Yesterday’s World Plone Day in Seattle was interesting, and helped me think about a few matters.
Fifteen – 20 people were physically present, with another 10 watching via Brian Gershon‘s ustream.tv wizardry. (It was lower quality than a separate camcorder recording, due to a ustream.tv bug.) After Jon Stahl‘s introduction, Andrew Burkhalter, David Glick, and Cris Ewing previewed new Plone 4 technologies. Their talks rocked.
As I listened, I thought about what Fisher Communications lost when they killed their Internet division, which included shuttering our Plone project. I’m sad about the opportunity that Fisher walked away from, and the effects of inept management.
Fisher’s market advantages include a ton of content, the arguably most recognized television stations in the Seattle and Portland markets, and a relatively current infrastructure. Terminating a nascent program to revamp its existent sites into cutting-edge destinations was — how shall I put this? — witless. As for the implementation details, Plone’s superior capabilities will be turbocharged in Plone 4, while Fisher stays with Broadcast Interactive Media‘s Clickability-based templated SaaS product, and continues putting Band-Aids on the existing page layouts. (A little birdy tells me that someone within the company is arguing for switching from BIM to WorldNow, which would, if anything, be going backwards.) Staying with middling properties, when you could replace them with something great, is a shame.
As I contemplate my next career move, I’m wondering what to do with my Plone knowledge. At Fisher, I was (enjoyably) moving along Plone’s learning curve. My job search is now focused on companies working in open-source. Finding one that is CMS-grounded && works with Plone && needs someone like me would be swell, but is looking improbable in my timeframe.
So, whither my Plone knowledge?
Like most people, I leave an old job’s technologies behind when I start a new job. Of course, I continue to stay informed on technology in general. But there’s a world of difference between reading about release X of technology Y, and immersing yourself in it up to your neck for months on end.
But I’ve discovered that I find CMSs inherently interesting, and Plone is the CMS that’s most interesting. So I don’t want my Plone knowledge to atrophy. How can I keep my hand in, when I’ll be working, say, 60 hours/week in a new TurboGears-based start-up? I can continue reading Plone-focused blogs, but that will be mostly superficial. Reading will give way to skimming, which will give way to glancing, which will give way to no longer following.
I won’t learn, much less master, the new features coming down the pike. (Much less, master the features that already exist. 🙂 ) I also probably won’t attend Plone conferences if I’m not working in Plone.
While listening to the great stuff scheduled for Plone 4, I thought about how to address this technology movement while working hard in another domain. I didn’t come up with any answers, so if you have a nugget of wisdom about this, do share it!
I appreciate the friendships I’ve made in the Plone community, and I also don’t want those to atrophy. I got thinking about maintaining technology/work based friendships in the face of no longer working in the technology domain that was their basis. Another challenging nut to crack.
After the Plone 4 talks, we held a raffle for a free ticket to Open Source Bridge, and most of these thoughts came full-circle. Here’s how the Open Source Bridge organizers describe the conference:
Open Source Bridge is a new conference for developers working with open source technologies. It will [have] five tracks connecting people across projects, languages, and backgrounds to explore how we do our work, and why we participate in open source. The conference structure is designed to provide developers with an opportunity to learn from people they might not connect with at other events.
[We] hope to answer a question: what are the rights and responsibilities of an open source citizen? As developers, we find ourselves in many roles; we are users, creators, and leaders. The Open Source Bridge team believes that our role as open source citizens informs our work whether we are conscious of it or not. Open Source Bridge is intended as a call to action to become better citizens, by sharing our knowledge with each other.
This dovetails into my vexations about remaining connected to the Plone technology and community. The Open Source Bridge mission statement resonates — how do I use open-source, and how (strategically and tactically) should I remaining connected to other projects and people? Technologies A, B, and C have singular communities, but also share a greater open-source community. I’ve tended to be less interested in the wider community, but this might be a ripe time to change that. Entirely different thinking may be a good foundation for staying connected.
As for the raffle, David Glick won the free registration. It must be arduous to go through life smart and lucky.