Chris blogged a new job opening today. Earlier this week, I blogged something sort of cryptic about my role in the community. Have you ever played with one of those tile puzzles whose solution involves the sliding around of tiles until a coherent picture appears? The board is divided into, say, 15 squares, and there are 14 tiles that you slide around until they click just properly into place and make a complete picture. I looked around for a picture of one of these to include but couldn’t find one. Anyway, illustration or no, this seems to be sort of what’s going on with some Flock staff roles. Chris has done very cool things fostering community generally in the open source world by helping create and nurture the various camps (Bar, Wine, Moose, etc.) and mashpits. He’s a natural at this stuff and has a proven track record at making things happen. Let’s not forget that he (along with me and others) was one of the driving forces behind the early spreadfirefox effort. Since our job opening for an interaction designer frees up some of Chris’s time, it makes perfect sense for him to shift into a community role.
This, of course, frees up a good bit of my time. Things have come sort of full circle for me. I’ve been with the group that became Flock for over a year. In December a year ago, Bart contracted me to do some work for a company he was starting up. I was going to help develop some web services to support what the then-company was going to be doing. Sometime in January or early February a year ago, I signed on full-time as a web developer. As our needs changed, I started doing client development, and it was certainly a departure for me. I wrote the original shelf, which Erwan has revamped of late into a nifty topbar. As time marched on, I figured out that client development really wasn’t my strength or something I especially enjoyed, so I volunteered to head up community so that I could make way for more willing and capable client developers while retaining a role with the company. Now that Chris is freed up, it makes sense for me to shift back into a web development role to support community and other initiatives.
At times, I feel as if I’ve done some good things for community at Flock. I think I’ve helped build a culture of openness and friendliness, for example. But I’ve probably also missed a bunch of opportunities for one reason or another. I think and hope Chris may be stronger on this front than I’ve been to date, and I look forward to playing a supporting role in community in addition to contributing to other initiatives coming down the pipeline. Chances are that I’ll post fewer blog entries, and you may see less of me in irc (though maybe not; I enjoy hanging out in there). I expect to be more of a behind-the-scenes type than a figurehead (though I’ve hardly been a figurehead to date), and this is the sort of role I’m most comfortable in, so I count this as a good thing.
One last thing before I unofficially bow out as Community Shepherd: I did another podcast. Rather, a friend of mine, who was also a part of Flock before it was Flock, volunteered to produce a podcast I had kicked off. And I must say he did a fine job, a much better production job than my first effort. As I said to him in an email, the podcast sounds great except for that redneck (ahem) in a tin can in the middle segment. Many thanks to Mike Neel for the production effort. If you’d like to give it a listen, check out the Flock podcast I set up a few weeks ago or jump straight to this edition. This is something I hope Chris will find a way to run with. What would be really cool, I think, is if there was some way for community members to interview developers or some way for us to feature Flock-related podcasts from the community.
In the coming weeks, Chris and I will be working together to pass the torch on community stuff. With my web dev chops and Chris’s proven ability to make great things happen in open source software communities, I think we can accomplish good things.
Hey, did you hear that? It sounded to me like the snick of a last tile sliding into place to complete a picture that wasn’t quite coherent yet. Stay tuned, folks. It only gets better from here.