I’m going to try to start a meme. I don’t know whether it’ll work, but let’s try. Using the community success questions I posed in my last post, I’ll tell you how I did this year. You do the same. Maybe we can get a better idea of where people are struggling and succeeding.
- Did I earn a living? Yes, this has been a good year in that regard. I’ve been with the same company, Elevated Rails, since fall ’07.
- Was I able to incubate new ideas? Sort of. This is the area where I’ve struggled the most. I’ve been so busy building and organizing things that I didn’t leave much time for reflecting, writing, and tinkering. That’s been educational and interesting in its own way, but I know in 2009 I need to leave more space for messy, purposeless, creative activity.
- Did I grow in ways I wanted? Oh yes. I continued co-organizing community events like BarCamp and Ignite, took the lead on a new one (WhereCamp PDX), and started an open-source project (Calagator). As a result, I learned a huge amount about organizing groups of people, listening to needs, and how to keep things rolling without being a crazy dictator. I also feel like my work is starting to have an effect beyond my own social bubble: this fall I was named one of Ultimate Northwest Magazine’s 25 creative thinkers.
For 2009, I’m trying to continue the interesting community projects and still leave time for new ideas. I won’t be continuing on the Legion of Tech board, in part to ensure that I can give our new Open Source Bridge conference the attention it needs. Calagator is still making progress toward its 1.0 development goal. I’m also taking some time off at the end of this year to rest and catch up on backlogged projects. I have video to edit (cat vs. Roomba!), a sweater to knit, electronics to solder—more than enough to keep me occupied.
What I hope to see from other Portland technologists in the next year is more people stepping up to work on community projects that address their particular needs. I think the Hacklab effort is great. Phil suggests a skill share to help people keep current. I bet we’ll see more work on funding models that better fit Portland business interests, too. Think about what resources would help you be successful, and if they’re not out there already, who can you collaborate with? Then tell the rest of us and we’ll spread the word.