Jeff Longland

Relax, don't worry – have a home brew!

#OSCON – Open Source 2.0: The Science of Community Management

with 2 comments

  • Presenter: David Eaves (Vancouver, yo!)
  • Social capital determines the competitive advantage of your project.  Social capital *is* your capital.
  • How do we lower ‘transaction costs’ to make it easier for people to work together?
  • Three myths of open source:
    • Your Open Source community is a meritocracy.
      • David: There is nothing about open source that is a true meritocracy.
      • What you’re telling people is that if they work really, really hard – they’ll have the same opportunities as everyone else.  It’s not really true.
      • Your job as a leader is to make the power structures hackable.
    • Open Source  is about collaboration.
      • When open source is really working well…  it’s actually anti-collaborative.  Architect for co-operation.
      • The genius of open source has been to break projects into chunks where people can go and work in isolation.  Then bring it back and fold it into the project.  This is what makes projects efficient.
      • Always be thinking about how you can make problems into co-operative problems, rather than collaborative problems.
      • Forking used to be a dirty word.  Github has saved open source – forking is enormously powerful.  It has pushed innovation outward to allow people to work individually, then co-operate.
      • Open source works best when we enable the lowest common denominator – the individual.  Github has enabled this in a significant way.
      • Firefox extensions are a good example of how this can succeed.  It certainly created new problems (performance), but it allowed individuals to do their thing without needing to work on trunk.
    • Coders don’t need negotiation skills to succeed
      • Interesting exercise where people paired up, effectively in an arm wrestle – but with rules that weren’t for an arm wrestle.  The majority of people fought each other.  The moral is that we have downloaded behaviours and norms that influence our behaviour.
      • We need to hack our social norms and behaviours!  Your starting assumptions will
      • What is your goal at any given point in a conversation?  Are you there to win?  Or to solve the problem?  They are profoundly different goals.  And even if you start out looking to solve the problem, a competitive behaviour may creep into the situation.  Constantly reflect on your goals if you want to achieve a high value outcome.
      • Good communication is in all of our best interests.  People, generally, do what they believe is in their best interest.
      • Your job as a mediator and facilitator is to figure out people’s underlying concerns.
      • If you can architect a problem such that you can avoid negotiation (ie. collaboration), then you’re in really good shape.  Get problems into the cooperation space, rather than the collaboration space.
      • Email is a horrible tool for working through collaboration issues.
  • Book Recommendations:
    • Difficult Conversations
    • Getting to Yes
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Written by jlongland

July 18, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Posted in OSCON 2012

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  1. [...] The keynote is on Youtube in O’reilly’s coverage of their event.  His longer talk isn’t online, but a writeup of what he said has been posted.  [...]

  2. [...] but informally titled Three Myths of Open Source Communities, but Jeff Longland helpfully took these notes and I'll try to rewrite it as a series of blog posts in the near [...]


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