Let me share with you a quick life principle I keep convincing myself of: “It’s never too late to reinvent ourselves.” Cheesy, isn’t it? Maybe… but it’s a principle that has helped me and my partners restructure our work life.
For more than 8 years I’ve been either an employee or co-founder of software development companies and I don’t remember ever feeling comfortable with the open-source contribution approach. Not because open-source was a neglected effort, but because it was not ideally prioritized.
Am I responsible for it? Definitely. I tried doing something about it, but I should have pushed harder. My focus was not entirely right, and therefore I lacked enough motivation.
Companies should not start working on open-source projects just because others have gotten good results from it. If a company is going to become part of the open-source community, it better be convinced about why it’s doing it.
Let’s analyze open-source from different angles and find the right motivation — a motivation that comes from the very core.
Open-source impact on a developer’s life
It all comes down to one thing: every person needs to feel fulfilled at work. People need to feel that what they are spending their time in matters. For any developer, this translates to either of these:
- they are working on a product that adds high value to end-users
- they are working on a tool others developers will leverage
If none of these are true, it could make them feel that they are working on something useless, or that their projects won’t see the day of light. Tell me… who wants to be that person?
Open-source is a great way for those people to level up their work routines. Developers will better their code standards and practices, learn from others, expose their work and increase self-esteem. They will better their careers and in some cases, become industry leaders. They will contribute to different communities for a good cause, giving back to the world they decided to be part of. They will feel happier and perform better when they come back to work on features.
Open-source impact on a company
If developers get empowered by open-source, so will the company. This is true for development companies and for product-based companies as well, because a company is only as good as their people.
By spending more time working on open-source projects, there will be more knowledge about the latest trends in tech and a more collaborative culture will be fostered. More influencers will be part of the company’s network, therefore more partnerships with other companies could be generated; it also attracts more top-talent to come and join the company.
Open-source impact on the community
Open-source and its community can be seen as one; one cannot exist without the other. Therefore, working on open-source projects is to invest in its community — collaborating towards a bigger and better working environment.
Open-source balance vs. blend
If we keep thinking that customer-work and open-source are things we should balance, we’ll keep trying to find the right approach… Why don’t we just acknowledge that both of them are needs? Why don’t we as developers use our best judgment? Let’s just blend open-source into our work life and be better professionals.
I hope this post helps others find the right answer, the right motivation. We need to aim towards a world that collaborates more closely — an empowered world.