Open source is at the very heart of my business model and the ideals and philosophies of open source are ones on which I choose to run my business. While it’s difficult to say whether the failure of open source would have a truly negative impact on the success of Pippin’s Pages, LLC, it’s downfall would severely impact the flexibility and openness with which my team and I operate every day.
By getting out of our sea and exploring the many, many islands of open source, we expose ourselves to the wonderful educational opportunities that other projects present.
Last week, we had our first “Contributor Day Thursday”. As a team, we have decided to spend two hours every Thursday giving back to other open source projects. This includes WordPress, plugins and themes for WordPress, and any other open source project that we find suitable. Our team has a wide array of skills so we spread out our contributions accordingly. For the first contribution day, members of the EDD team did the following:
- Answers support tickets on WordPress.org
- Helped review themes for the WordPress.org repository
- Submitted feedback, patches, and testing to WordPress core
- Submitted feedback and began working on a patch for WooCommerce
- Built and released a free add-on for WooCommerce
- Submitted a patch for a bug on WordPress.org
Each week, every team member gets to pick what they want to work on and are then free to go as far as they wish with it.
WordPress and other open source projects are the very foundation on which we have built a successful business. While I’m sure we would all be doing just fine and working on something else without WordPress, it’s undeniable that WordPress has played a huge role in the shaping of our team, our business, and our friendships. It is only right that we spend at least a small amount of time giving back.
Contributing back to WordPress and other open source projects goes further than just “it’s right to give back”. Each week we spend countless hours working inside of our EDD fish bowl, going around and around in circles working on the same project(s) for weeks or months on end. We are in our support forums, our bug tracker, our source code, our site design, etc. When so much time is spent within our own projects, we tend to get consumed by them and forget about (or ignore) the tremendous amount of activity that goes on with other projects.
By getting out of our sea and exploring the many, many islands of open source, we expose ourselves to the wonderful educational opportunities that other projects present. We get the opportunity to see what the challenges other projects are facing and how their leaders are solving them. We get the chance to apply our skills to more diversified applications and to expand our own interests, relationships, and skill sets beyond the projects that consume us on a daily basis.
Of all things I’ve found that help us each grow as developers, support agents, designers, etc, contributing back to other projects is one of the best.