It doesn't matter what kind of business you’re in, when it comes down to it you have a choice: do I keep what I know, the knowledge and understanding of processes, workflows, materials, techniques and tools under wraps, or do I share what I know, so others can learn, take part, advance and grow the field alongside me?
In areas that have stagnated, or move very slowly, there are some advantages to keeping secrets from your competitors, your particular shovel-blade might be the only differentiator between you and the other guy digging holes.
We’re not working in a slow moving environment. Tools and technologies are introduced, advanced, and made obsolete in fast and relentless cycles. In an area like ours, which moves at a very rapid pace, collaboration, sharing and joint advancement have very few disadvantages. Rather, it becomes a necessity: a strategy for survival.
To embrace an attitude of sharing does require a level of trust, you need to believe that giving someone else a step up will repay, maybe not directly, but in some way, sometime in the future. In short, you have to believe in karma.
At Rumble Labs we are delighted to contribute to some of the local meet-ups in areas close to our hearts - both Belfast Ruby, supporting the local Ruby and Rails community, and NSBelfast, which is doing a similar thing for Cocoa developers, are events we’re actively supporting and contributing to.
Although participating in building a community takes time (and time, boys and girls, is money), we see it as a great investment, not just for ourselves, but also for future generations of developers and designers. When taking a longer view, not just looking at this month or this year, but looking forward five or ten years, having a healthy community of people doing what we do is a great business move. Establishing a reputation for being a place to get great people doing great work only brings more opportunities and more chances to do interesting, challenging and creative projects. And that’s really what our work is all about.
If you’re involved in tech, participating in community events is only going to be beneficial. Apart from the learning new things over a beer (other drinks are available) and some pizza, these events are great opportunities to get to know people who you might work with in some capacity in the future. If you’re a freelancer, there are few easier ways to get a handful of new projects than hanging out with people who do what you do.
So, we’ll leave you with this: take a minute to check out the events that are out there in your town. If you’re lucky enough to live in Belfast, this events list, courtesy of one of Belfast's finest exports, Andy McMillan, is a great resource. (If you represent an event or participate in one not listed, drop us a line at @rumblelabs and we’ll add it to this page)
And don’t forget, these are your events - you can shape them by taking part, you make them what they are. And you get to eat pizza.