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interview Felix autumn 2008

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In his mail interview (Autumn 2008) Florian (BW username kiwiflave) asks Felix (BW username steinwinde) his views on the challenges and possibilities faced by BeWelcome and BeVolunteer. Some of the topics discussed include motivation, work styles and a personal perspective on the larger vision of BW and BV.

Hi Felix, could you briefly describe your position in BeWelcome (BW) and what you are doing for a living?
Sure. I'm an applications development analyst for a British internet provider. In BeWelcome I help with software development, although moving to London, UK has restricted my time a bit.
How would you characterize your team?
A group of very diverse characters, working loosely together and enjoying (or not) the different work styles each of them has. This adds to the liveliness and the fun within the group.
Why are you volunteering for BeWelcome?
I like to volunteer for hospitality exchange because I see it as a great way of traveling with the possibility to make friends or at least to meet friendly people. On my journeys it allows me to get very close to the local community I am visiting. BeWelcome seems to be the more democratic network compared to the other (online) ones, it is based on a legal association and although some very active volunteers like Jean-Yves may play a major role in it I don't have the feeling, that a single person or a small group could make decisions without the feedback of the "basis". BW is open source and has never treated other networks as something unpleasant you d have to get rid of. To me that was very important. The willingness to integrate and the openness of BW. Programming is easy when you have enough work experience - so volunteering for BW is actually not that difficult for me. But more than that I enjoy having made good friends through BeWelcome and it's just a lot of fun to work together, or meet, or party...
What do you see as the main challenge working for BW?
To be honest, I'm a very systematic, efficient "German" worker. A big challenge is to be able to cope with the extremely productive, but sometimes chaotic and headstrong way of working of Jean-Yves. LOL.
What motivates you?
To see that I can help the website (and as such the project itself) advance and evolve. But also appraisal and feedback from BW friends (Jean-Yves and others) motivates me to work for BW.
Where do you see the role of BW within the hospex world?
Maybe it's thanks to BeWelcome that CS is much more democratic now than it used to be some years ago. Maybe it's thanks to BW that HC is now considering to become an open source project, too. The mere existence of such positive values at BW surely challenged other networks. Apart from that I enjoy BeWelcome like a small, wonderful flower as it offers more alternative culture, openness for experiments and a feeling of belonging together. In this BW is clearly a rolemodel for the other networks.
Which challenges do you believe BW has to deal with in the next 2 years?
Apart from establishing hospex networks in sites like Facebook I think that the differences of the volunteers within BeWelcome will surely be a challenge. And it won't get easier to attract new volunteers if BW gets older without a significant increase in member numbers.
What has been your funniest moment with BW so far?
I laughed a lot when the developers team had planned an important deployment which was appruptly stopped because "Sokrates", the rabbit of Jean-Yves (or his daughters?), bit through his network cables...
Felix, many thanks for the interview, I hope we'll see you around BW for a long time!
interview_Felix_autumn_2008