Centre of attention

There are a lot of OSS experts out there. There are a lot of people who know an extraordinary level of detail about certain aspects of OSS. I sure do admire those people.

But do you know what? The people who I admire even more are the ones who understand the big picture. Knowing the big picture generally puts you in a greater position of influence for a few reasons:

  • There are relatively few OSS experts who know enough about the big picture to know how to pull all the pieces of projects together
  • Those who do become the centre of attention on the project because others need guidance on how their parts bolt together with everyone else

Malcolm Gladwell suggests that it takes 10,000 hours of practise to master a field. That’s what it takes to be Lebron James, Christiano Ronaldo, et al. You couldn’t expect to be as good as them by only dedicating 500 hours of practice, but with 500 hours you probably will be better than 80% of the population.

What if you found a cross-over point between two fields (ie a niche) that you’ve dedicated 500 hours to (eg network technology and contract law)?.Chances are that you’d be a master of that niche because of it’s relative uniqueness. What if you found a cross-over of three 500-hour fields?

You might not be able to fast-track the 10,000 hours in a specific field within OSS, but there are plenty of cross-over points in OSS where you can add even more value in a fraction of the time.

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