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The art of contributing in Software

By Eduardo García ● CTO | July 25th, 2016

After participating for the first time in Drupal GovCon 2016, I had the opportunity to meet in person with Kanshu Wu.

Kanshu, gerardo, enzo y jesus Kanshu is a Drupal Frontend, who lives in the USA since 2014, but he still runs his company Vi Sure with clients based in China.

Kanshu and enzo I have been friends with Kanshu for about six months, and the way we connected was when I learned the first lesson of my tour Around the Drupal World in 120+ days.

enzotour banner

Because China was an important part of my tour, I decided to install the IM system QQ to try to get information for my trip and be connected with people.

From time to time, I get friend requests from members of the Chinese Drupal community mostly because they want to practice English or ask something about Drupal.

But, one day I got Kanshu’s request, he told me he was glad that I wanted to go to China to share with the community, and asked me how he could help me on my trip. Because he lives outside China, I told him “Thank you”, but couldn’t see a way he could help me since I had almost everything already set and I couldn’t meet with him in China; So we just continued connected, and we started chatting once every few days.

A couple of weeks after, Kanshu contacted me again telling me that he had found how he could contribute to my tour.

He said, “I am not a PHP developer, and I don’t live in China, but I am a graphic and web designer, so I can create the official banner of your trip to improve the communication, marketing, and exposure of your journey.”

I found his proposal very smart because he figured out a way to contribute with his skills, something that I didn’t figure out. In the end, he did the banner, which was used in many events I participated and the infographic statistics of my tour when I completed it.

enzotour16 stats small

During our lunch, we had a conversation about how small are the contributions from China and Asia; I told him that situation not only happened in China and explained to him that the same problems happen in Latin America. We talked about that maybe the reason is due the challenges in our societies, people spend too much time trying to survive; So the chances that people have to contribute and help the rest of the world are reduced.

I agree with the previous analysis, but I resist to think that we have to accept and continue doing the same things. Let’s go back to Kanshu, he helps a lot of people, not only me, because he has written the first Drupal 7 book about theming in Chinese http://www.drupaltheme.guide

The way I see it, our communities always have the opportunity to contribute something based on their knowledge and reality. Also, those contributions don’t have to have a global impact, some local initiatives are equally important, as his book in Chinese.

One common belief in China and Latin America ( I can’t include other countries of Asia because I did confirm with locals) is that due the hard competition to survive, sharing your knowledge with your competitors will enable them to do what you do, and you will lose your advantage. But in my experience that thinking it’s completely the opposite.

Without contributions, I wouldn’t be able to fund Anexus a Drupal Workshop located in Costa Rica with the goal of selling services in North America and Europe.

In Anexus contributing is the core of our business from day one until now, because contributing was and is still our way to show to the world that we know about Drupal and that we are good, so hire us!

Because of this, after contributing for almost three years in the Drupal Console project; I have started a new company named weKnow. weKnow is my second company funded with of Jesus Manuel Olivas and Kenny Abarca now based in the USA, using the same logic, demonstrating that we know what we are talking about and that we are good on that applying our previous contributions to show that.

Don’t take me wrong; I’m not saying I have an evil plan to master the world after any contribution, I wasn’t expecting to create any business at the beginning, it’s just something that naturally emerges in my case.

I firmly believe that contributing and I continue doing it, will eventually have a positive effect on your professional life.

For me. Contributing means investing in our community, which is good for everybody and in the long term it will be particularly useful to you.

The art of contributing is to find small things you can do to create an impact and continue doing it means that you have a long-term vision.

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