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DNN Changed My Life...

One of the benefits of traveling the world and meeting with DNN developers and users in person, is that I get to hear some truly inspiring stories of entrepreneurship and success within our ecosystem.  Over the past 11 years, DNN has enabled people of modest backgrounds, education, business experience, culture, and financial resources to overcome adversity, unleash their creativity and achieve amazing things in their careers and in business.  So it is no wonder that there is almost a cultish passion that surrounds DNN and a desire for people to share their stories with others.

"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime."

Most people are familiar with this ancient proverb, but have never considered how it relates to open source software platforms like DNN.  While it is true that open source platforms are offered at no cost, their benefits go far beyond short term gratification.  The true value of an open source platform is its use both as the foundation for building an unlimited number of unique commercial products, as well as being a rich toolset for creating valuable custom websites and solutions for clients.  The capabilities and flexibility of an open source platform, offers huge benefits to entrepreneurs who are interested in creating, accelerating, or scaling their technology business dreams and goals.  It is the gift that keeps on giving.

After hearing a few exceptional DNN entrepreneurial stories at a recent conference in Italy, I thought it might be worthwhile to create a blog series which allows people in our ecosystem to share how DNN has changed their lives.

The first story I would like to share comes from a long-time DNN entrepreneur, Salar Golestanian.  Salar is based in the United Kingdom and was one of the original DNN Core Team members.  He has been operating a successful DNN consulting business for over a decade now.  During dinner at a recent event in Lake Garda, amongst a group of other DNN entrepreneurs, he humbly explained how DNN had changed his life...

"10 years ago I had established a reputation with DNN and was receiving more project enquiries than I could handle myself.  So I decided that I would explore some outsourcing options.  I had some previous experience with setting up an office in Delhi in 2001, but had learned the hard way that while it is possible to find developers there, it is extremely hard to keep them.  So I decided to look at other areas in India and discovered some talented developers in Pondicherry.


Pondicherry sits on the Indian Ocean coastline in Southern India.  It has amazing potential as a tourist attraction, and achieved some recent recognition for being featured in the blockbuster movie Life of Pi. But even more importantly, the people who live there are loyal, hard-working family people with a significant distance to the nearest big city of Chennai.  This meant that I had a chance to achieve the same loyalty to my business from my developers.  I travelled to Pondicherry in 2004 to meet them in person, having to arrive by boat in true ‘Simon Reeve BBC’ style.

Traveling to Pondicherry by boat

I found them living in happy yet modest accommodation by our western standards.  They graciously invited me into their humble homes, to share their food and meet their families and I was immediately impressed with their honesty and work ethic.   I was confident that the infrastructure in the area was sufficient and decided to hire 6 developers.

Old house

We have completed many DNN projects in the years since and have achieved much greater success than I ever expected.  Outsourcing is not without its challenges, but it has allowed me to build a successful business and for them, to greatly improve their living conditions and lifestyle in Pondicherry for themselves and their families.   As you can see from the photos above and below, the Office Manager was living with his wife and her entire family in a very small and basic house.  They have since managed to relocate to a house he had built to accommodate their growing family.  This is luxury in Pondicherry and has undoubtedly changed their way of life for the better.

New house

And I am very proud to say that the original 6 developers are still members of my current team.  This year the plan is to build our own office in Pondicherry - we are looking at plots of land now with the view to finish the building in 2015. This will mean access to better resources and technology for my business and provide work for local builders and craftsmen.  Ultimately it will also keep these lovely people working and living close to their families, which is where they want to be."

If you think you have an interesting story, please feel free to reach out to me at You do not need to publicly reveal the identity of yourself or your customers in order to participate.



Chuck Rizzio
To Shaun and Salar, thank you for sharing this story. This reminds me very much of how things used to be in the United States. It used to be that the signs of a successful business were much more than the bottom line. I recall one business owner saying that the most gratifying thing about running his business was the fact that the company provided the means for the people that worked there to support their families and provide their children with more than they had as children. Don't get me wrong, I still think this is a great country but I think that we have lost sight of what is really important.

Have a great day all...
Chuck R.
Chuck Rizzio Monday, June 23, 2014 6:30 PM (link)
Bob Kruger
Very touching story. Many thanks for sharing!
Bob Kruger Monday, June 23, 2014 7:55 PM (link)
Very inspiring story...thanks for sharing Shaun.
Han Tuesday, June 24, 2014 12:28 AM (link)
Beth Firebaugh
Thank you for sharing this story, Shaun and Salar! Retaining the original 6 developers speaks volumes for the quality of business you have built!
Beth Firebaugh Tuesday, June 24, 2014 1:10 PM (link)
Michael Tobisch
Good story - and as I have already worked with Salar and his Indian team, I have to say: the success is well-deserved! All the best for the next 10 years!
Michael Tobisch Thursday, June 26, 2014 5:08 AM (link)
Gifford Watkins
Like, like, like!
Gifford Watkins Thursday, June 26, 2014 2:34 PM (link)
tale huy
Have you any plan go to Vietnam in the future,Shaun.
tale huy Friday, June 27, 2014 11:18 AM (link)
Sunil Kumar
Nice story Shaun.. feeling great to be associated with dnn and also feels great to be an Indian.
Sunil Kumar Tuesday, September 9, 2014 3:48 AM (link)

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