English original (text approved by Groundspeak) of the cacheCon Keynote (more information)

(Tom Phillips)
First of all thank you so much, it’s nice to come as far as Germany and know that the game is growing so wonderful well here. I think one thing that Jeremy, Elias and Bryan, the three founders of Groundspeak really wanted me to come over not only to learn how Geocaching is evolving and changing in Germany but also to thank everybody here. Because its you guys that create the game. The game is about this community. And I think the most important thing we actually call lackeys? and I don’t know how many people associate it with Groundspeak, but how many people know what that word means.

(Audience)
(We) use the same word in Germany almost. We know it’s “humble servant”.

(Tom Phillips)
Yeah, and truly _that’s_ _it_. So I don’t know how many people are familiar with how Groundspeak started. It may be very familiar here in this group. But basically, as Groundspeak startet, so the 10th anniversery, the 10th birthday of Groundspeak is coming up on May 2nd up next year, 2010. So it’s been 10 years. And on that day Dave Ulmer outside in Oregon placed the first cache, so the first stash out, as an experiment. He just wanted to see if anybody could find it now that GPS was more available. And 3 days later 3 different groups had found it and – it started. And over the course of the next few month there were 75 caches as other people picked up the idea and wanted to hide them, starting in the US and then moved on to other countries. But very quickly everybody started to realize that it was hard to know who was hiding caches and how did you find out were those caches were.

So Mike Teague was the next person who stepped in. And Mike really tried to figure out all the different web sites that were started to create and hide caches and put that together onto one website. And as he did that again he got up to 75 caches and it started to become a big job and a hard job and that’s when Jeremy and Elias came in and basically said to him we would love to as a hobby because we like this game we would love to figure out there is a web site that we can create that would make it easy to find out what’s hidden, make it easy to hide something and share it. And really just
start to providing tools that let the community be creative and take the game wherever it needs to go. So the idea of being a servant or a lackey to this game is very much where the organization of Groundspeak is all about. If we can understand what you are doing as geocachers and what types of problems, issues, opportunities your running into. We wanna hear that and we wanna see if there’s anything we can do to give you tools to make it easier. And that’s a big part of it.

So Groundspeak now is 35 people, so over the course of 10 years it’s grown to be 35. The 3 founders are still there. It’s also important for you to know that Groundspeak has never been in something that was supported by taking money from somebody else. No company, no investors, no corporation. Jeremy and Elias and Bryan started one day by selling t-shirts. They got a 144 t-shirts donated to them and they started selling them to people that were geocaching. That made them enough money so they can do a little web development and really it was just a hut so over time it started to become bigger and bigger and they knew that they really wanted to have people on it full time. But it has never taken money from anybody else. It has money that comes in through selling the problems it solves. So the web site itself doesn’t create any money but selling tracking codes and products that support the game. And those things all go back in hopefully designing more tools for the community. So now the 35 people at Groundspeak what we do is we all work on different problems that the community has asked us to work on. So we have a team that just works on the web site. All the things that we can do on the web site that makes it more useful for everybody.

(Audience)
German translation?

(Tom Phillips)
Which is very important. The translations, the first way that we tried to deal with that was Geocaching.de said we will translate, we’re happy to provide it as long as you can give as the data and so twice a week Bryan Roth, one of our founders, he runs complete data reports for everything around in Germany and pass that off to Geocaching.de. But very quickly everybody knows that as the game has grown and starts to become unique in certain areas and certainly Germany is a great one there better tools we need to have.

We need to have web sites that supported the language. So the first time you saw Groundspeak do something is we came out with – people now that GPS is on everybodies phones they are asking is there a way to geocache on their phones. So the first application that came out was the iPhone-application and that is supported in German and French and English and Dutch.

(Audience, speaks German)
also auf dem Telefon gibt es das in verschiedenen Sprachen

(Tom Phillips)
Yes. And so that is really the goal. And so it’s important for you to know this started with Dave Ulmer in Oregon. Now there are 900, as of this morning 903000 caches in all over the world, in 223 countries and the thing that is exciting is to know that the United States have a lot of caches. Number 2 now in the world is Germany. So Germany has over a 100000 caches. And it’s a wonderful thing to see all the geocachers in Germany not only sharing it but with these tools taking the game where you want it to go. So, one of the important things for me is always to get a chance to meet you, get a chance to listen, what are the things that you see as problems, as opportunities, as things you’d like us to work on and our little group of 35 people in Seattle really want to try to help to solve some of the problems.

(Audience)
I think there is really already one message that you can take back to Seattle, because when you look at our program today, you’ll see that it is quite heavy OpenStreetMap. I mean half the day is on OSM and when you look on the OSM statistics then I’m not sure Germany, maybe you guys can help me there, is number 1 or number 2 in participation in OSM. Is it number 1? It is. So, really, in my word if we go to Geocaching.com you show GoogleMaps, Topo-Maps, but there’s no OSM link yet, so I think that is one of the next steps that you really should think about how to best integrate OSM also into Geocaching and use those maps as one. And if those guys need any help, hey, you at least have the first contacts here to ask. As we just heard Germany is very active in OSM and if you have any questions there on interfacing and so on there is a lot of base forums and everything. So that’s definitely one message.

(Tom Phillips)
Absolutely. And I think one thing that is important for this group to know as well is that Germany is unique to the Geocaching community of in that many of discussion forums often operate on forums that are outside of the Groundspeak forums, so sometimes those messages don’t come back as quickly as they can, so again that’s why these relationships, talking to reviewers, talking with anybody, helps us figure out issues like that.