As I look back at growing up in a small town, there was a surprising lack of everyone wanting to move to the city as soon as they could. Perhaps that was because there is not a recognizible city anywhere near coastal eastern Maine. Despite, there still was a lingering belief that people were different elsewhere. Granted, they’re different, but in the same ways.
The majority of those I consider my colleagues have not worked for the same companies that I have. While our projects are of importance to our companies, it is usually our passion and not our employment that drive them. Some days I feel certain this is commonly understood, but it only takes a personal blog policy or a social media marketing drive to remind me that I’m actually isolated on an island of like-minded individuals hiding under the radar like stowaways. You can’t escape culture, but you can find different ones.
In Paul Graham’s recent essay about Apple, he markedly warns of mistreating the developers of your platform, lest they form a distaste for your brand altogether. Before I read the essay I was feeling quite sure that it was commonly understood today that developers are your greatest asset. Perhaps more valuable than even your big idea. Likely due to being mentioned by name in the essay, I was reminded of the great Google interview algorithm; commonly known for streamlining their processes at the cost of the interviewee. This seems to only alienate the prospect, unless they happen to enjoy passing tests over creating value. As the strengths of mass-collaboration become more accepted, it strikes me odd that on the whole we’re still missing that it is made up of individual human talent.
The product of our creativity is no longer hidden behind towering walls of corporations. We are global citizens innovating for the sake of it. You won’t see this on a college transcript, in ones knowledge of inodes, or in a six month product road map of release stability. The pieces are not exactly hidden either. I’m tempted to point out how slowly we’re changing by example with the United States’ difficulty transitioning from educating factory workers to innovators now that globalization has helped much of the the rest of the world catch up as industrial nations. However I can’t help but remember that we’ve gotten this far on our own.
Despite reminding us that we are living in a small town, the murmuring you’ve heard from pundits and rabble-rousers but could not make out sounds perfectly clear here. We are not going to wait for you to get it. The catch is that we no longer need to move to the city, because we’re building it every day. Coming?