Boone Gorges has a really insightful post on becoming, “one of the suckers,” as Nacin so lovingly put it when it was announced he had full commit access to WordPress.
Boone compares his years of efforts working on the smaller BuddyPress project versus his months of efforts on the larger WordPress project, and how those experiences are very different. I was significantly enlightened by what he had to say. His experience makes sense but isn't what I would've expected.
I'm not going to quote any of it here, because I really think you should read it in full. It doesn't have big whammo quotes but it's got some great insight.