Groupies, Roadies, Rockstars


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Colin O'Dell at 12:25 on 21 Oct 2016

Thank you Cal for a great closing keynote!

David Thomson at 14:06 on 21 Oct 2016

Cal always does a great job.
Great closing to another great Zendcon.

I hope next year is as good, or even better.

Lee Davis at 14:41 on 21 Oct 2016

As much as I enjoy listening to Cal's anecdotes, I had a real hard time sitting through this one. I think categorising anyone contributing to open source is a very bad idea. You really don't want to be branding yourself as an x language roadie or a y framework groupie. This leads to tribalism where people end up following projects blindly regardless of its actual value. There are already way too many advocating solutions with little or no knowledge of drawbacks.

Whether you're a roadie "shovelling shit" and just owning it without acknowledgement (or thanks), a groupie struggling to get your "honoured place at the table" or the rockstar playing endlessly to the empty crowd, I have one piece of advice; get the hell out of there! You're doing it for the wrong reasons and you will burn out.

One message I took from the talk was that if you're dedicated and invest enough energy, it will pay off (cos it happened to a band once). This is terrible advice. Absolutely do NOT work on something in the hope of gaining fame and glory. For every one that paid off, thousands didn't.

Avoid at all costs trying to prop up your internet fame because you could inherit and push around a title. Of course if you're enjoying something or believe it has practical value, then crack on. If you don't, put it to bed. This is commonly known as "failing fast".

Judge everything on it's own merits, even if a rockstar said it.

James Titcumb at 08:13 on 22 Oct 2016

Not much to add here. Second time seeing this; an entertaining insight into the types of people that contribute in various ways. I think the message of this talk is not "categorise" as Lee puts it, but to say "you don't have to be a rock star, you can contribute in other ways than just being a project lead" etc.

I tend to be biased towards wanting keynotes to be more and more technical just like the rest of the talks at conferences, but for closing keynotes, it's always fun to sit back and watch Cal do his thing, regardless of what he's talking about. I'm amazed he was able to pick this concept of rockstars/groupies/roadies and somehow manage to make the connection between them and the different types of players you'll find in the open source community. Even more amazed that he managed to hit the nail on the head for probably all of it, AND be entertaining in the process.

Speaking from the perspective of both an author of a few projects nobody uses, and as someone who was recently bestowed with the honor of maintaining one of my favorite open source projects, there absolutely is a TON of value that so-called "Groupies" and "Roadies" can provide, regardless of how little time they have or how much technical ability they have. I'd love to give my "nobody uses them" projects some more attention, but just don't have the time, so I'm sure anybody in that same situation would welcome these types of contributors. On the other end of the spectrum, existing Groupies and Roadies have made settling in to becoming a maintainer and getting through issues and PRs so much easier because of the attention to detail they give to this project, despite having no real obligation to do so.

If you're a "Roadie" who is finding yourself "shoveling shit" with no appreciation, or a "Groupie" who never gets to go backstage because you're not worth the time to the "Rockstar", find a new band. There are plenty of us out there, and we'd love to have you.

Thanks for great closing, Cal.

Really enjoyed this one, thanks Cal!

Jason Brady at 11:55 on 23 Oct 2016

Great info & insight... My favorite quote (aside from the horse-shit whisperer) was that without community involvement, open-source dies.

Thanks for the great closing comments!

Great talk, Cal! And a great wrap-up to the conference.

Scott at 10:17 on 24 Oct 2016

GREAT speaker, passionate and motivating.