Some thoughts on projects and ego management.
There is a phenomenon that I sometimes come across on the interwebs and/or in real life. It shows itself in people who can't really manage their egos and tries to boost their (open source) project at every little chance. After some point, it feels like the only reason for their existence is to promote a single project which advertised as the work of their life.
Now, don't get me wrong. I respect the efforts of doing something / giving back to the community but I frown upon the act of squeezing every last drop of something rather than actually working on something new. On the other hand, I also understand that there are a lot of underappreciated gems staying obscured in the depths of the internet and they need all the attention they might get. However, this doesn't mean that you should attach your existence to one thing and convey the underlying rude message of "I did this" / "you know me for this". If you think your project is successful, then one day it will get the recognition it deserves. It is good to know your own value but there is no need to boast about your project and indirectly praise yourself. Tame your ego.
There is a very thin line between sharing a project and being nice at the same time. Here are some examples:
- "Why did you do this? You should use my X project instead. Don't you know me?"
- "I did something better than this. Check it out!"
Now look at the following sentences:
- "I have this X project for your use case. Maybe it is worth checking out."
- "Here's something that I made which might be more useful."
I think it's not arguable which ones sound nicer and more humane. Communication is the 🔑.
Going back to my original point, "having one single project" and bragging about it. This is something that I see often in different industries including open source. Let's say, you come across someone who made X (irrelevant but X might have or might have not got popular) and they keep shoving X into your face at every chance. I see it as the same thing as following the right strategy for investment, getting rich, and doing absolutely nothing after that (and eventually going bankrupt). In the open source world, you might have a well-known project with a lot of users/stars but if you don't maintain it then it will either collect dust as abandonware and get forked by a community. The hard part is to keep working on X/Y/Z rather than having worked on X and running your mouth.
On the other hand, I think being successful is really hard with only one project. Jack Conte (CEO of Patreon) explains this really well in this video. The world is made of funnels. The more throughput you have and the more prolific you are, the chances of being successful gradually increase. So unless you have a groundbreaking single project, it's best to keep working and pushing commits :3
Here are some people along with their projects from the tech industry:
- Linus Torvalds: Linux, Git
- Richard Stallman: GNU (collection of projects)
- Lennart Poettering: PulseAudio, Avahi, systemd
- Fabrice Bellard: FFmpeg, QEMU, Tiny C Compiler
- Andrew Tridgell: Samba, rsync, ccache
- (let me know who else!)
Also please note that some people might be known for a single project, but I'm sure they have worked on different projects to pave the way for that project :>
Let me know what you think!