It takes a community to create change

A brief break from talking about the software defined datacenter, I thought it might be good to talk about community groups, and a little about giving back.

This morning in Church, the message was about being generous, how we are much happier when we give others what we have, not so much talking about money or possessions, but rather something of ourselves, something that is important. I thought that was an interesting parallel to what our technical communities do.

I was recently recognized for my work in the VMware community with the title of vExpert, the reason I applied to the program is similar to my reason for joining HP. I have for about a decade worked on virtualization and storage platforms. When the opportunity to join HP came up, it was not HP specifically I was excited about. Don’t get me wrong, it is a great company, and an exciting place to be, but it wasn’t on my career plan. What intrigued me was the opportunity to join a company where I could teach others about the technology I am so passionate about, give back to the community, but what sealed the deal was the company philosophy. At the heart of the HP Way are the rules of the garage.

  • Believe you can change the world.
  • Work quickly, keep the tools unlocked, work whenever.
  • Know when to work alone and when to work together.
  • Share – tools, ideas. Trust your colleagues.
  • No politics. No bureaucracy. (These are ridiculous in a garage.)
  • The customer defines a job well done.
  • Radical ideas are not bad ideas.
  • Invent different ways of working.
  • Make a contribution every day. If it doesn’t contribute, it doesn’t leave the garage.
  • Believe that together we can do anything.
  • Invent.

When I look at these, I see them on display in the tech communities, in the user groups, in the books, in the blog posts, in the twitter debates, in the sessions at trade shows, and in the conversations we have with customers, competitors, peers, and friends.  It is amazing how we can all work with different products, for different companies, we can debate who has the best product, but we do seem to have a common goal of educating those around us, and making the world better through technology.

As you go throughout your week, I would encourage you to look around and see what you can do to be generous. Teach someone something, help a junior team members career, get involved in an online community, or better yet join a user group. We all have something to contribute, just remember it’s not about me, it’s not about you, but it is time we started living the rules of the garage, and it is time we all made a difference.

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It takes a community to create change

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