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A fusion of development and business

A Commitment to Community

Last week I attended php|tek in Chicago. During the conference, a number of speakers espoused the value and importance of contributing to the open source community. Ben Ramsey talked about how his contributions to open source didn’t seem to be valued in his most recent job search. He also talked about the value and importance of saving PHP. Michelle Sanver talked about the importance of community and the value in being part of it, but also the importance of allowing people to contribute how, when and where they were comfortable, and not expecting them to work outside normal hours to be a part of the community.

Following the conference, I made a commitment: I would set aside two hours each week to work on PHP community efforts. Specifically, these hours would be part of my work day. The intent was to avoid feeling guilty for either participating in community or participating in family life. By making it part of my job, I would have the advantage of being able to do community work without surrendering family time.

Of course, I’m lucky and privileged in many ways – I run my own business, so setting aside time for community is not only possible, but my decision. I understand there may be others for whom setting aside two hours, or even two minutes, of their time to work on community is impossible.

But for me, I felt it was important to give back to the community that has given me so much – a career, a sense of belonging, and acceptance. The community has welcomed me with open arms, listened as I developed a viewpoint on the creation and maintenance of software, and the platform and job opportunities needed to grow as a person and a professional.

Community works, but it takes all of us participating to make it work. This is my small contribution, and I hope it will inspire you to contribute in your own way, when you are able.

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