OSS cynics get airtime. OSS optimists deliver

There are always many ways to transform your OSS aren’t there? There are always lots of different options to analyse (which can lead to analysis paralysis, but that’s a whole other story). In most cases, there are obvious pros and cons of each different option.  Therefore, there are always lots of different opinions on the best approach. Moreover, there are also many different ideologies when it comes to OSS, and tech in general. How many religious wars have you seen waged by your technical teams? Invariably, the bigger and smarter the technical team, the larger the religious wars.

Amongst these battles, it’s common to see a cynical approach taken to down-play another’s design or ideology. Maybe it’s the humility of age (and that every day I become more painfully aware of how much more I still have to learn in this field of OSS), but I equate this cynicism to being like silverbacks in the jungle, beating their chests. [Being brutally honest, I’ve been that ape, so I’m not taking the moral high-ground here].

These days, I see cynicism for what it is (as Sammy Azzouz describes it below and  here):

“Let’s face it. Contrarians sound smarter. Anyone well-informed enough to tell you why something won’t work has to be smart enough to know how things work and see problems the rest of us don’t.”

I’m sure you have countless examples where incredibly clever colleagues have been able to see problems that the rest of the team can’t or don’t…. but who also bring the project to a grinding halt in momentum by only identifying the problems but doing nothing to resolve them.

As Sammy goes on to say in the link above, it’s fine to be cynical about there being a problem, but you can’t stop there (if you really want to be the silverback). You need to push on, to listen, ideate and deliver to actually create the better way.

As Yuval Noah Harari says in, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind:

Optimists get rich.

Cynics get airtime.

The true measure of success in OSS is not just being cynical to deride another solution, not just generating the idea of a better way, but actually delivering a solution that others agree IS a better way…  And almost all OSS implementations are produced by a team effort.

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