Open source and autonomy

Your job probably has some unsavory elements. Maybe it’s editing, or fact-checking, or writing documentation. Whatever it is, you man up, put you nose to the grindstone, and crunch through it.

The funny thing is, there are people out there that love fact-checking.

There are people out there that love writing documentation.

There are people out there that love tweaking interfaces, taking photos, or tracking down software bugs. They love it so much that they are willing to do these things in their spare time, for fun.

The world of open source is teaching us a lot about the kind of work we get from people who self-assemble and work together to building awesome things for no pay. They have more passion. They have more autonomy. They do better work, in less time, despite all the obstacles surrounding having a distributed, loosely organized team, without much structure or resources.

One of the major principles from Dan Pink’s book “Drive” was that people work better when they are self directed. Some feel like that’s unintuitive. Does it surprise you that somebody who loves writing documentation writes better documentation than somebody who does it begrudgingly? Seems like common sense to me.