Skip to content


Dear Reader,

At what point are we “Professionals” at what we do? In “Outliers“, Malcolm Gladwell says we have to put in 10,000 hours to master a skill, but does mastery of  skill make us a professional?

Albert Einstein tells us “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” Does being able to explain what we do to a child make us a professional?

I believe that we are professionals at a given skill when we can – and are willing to – use it to help others.

Professional does not indicate skill level or competency, it indicates a willingness to use a skill to the benefit other ones self, others, and society in general.

A carpenter who spends their spare time building houses for low-income families, is a Professional, regardless of their skill level.

A developer who spends some of their free time creating and managing an open source project is  professional programmer.

Don’t just take the time to master a skill, invest the time to be a professional.

Until next time,
I <3 |<

It’s not their problem

Dear Reader,

Open Source project leaders and community conference organizers share one thing in common. EVERYBODY knows how to do what they do and do it better. I know because I’ve sat in both chairs.

It is amazing to me how many people understand the intricacies of complex problems enough to suggest new ideas or features that will solve their problem.

That’s the thing, though. In both cases – FOSS and conferences – the projects were setup to solve the problem that the founders saw. Your problem may not be their problem, and that’s ok.

If a project doesn’t solve your problem, fork it and make it solve your problem.

If the conference doesn’t do things the way you want it to, start your own conference.


If both of those sound too difficult – because they are – instead of berating the founders for not solving your problem, offer to solve the problem for them.

Yes, that’s right, if you want your problem solved, you need to solve it. It is your problem, not theirs.

Stop dog-piling on people that are just trying to solve a problem, start helping them solve yours.

Until next time,
I <3 |<

Breaking into PHP

Dear Reader,

I’ve written a version of this email twice today so I thought I would post it for the other 4 people that read my blog.

The question posed to me is this.

I am new to PHP, but not necessarily to programming. How do I get hired as a PHP developer.

In both cases, I wrote something like this.

Dear XXXX,
First welcome to the PHP Community, there is always room for more! :)

Open Teams

[UPDATE: New Slides posted, the link is below.]

Dear Reader,

Pop Quiz: How many of your developers wake up in the morning excited to work on your project? If the answer is not “all of them”, you probably need to look at how open source projects attract developers and motivate them to write code for free.


Put yourself in your developer’s shoes for a moment.
You are a professional developer, you work on a project all day at work but you live to get home and start working on your passion, an open source project. Suddenly, instead of slogging through the day, you are actively engaged in a project that may be much more complex than the one you are working on at work. Worse yet, you may actually have more responsibility, more input, more voice on your open source team than you do at work. You wish your day job excited you as much as your open source project. You wish you could be as engaged in it.