Who Do You Want To Be?

I really didn’t want to write about this.

I don’t want to be a “tech-news” blogger. I’m not going to break new information, I’m not going to have a unique perspective on something, most of the time anyway. My writing goals are more about learning: how do I make my app better, easier, more useful? How do I become a better leader and a better person?

But here I am, writing about tech news. But not really. Because at the end of the day, the compelling part of the reaction to this whole thing is about life and learning, and I think that’s where I have a unique perspective to bring.

The quick summary, in case you blessedly missed it, is this: Marco Arment released a new version of his Overcast podcast app with a patronage revenue model; he’s essentially asking for donations on a monthly recurring basis. Samantha Bielefeld, in the post linked above, made an argument that this kind of revenue model would only have success for someone in Marco’s situation; specifically, due to his notoriety in the community, past success, and the safety net of his previous ventures (Tumblr) and current other businesses (the ATP podcast).

And then Twitter exploded.

The details beyond this aren’t really relevant to my point here, but if you’re interested there’s plenty of roundups. See the bottom of this post for links to some of them. But here is what made me want to write about this exchange:

I thought this deserved more of a response than I gave it on Twitter, so here we are, and here we go.

It’s time for the individuals in this community to take a step back and consider who they are and who they want to be.

We make software. This by itself doesn’t make us special, progressive, high-minded or anything else. It makes us software developers, and that’s all. We don’t get some kind of special dispensation for people to listen to or put more stock into our opinions simply on the backs of our job.

We should strive to be good people. Not because it makes us better as a “community”, but because it makes us better as individual people, and because it’s the right thing to do. Actively trying to be better today than you were yesterday will change your heart. You look at life and relationships in new ways when it starts happening.

Look for ways to step outside of your bubble. It’s easy to say but hard to do. I struggle with this all the time. Consider your words from other’s perspectives. Consider your actions even more. When someone says something to you that you don’t like, take a breath. Think about where they’re coming from, why they may have said what they said. They’re probably not looking for a fight or an argument; if they are, they’re the exact sort of person you don’t want to engage with. They will tear at your heart.

As I learn how to be a better leader, the concept of servant leadership has come up over and over. An effective leader is one who serves others. If we want to be a community, a REAL community instead of a bunch of people working in a similar industries and occasionally picking sides and getting into fights on Twitter, we will choose to serve each other instead of ourselves.

That’s who I want to be. What about you?

Links to relevant articles:

  • http://www.marco.org/2015/10/13/pragmatic-pricing
  • http://samanthabielefeld.com/journal/the-elephant-in-the-room
  • http://samanthabielefeld.com/journal/big-money-is-coming
  • http://www.buildingtwenty.net/post/131082136955/overcast-pricing
  • http://www.buildingtwenty.net/post/131113848180/overcast-response
  • https://medium.com/@johncwelch/samantha-and-the-great-big-lie-d146a92473a1