“Share your gifts.” 60 Seconds With: Danese Cooper, VP of Special Initiatives at NearForm

60 Seconds With, Business | Tue 25 Dec | Author – Business & Finance
Danese Cooper

Danese Cooper, VP of Special Initiatives at NearForm takes on the Business & Finance 60-second interview challenge.


Q. What was your first job?

I worked in my father’s auto-body business as a combination clerk (typing up invoices and preparing the payroll) and “parts girl” (driving around Los Angeles in a van picking up shipments of parts for damaged cars we were fixing).

Q. What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

My kids, who are becoming amazing adults! But if you mean in technology, it’s hard to choose because I’ve been so lucky to work on great projects. It could have been working on the tech underlying what is now called FaceTime, or maybe my contributions to creating the hugely popular OpenOffice project. Or maybe it was my amazing Wikimedia engineering team. Just lately I’m most proud of helping to create the InnerSourceCommons.org community, because I believe InnerSource is the best method of software engineering.

Q. In three words or fewer, how do you define success?

Share your gifts.

Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Learn to find satisfaction from within. Don’t dwell on external validation.

Q. How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

First of all, I believe if you’re not having fun at work then you’re doing it wrong. I’m a bit of a pied piper as a boss. I love to help the staff stretch and grow in their own careers by working just outside their comfort zone. Collaboration is definitely better than solitary genius.

Q. If you could step into the shoes of one business person for the day, who would it be and why?

Jeff Bezos. Sometimes I don’t understand why he does what he does. He’s amassed a lot of wealth. I’d want to convince him to share more of it.

Q. How do you relax?

I have loads of hobbies. I play Irish traditional music (not as fast as some of my friends, and mostly on mandolin), I love yoga and gyrotonics, I spin, crochet and knit. I also sew sometimes. Oh, and I love to cook from scratch.

Q. What’s your motto?

My husband would say it is, “How hard can it be?”

Q. What are your aspirations for the future of your business?

I want InnerSource to become the way every software engineer works. Open Source has been so overwhelmingly popular, but only a tiny percentage of software engineers worldwide get to work as transparently and collaboratively as Open Source developers currently do. Adopting InnerSource methods is the best way for companies to change that.

Learn to find satisfaction from within. Don’t dwell on external validation.