Open Source Your Internal Discussions
I recently enjoyed a Scott McNealy speech in which he discussed the benefits of open source software. One topic was security, and he explained his view that open source software is inherently more secure because so many people have seen the code that there are no "secret" vulnerabilities to exploit. Lots and lots of people have "kicked the tires" along the way.
This reminded me of one of the reasons we launched 4 new blogs recently. A goal was to better connect and share with our communities of peers. By taking what had been internal discussions and putting them out on our blogs -- in some case continuing the "discussion" part via the comments ourselves -- we involved lots of other people to kick around our ideas and help make them better. We fully expect our peers to smack us around when we're off base. In some cases, we're just sharing something we've learned. In others, we might come right out and ask a question. In all cases, when the community does take the time to engage in the discussion, we feel like everyone comes out ahead.
It doesn't have to be a blog. I encourage anyone to take their ideas out of their own company (without violating any confidentiality agreements, of course), and share them. One of three things will happen:
- If your ideas are solid, you'll earn praise and goodwill for contributing them to the community.
- If they're shaky, you'll collect valuable feedback to improve them.
- If they're downright shoddy, you'll figure that out sooner than you would have otherwise, which is still a good thing.
If you share often enough, you'll probably have all three experiences, and you (and your company) will be better off for it.