went out of business. There was no way expensive static books could compete with free, ever-growing tree of knowledge.
Wikipedia is the ultimate in collaboration. And collaboration is in the human spirit at its purest form. We want to reach out and pull each other up, it is natural.
Yesterday was the day I gave away free downloads of my parenting book. I did lots of preparation beforehand, from making video tutorials on how to download Kindle to where to find the book, but there was no foreseeing all the issues that will arise on the actual day. There were 639 questions coming in fast and furious, ranging from the highly technical to the “What is Kindle?” and “How do I find the Kindle Store button?”
If it had been a conventional business, I would have had to set up a call centre or annoy a lot of customers. But in this wonderful community that I have established through my tireless blogging and Facebook-ing, an army of mummies (my so-called Mummy Army) marched out in their numbers to help each other. They were patiently explaining the steps to each other, they were troubleshooting and posting screen shots, sharing and joking with each other like old friends. Something very beautiful was happening in our cyber world yesterday. I wish I could bottle the essence.
I was exhausted, jubilant and humbled at the end of the long day. And filled with ever so much gratitude for the beautiful spirit of collaboration I had witnessed. My daughter Georgina, the subject of my parenting book, was doing her exams all day – I would love for her to have been here to experience the beautiful solidarity and power of working together to realise a mutual goal. I believe it is a very important lesson to for children to learn. Collaboration is the lifeblood of many successful ventures. My son went to Royal Naval College Dartmouth and I believe he was taught that. I learned it sitting in my office which is a beach shack, courtesy of my Facebook friends and fellow bloggers.
Yesterday, we pulled off something amazing. My book got to #3 on Kindle Store in the parenting genre. Here’s a big thank you to my Mummy Army.