Amy Stephen

Hacker Grandma



Recently, there has been a great deal of discussion on the topic of tribes. Seth Godin described a tribe as “a group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another.” Those of us who have been participating in open source software have much to be proud of, tribes are the primary source of power behind open source software and, together, we are transforming how people learn and work together.

Tribes are our most important organizational structure in that each one provides focus around a topic or purpose. In that sense, our tribes provide thought leadership and ways for individuals interested in a certain subject area to connect with one another.

Our open source tribes provide a gateway through which thousands of individuals have entered and participated. Tribes are an important source of mentorship and learning and many of us have found our involvement in tribes has resulted in increasing personal skill, progress towards professional goals, opportunities for public speaking, improved skill in software development, documentation and training.

Our involvement in tribes has helped us create, improve, and share knowledge.

In a world that all too often feels indifferent and cold to our personal situation, tribes can be a valuable source of support. At a very basic level, every one of us want to belong. Tribes enable personal connections through which we can find lifelong friends, people who genuinely care about us. As a result of those bonds, we benefit from valuable feedback, answers, advise, criticism, encouragement, credit, and recognition.

Most importantly, our synergy results in great work, freely shared, encouraging more of the same to continue.

If you find yourself a leader of a tribe, you already know how challenging and important your job is helping members stay positive, open, productive, and successful. Congratulations on your part of helping make the world a little better place. Please, stay encouraged!

There is no limit to the number of tribes that can exist. There is no limit to the number of tribes to which we each can belong. What we do have a shortage of is reliable, hardworking leaders, so please do feel encouraged to step up and drive focus and involvement in an area you are interested in leading. The more people do so, the more benefit our shared efforts provide the world.

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