Having Greater Impact: Those who can, Teach

Having Greater Impact

The WordPress community has changed me

I've been managing software development and software developers for 19 years and coaching startups for about a decade. For much of that time, my approach was to hold on to all my expertise. I shared it sparingly and only when required. I was a product of the software industry before open source. In fact, I remember (and am sad to admit) mocking open source as software developed by committee (and we all knew how well committees worked).

But a little over six years ago I started working with WordPress. And it only took a year or two to really grasp the power of WordPress. It wasn't in the code. It wasn't in the plethora of plugins. It was in the extensive community and their willingness to share.

I don't know if you've read articles like this recent one from Pippin. It's an incredibly useful article that helps people see what you shouldn't do and what the consequences are when you do it. But more than anything, it's a reflection on the mistakes we all make.

“Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach.”

My mom worked in our school district the entire time I was a student. My dad coached soccer in our community every year from the time I was five until I was eighteen. Everyone in our town (and neighboring towns) knew Coach Lema and Mrs. Lema. When I got married, I married a teacher. And most of our friends, for years, were teachers.

So you can say that I've been steeped in teaching and educating traditions. Which means I've heard people reference the phrase, “Those who can't, teach.” Again, I'm sad to say, thru much of my professional life I fell into that paradigm. But I was wrong.

Having greater impact requires passing things on

The truth is that you can't really have an impact unless you're willing to share what you know. More than anything, the open source—and specifically the WordPress—community has taught me this. For the last few years I've been developing online components to my off-line training and consulting. This next year I'm going to make it all available as self-paced courses, so that even if you can't afford to hire me to consult with your organization, you may still get most of the content in a way you can digest and leverage. If 2012 was the year of eBooks, 2013 is going to be the year of eCourses.