Better Competition

Just Recently, an incident happened that received far too little attention. The Vue.js Github repository surpassed the React Github repository in number of stars. Now this is certainly a noteworthy event, but it’s not the one I’m referring to. It was actually what the React team did when this happened.

They did this:

Even more remarkable than one project getting more stars than another, is behavior like this. Behavior we can look up to. Behavior we can aspire to model.

Let’s contrast this to another story. Several years ago I worked at a company here in Utah that had a lot of promise. At a particular company meeting, the new company President relayed a story from a previous company he was at, to show how great and competitive he was. They had a rival company, and he had managed to land a big contract with a client, and steal away business from the rival company. He then proceeded to buy a copy of the book “Sales for Dummies” and mailed it to the other company’s director of sales.

Now, many people appreciate sports, and competition. And certainly we all like winning. But sit for a moment and think. Which company would you want to be an employee of? Who would you want as your boss? People like these two examples, are helping to build the world we live in. Which of them would you want as the primary architect?

I personally don’t believe in the idea that we can eliminate all forms of competition. I’m not a fan of just having participation trophies at all levels of competition in sports. I know that no matter what we do, we, and our children are going to face losing, and we should be prepared to handle it.

But I also don’t believe that life is a zero sum game. Even the competition between companies is ultimately beneficial to all of humanity. In the 70’s and 80’s the India national car company produced terrible, overpriced cars. Why? Because they had no competition. Then when India began letting foreign car manufacturers sell cars in India, the national car company was forced to improve. As a result they started manufacturing better, cheaper cars. In the end, life was better for everyone.

That’s one of the ideals behind the Framework Summit, a conference I’ve been working on for the past year. That the front end framework landscape is not a zero sum game. That it’s not teams of red vs blue vs yellow, but instead, we are a whole community, and getting everyone together, learning from each other will only improve ALL our lives.

It’s also why I’m especially excited that the day before the conference, we are going to have a special summit for the teams building all the modern front end frameworks. Angular, React, Ember, Elm, Vue, etc. They’ll all be in the same room, learning from each other. And that sharing is going to make things better for not only them, but for all of us.

Here’s to building, not destroying.