Node.js — Always Forward ✨

JavaScript and Node.js. Catching up with David Guttman after #OSSummit North America 2017

I just got back from Open Source Summit North America. Jim Zemlin, the Executive Director of the Linux Foundation, brought together an amazing community around a thought provoking event.

#OSSummit

The keynotes set the tone. I cried at least twice during the event. One was when Chris Aniszczyk announced the amazing growth in the Cloud Native Computing Foundation AKA CNCF. (We can do better. 📞) But seriously, I was in tears as Joseph Gordon-Levitt shared the collaborative short film, “First Stars I See Tonight”, they had created though HitRECord. The entire spectrum of how this effort came together is amazing. The journey itself is as beautiful as the end product. The remix and collaboration allows us to express something that wouldn’t be possible to create on our own.

“First Stars I See Tonight” from Joseph Gordon-Levitt through HitRECord

There’s so much to share about the #OSSummit experience, but that’s not the point of this story. For the sake of this narrative, I’m going to fast forward to the Inclusivity Summit during my last day.

Amy Codes gave a great talk about building your own platform and how she built a media presence and network though YouTube and sharing what she’s passionate about. I love how she remixed models from outside tech to make the things that she finds interesting approachable and uniquely her own.

Bring your own platform if you don’t find the one you need

I came away inspired. I’ve been wanting to create more content. Especially, video. Media is something I love. It is also extraordinarily resource intensive.

Working on my startup, NodeSource, all of my energy and my time was focused on growing the company. As a founder, I believe it’s essential you put the identity of the work you’re creating above your own ego. It’s essential for the long long term health of the company. If you are successful, you earn the right to have that be a part of your legacy.

Now, I’m unencumbered by that need. I’m free to focus on my own needs.

And I’m certain the world needs more dshaw!

Community and Accountability

I’ve heard many times over the past years, and poignantly in a recent conversation with David Guttman of js.la and so much more, that the community narrative that I shared on NodeUp was missed. I agree.

Honestly, I miss it myself.

Our community, as well as many others across the world, is clamoring for accountability. I’m right there with you. I’ve been asking what can I do, not just for Node.js and JavaScript, but also my civic duty and my contributions to an increasingly global society.

However, what breaks my heart, is outcry that when asked how they would do better, folks respond with an easy admission that they would not themselves be able to do it.

I’m sorry, that’s not accountability.

As a society, we’ve become increasingly able to observe behavior. I can now easily keep in touch with friends and family, a community, and a vast array of networks.

Still not accountability.

For a system to be accountable, it has to be actionable. Even better, we have to possess clarity and shared expectations on its outcomes.

Accountability is hard.

Most of us tend to follow paths of least resistance. Systems of accountability add resistance. We impose constraints to normalize outcomes. Accountability is hard, but worth doing… especially when we want to help others succeed.


Doing better through role models

I think the single greatest way to model accountability is by representing them through our own actions. When we represent with our actions we demonstrate viability. We create accountability by enabling those actions to be repeatable by others.

My inspiration to become a part of the JavaScript community and subsequently the Node.js community was the way leaders in our community chose to share their journeys. My own earliest role models include John Resig, Paul Irish, Pamela Fox, and Ben Nadel. Each of these individuals shared as much of their journey with code and the JavaScript community as the final output. We learned from the early masters in Node.js where Ryan Dahl, Isaac Schlueter, TJ Holowaychuk, and Substack all added their own flavors.

This vulnerability and willingness to share through the unknown is what most inspired me to invest so much of my career in this community.

It’s powerful because it encourages repeatability. Inherent in that repeatability is remix. I know there are folks who have emulated me and it’s always a joy to see others make it their own.


“Always Forward, Forward Always.”

Always bet on Node.js ✨

To help model our path forward, I’m going back to my roots and am going to start publishing some media content. I’m starting with a simple podcast on a provocative topic put forth by Mikeal with Modern Modules. I invited Mikeal Rogers and Evan Tahler, a library author currently midway through a major rewrite, to dive deeper into the topic. Media and differing perspectives add tone not perceptible through text.

I published the assets of the first episode as quickly as possible to share the live narrative. Now I have handed this to Jordan Miur, who runs NodeUp, to syndicate there.

I initially wanted to push all the assets to GitHub.

GitHub was unimpressed: https://github.com/dshaw/alwaysforward/commit/920b9b7036ed86a8d9ea06d2a46c6c004cbc4261

I’m going to have to automate a few more things, as Mikeal found out when he was ramping up with creating new modules.

We are at an exciting inflection point in both the JS and Node.js community. I look forward to working with all of you through the Node.js Foundation and all of our great community leaders. There are voices that we need to hear across the ecosystem from core developers, module authors, business users and corporate contributors and though leaders.

Let’s do this… together.

#AlwaysForward