Then, at the latest, you successfully overcame all the resistance. Are you particularly stubborn or why did this work so well for you?
MF: Of course, on the one hand this is about believing in things, staying committed to them and asserting oneself in the company against all resistance. And I had to put a lot into it myself. But the whole package was actually groundbreaking: Gira sells an on-board computer. A central unit in a decentralised system which takes on a leading role in the KNX system. Which can also be updated and which passes on every new feature to the market free of charge. Every six months, Sales were also able to have a discussion with the customer as there were always new things to report with regard to this product. New functions were constantly being created, which enabled the customer to develop unprecedented solutions.
There's a little bit of a feel here of the early days of the internet, isn't there?
MF: Yes, the entire development of the range of functions was very strongly influenced by discussions and exchanges of ideas between Product Development, Product Management and customers. The idea that customers could also become "accomplices" came up very early. They knew what they needed, could also themselves generate ideas which we then incorporated into the product.
In the sense of an Open Source project, like with Mozilla Firefox, for example?
MF: A little bit, although of course we are a profit-oriented company and not a non-profit organisation. But back then we set up a tester forum for the first time, in which users, i.e. owners of a HomeServer also participated. From version HomeServer 2, so in around 2004/2005 even a real community came about. This then involved modularity concepts. It was no longer the case as in the past where products were developed and delivered, and that was it. The HomeServer became a product that could be permanently further developed in small and large steps.