The open-source ethos includes a principle that I find really valuable. It’s an attitude. It’s a habit that can be adopted by anybody, no matter what kind of work they are doing.
It’s to share what’s working for you.
For programmers, that often means sharing code, but it doesn’t have to stop there. We can extrapolate to share all sorts of things, and there’s a lot of value in doing so. Here are a few examples.
Open source developer and Github employee, Zach Holman, found himself giving a lot of talks at conferences. Along the way, he learned a ton about public speaking and improved a lot. He realized that the stuff he learned could be helpful to others, so he bought a domain name, collected everything he learned and published it online. Turns out, a lot of people found it helpful and it established him as a source of good information about technical speaking. He’s not a professional speaker. He doesn’t attend Toastmasters meetings or coach CEOs. He’s just a guy who realized what was working for him and decided to share it.
Tory Sparks is a musician who learned enough about the music industry to get her music promoted on the cover of a local magazine. It wasn’t “her big break”, but it was still a successful step forward, so she wrote up how she did it and shared it with other musicians through a friend’s blog. The post was well received (and consequently, her work was promoted even more).
37 Signals was a small software company that built online tools like Basecamp and Highrise. Their products did well, and they experienced various forms of success. Then the company’s founders took all the practices and principles that worked for them and distilled them into a book, which they started to sell. After 300,000 copies and a round on the New York Times Bestseller list, they were the darlings of the tech industry. And all they did was share the unconventional wisdom that worked well for them.
Did you have a success in your work over the last 6 months? Maybe you have a workflow that saves some time or a routine allows you to accomplish more. Tell us about it! Sharing what’s working is a great habit to get into, and you never know who it might help.