Criticism Persistence

A few weeks ago I found a few really helpful tips on how to avoid being criticized. To think that all these years I could have lived without being criticized.

Nine Easy Rules to Avoid Being Criticized

  • Rule 1: Always strive to please others and agree with everybody
  • Rule 2: Do not attempt to change people’s minds
  • Rule 3: Do not try a new idea or pursue any worthwhile goal
  • Rule 4a: Conform to established ways of doing everything
  • Rule 4b: Never step a foot away from the path of convention
  • Rule 5: Follow the crowd; stand for nothing unique
  • Rule 6: Let the world shape you; be who others want you to be
  • Rule 7a: Accept life “as is” and never examine the status quo
  • Rule 7b: Believe whatever you are told without checking evidence
  • Rule 8: Do not say, attempt, or do anything contentious or imaginative
  • Rule 9: Do not say, attempt, or accomplish anything at all

As I read these I was reminded of the Think Different campaign by Apple, Inc a few years back. I have always been inspired by the comercial. Perhaps I have always identified with not giving into the status quo. I think my Dad instilled in me a desire for excellence and doing better. This was something that Steve Jobs talked about too. He said we don’t ship junk. It makes a lot of sense: Be profitable, be honorable. Love what you do. Do what is right. Never stop learning.

Here’s to the crazy ones.
The misfits.
The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them,
disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They invent. They imagine. They heal.
They explore. They create. They inspire.
They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written?
Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some see them as the crazy ones,
we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think
they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Open Change

I was recently looking at licenses for databases and discovered the ODbL license. This license was pioneered by the OpenStreetMap Project. I was reading their introduction to why the change was needed. This introduction outlined what the change was, what the change would allow them to do, who agreed, who disagreed, what the cost of the change would be, among other things. I thought it was a very open, engaging and confidence building way to move a group of volunteers through change. It allows for more kinds (also different kinds) of product use. It is well worth the look at not only if you are interested in the open licensing of data in databases and why CC-BY-SA and CC0 licenses do not work for data [also as PDF], but also how they are answering the questions of the community as they are moving the community through change.

Leadership in an OpenSource Project

In the past week have been confronted with several issues related to project planning, task & time management and project execution. Just defining the “deliverables” has been a real challenge. Given that the workforce of the company I work for is largely constituted of people who consider themselves to be volunteers, it makes for an interesting work environment. I naturally gravitate towards planning for tactical success and wanting to view things from the “big picture” perspective – knowing how the parts fit together. Project planning and project execution involves a lot of decision making and a lot of communicating about decisions.

Over the last year I have been watching with some interest the UI development of WordPress. UI design is an area that I really enjoy. So when I saw Jane presenting on this issue of “How decisions get made at WordPress” (on the Open Source part of the project), I thought I would watch it. I thought that I would be watching how a company does UI decision making. But the focus of the talk was broader than that. It was generally good to see a model at work in a company where there is a successful product. As I listened to the discussion I was struck at how their project deals with:

  • Decision Making
  • Community Involvement
  • Consensus Building
  • Project Planning
  • Leadership
  • Sustainability

In many respects the company I work with deals with these same issues. It was good to see how another company/project deals with these issues, and sees these kinds of issues as important to the success of their product.