Something that I was reaffirmed by at SXSW was the community of sharing that exists. It's a really powerful force that makes the web a great place to be and makes me happy to have a career involving the web.
I just finished reading the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and one of the things the author talks about is the abundance mentality. As explained in the book, it's understanding that there's enough for everybody. Others do not have to lose in order for you to succeed. You're always working towards a Win/Win situation, whether that's between you and a co-worker, between you and a client, or even between you and your family.
The web design and development community that I consider myself to be a part of really enforces that ideal. The more you share, the more successful you'll become. That's a really powerful concept.
I remember back at one company I worked for, the discussion of whether to include a portfolio came up. Much concern came over whether the competition would use it to harpoon clients. It was suggested that potential clients require a login to review the portfolio. It was all about putting up barriers. Barriers to the competition and sadly, barriers to potential clients.
When somebody asks me who my competition is, I honestly have to answer that I don't have any. I'm not fighting for bids, having to undercut competitors to get some work. Instead, the work keeps coming in. Often times, it's overflow from those who might otherwise be considered my competition. And likewise, whenever I can't take on new work, I refer people on to others.
If you've got something you know, spread that knowledge around. It might be on design, on development, on business, or whatever. Share your knowledge.
I'd personally like to see more "running a business" insights. Ryan Carson has done a good job of covering the behind-the-scenes of building, maintaining and selling an app. If you have more links to similar resources, I'd love to see them.
Fantastic article Jon. I've seen that book, I've just not had a chance to read it. Now I'm curious.
Well said. I think this abundance idea really should apply in any highly technical field: no one likes the doctor or mechanic who won't tell you what's going on.
Technical expertise is about sharing, because if you're hoarding to keep your job, its only a matter of time before a robot does it.
The abundance mentality it something that you should apply to all aspects of your life. It can help you in every single situation. There is an article on it over at www.bmindful.com
I think sharing also helps improve the standard of the web
I think of a business relationship like a romantic relationship. There is a perfect "mate" for my company. The problem is that many consultancies try to take every customer they can get without even worrying if the customer is right for them or if they are right for the customer. In fact, one of my friends in her own business just took on a project where the client wanted all this advanced programming that she couldn't do so she talked them into just throwing up a static Dreamweaver website. This is why developers and designers aren't taken seriously and why we have a lot of people out there with bad experiences with freelancers.
Another great book along these lines was written by Yahoo! exec Tim Sanders: Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends
I recently wrote a review about From Counterculture to cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism by Fred Turner.
Essentially this book tells a lot about how networking evolved since the coldwar.
Jon - I personally find Brendon Sinclair's insights into the business side of web development firms, which he gives away freely in the sitepoint newsletter he writes - the Sitepoint Tribune:
Brendon's tips for running a firm from a business rather than a technical point of view provide valuable advice for the tech-savvy yet business inept among us.
Great article Jon. I must admit that is one thing that really attracts me to the web design community - the very sense of community. People are so happy so share what they have learnt, share their experiences, share their methods etc. and it really does benefit everybody.
I studied product design at University, and it was interesting to experience the change of attitude in our studio over the years.
Everyone started out in competition, and kept everything close to their chest. As the years progressed people began to open up and share their ideas. Whilst everyone wanted to 'protect' their ideas and their knowledge, we were all quick to realise the benefits of being more open with each other.
Learning that there really was 'enough to go round' was probably one of the most valuable things I learnt at University.
Another spot on observation. Reading your blog feels like reading the posts i never wrote sometimes :)