Here’s some career advice I have to keep re-learning:
“Own it. Do it. Talk about it.”
I wrote this down on a scrap of paper while traveling last month and listening to podcasts but I can’t seem to find which one it came from and googling doesn’t provide any clarity (so forgive me whoever this is from but I found it particularly profound and something I regret not embracing in the middle of my career).
This is especially important in the emerging skill and digital technology areas. *Everyone* is learning as they go. The experts and ‘big names’ get elevated because they own it. They do it (and dive deep experimenting in it). *AND* they talk about it (what they learned, what worked, what didn’t, how to improve, etc.).
I did this really well early on and gained some notoriety as a early tech journalism blogger at Journerdism. As I continued through my career though and especially after I went really deep into mobile technology during my Fellowship at RJI, I started to retreat and feel burned by people who would take my work and ideas, and claim them as their own with no attribution or credit. I went out of my way to cite and praise those that came before me and give them credit and when people took my work and built upon it but didn’t share the credit it really bothered me and took a while to get over it. But eventually I learned that’s not how we move forward as a society and culture.
In a world of proprietary vs. open source, open source will always do more societal/cultural good, exponentially faster and stronger than closed systems. But you gotta check your ego, be open and willing to share and learn with others, even if it means sometimes someone will step on your face to climb above you while using your work. Sometimes they aren’t trying to hurt you when they step on you, they’re just trying to move things forward. The irony here is I can’t find who said the quote so I’m not properly attributing it, but I hope they’ll forgive me and take my appreciation and any impact sharing this forward makes as credit for making the world better.