My name is Lewis Barron, and I am a front-end developer in the Stuff.co.nz team. Here goes my first stab at writing a blog post.
The Wellington Webstock 2015 is the fifth Webstock conference I have attended and over the years I have found many of the talks to be inspirational and thought-provoking. After two days at Webstock, I almost always find myself leaving with my mind in a sort of “creative overdrive”. It usually results in a couple of sleepless nights where my mind will start brainstorming on its own despite my protests for sleep. As Karl Pilkington once asked “Who is more in charge, you or your brain?”. After Wellington Webstock, it’s most definitely my brain.
But getting back on track, one of the Webstock talks this year that I found to be particularly inspiring was a talk by Brad Frost. Brad is a Web designer, developer and writer and is well known for his work developing responsive designs. I attended one of his responsive-design workshops at a previous Wellington Webstock and learned quite a bit about the different approaches to developing successful cross-device compatible websites, using fluid design layouts.
This year however, Brad took a slightly different approach. He talked about the importance of sharing knowledge and information and opening your code and ideas to the community, for the sake of the greater good. He highlighted the fact that we Web people are actually “leading the way” when it comes to this new age of global connectivity and sharing. In other words, us Web gurus understand the power of Ubuntu’ness, and I think this is something we all need to be proud of and continue building upon. By collaborating to develop new ideas and solve common problems we evolve as a whole, which inevitably benefits us all.
After his talk, I started to reflect a little more on myself. As a developer, I often seek the wisdom of the greater Web community to troubleshoot problems or to build on my own ideas and yet I must confess that I don’t feel I contribute as much back in return as I would probably like. After all those years of popping onto Google and relying on my trusty Stack Overflow to solve that stubborn IE8 bug, “how often do I give a little back?” I asked myself. Not as much as I should!
This is something I want to change. Something I need to add to my list of new years resolutions, to sit somewhere between the resolutions of “Stop eating so much junk food!” and “Do more exercise!”. I decided, from this moment forward, I will try (no wait.. there is either do, or do not, there is no try!), I will share more of my ideas, code, and any stubborn IE8 breakthroughs with my fellow devs. If you feel you could do more to “give a little back”, I invite you to join me on my endeavour!
Lets not stop there though. This philosophy of “Ubuntu’ness” expands far beyond the realms of the Web and I think this was also one of the messages Brad wanted to get across. I believe that when we leave this world, what truly matters is not how much money we made, or how far we had climbed up the career ladder, what truly matters is what we left behind for the rest of humanity, and the lives we positively impacted. That doesn’t mean we have to become the next Ghandi, or make a scientific breakthrough in nuclear fusion. Just making one small contribution every day can make all the difference, whether or not you are a Web Guru.
So, I guess I will conclude by saying, thank you Brad Frost for that talk, you opened my mind to the importance of sharing, not only on the Web, but in general. Let's all give a little back.
To quote the late Leonard Nimoy,
“The miracle is this - The more we share, the more we have.”