Not long time ago I invited a work mate to join me at an Eclipse event. He declined, arguing he wouldn’t have time for stuff he’s not expecting to use. He had a point there, I had to concede.
This guy was very passionate about his project and always tried to single out what could be improved in every corner of it. Very good, so far. My only issue with his approach was that most of these improvements were coming from a rather static point of view, shuffling almost the same pieces around in search of the optimum. However, the software development world evolved a lot, new paradigms emerged or failed, fresh technologies replaced dusty ones and… Shortly put, I think one always needs some fresh air in order to better ascertain possible improvements. But how to get these new angles when you don’t move out of your actual context? So whenever we discussed about the status of his work I tried to place hints from the outside world – how this topic would be covered in that technology, what radical changes would bring this other framework, of course no real propositions, just trying to reframe everything as seen from different points of view. And lo, curiosity proved to be a strong factor – my mate said at least, what about he’d come to check what the Eclipse world has to say.
To call the event that followed a success would be an understatement. By pure chance, my colleague met there the main developer of a technology he was struggling to use just at that moment. The resulted conversation taught him many of those hows and whys only an insider would know… Even the rest, he noted wholeheartedly, provided him an incredible view on what the rest of the world can do – and actually does. I quote: “I should be punished for not noticing these events until now”. That’s what he said the next day indeed then proceeded to look in new ways at his project (well, this I can only hope).
What did I learn myself out of this story? Passion is good, but there’s so much beyond it. Open up as well, look around, climb some shoulders… learn that you’re not alone.