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Pay It Forward9:33 with Dan Gorgone
Managing projects is one thing, but managing people takes an additional set of skills. Passing on what you’ve learned to others through teaching, mentoring, and leadership may be a vital part of your evolution as a designer or developer.
The more you learn during your career, the more valuable you'll be. 0:00 And the easier it will be for you to explore new opportunities. 0:04 Some of these opportunities may involve leadership and management. 0:09 Managing projects is one thing. Managing people takes an additional set of skills. 0:12 Passing on what you've learned to others through teaching, mentoring, and leadership 0:18 may be a vital part of your evolution as a designer or developer. 0:23 But that works on the bigger scale as well. Right? 0:28 Like, I helped a client who lost his job find a new job. 0:32 Well, a year later he showed up and he had work. 0:36 It gets to hippy juice. Right? 0:40 And that's what I call it when you start thinking about certain things, 0:42 but I really think karma is real. 0:44 I think there's no debt in the universe that doesn't get repaid. 0:46 And so when you do good things for people intending to do good things, 0:49 not thinking about the outcome, I think it comes back. 0:54 I've been really fortunate to be surrounded by some very smart people 0:57 who are active in the Open Source Community 1:01 and specifically in the development community. 1:03 I've seen a lot of what they've done as far as how that's helped progress 1:06 where the web is currently. 1:10 And so for me, I see that development has made such great strides 1:12 by opening up and making their secrets transparent to the world and sharing. 1:16 So I really feel very passionately about having that same kind of 1:22 community feel within the design area. 1:27 There has been for so long this idea of like, oh, keep it secret, 1:29 like this is my secret sauce and this is what you're paying for. 1:32 But at the end of the day, we all want great-looking websites. 1:34 How many times do you go to a website and you're like, oh, that's just so terrible? 1:39 I mean, it would be wonderful if the web was all beautiful. 1:42 So let's help each other to share what works for you. 1:46 I'm not saying (inaudible) works for everyone at all. 1:49 I just happened to have a situation that happened over and over and over. 1:51 And I thought to myself, there has to be a way that I can do this better 1:55 and maybe I can save time for other people to help them get farther faster. 1:59 Acquiring knowledge doesn't mean hoarding that knowledge. 2:03 The experience you gain working in the industry is invaluable. 2:06 And sharing it with others not only improves their work, but your reputation as a leader. 2:10 Once again, let's hear from author C.C. Chapman as he shares some of his experience 2:15 becoming a leader online. 2:20 C.C., why is it so important to share what you know with others? 2:23 Well, plain and simple. I mean, there's no need to hoard it. 2:28 There's no need to make it only for you. 2:30 I have this philosophy that a good friend of mine taught— 2:34 learn as much as you can and share all that you know. 2:37 And I think that makes you a better person. It's my nature. 2:39 Maybe it's the humble New Englander in me, 2:43 but I think everybody should act that way. And let's face it— 2:45 the more knowledge you share, the more wisdom you can pass on to others, 2:47 the more people are going to respect you, they're going to want to work with you, 2:50 they're going to want to hear more from you because they know that you're a good person. 2:53 I think it's easy to kind of figure out ways that you can do this in person, 2:56 personally with people that you work with or people that you know, 3:00 friends and family. >> Sure. >>But how can you be a mentor online? 3:03 Sure. I mean, social media allows us to connect with people around the world. 3:07 And the great thing is that whether it's through the content you're creating, 3:11 your blog posts, you can put that knowledge out there and share what you know. 3:15 On the flip side too, a big part of that is the mentoring ship is to help people and guide them. 3:20 And it could be something as simple as people you connect with on Twitter 3:26 and seeing them ask a question and you're like, oh, I know the answer to that. 3:29 Let me share what I know. 3:33 And there are some people—I mean, I've connected with people online 3:35 and have definitely mentored them and worked with them, and I've never met them face-to-face. 3:38 I mean, granted it's much easier in person, 3:42 but sharing what you know online is easier than ever. 3:44 I mean, we all walk around with a complete publishing industry in our pocket. 3:46 So we can create videos, FaceTime with people, I mean, we can Tweet, all that stuff. 3:50 Technology allows us to do it for anybody. 3:56 Now, one of the risks of sharing what you know online has to be that you are 3:58 giving up some kind of edge, some kind of competitive advantage. Right? 4:06 Now, I think that a lot of our designers and developers who are watching 4:11 got to be thinking, well, if I know this, why would I be sharing it? 4:14 Why would I want other people to know what I know? >>Right. 4:18 Is that a real risk or is that— >>No. —really a fallacy right there? 4:22 No. I'm laughing at you and shaking my head a little bit because I hear this all the time. Right? 4:25 And the analogy I always say is, okay, listen. 4:29 If you got a recipe from a great chef, right? You go out to dinner. 4:31 You go to a restaurant. You have a great meal and you ask the chef for the recipe. 4:35 Do you really think it's going to taste as good when you get home? No. 4:39 If you're a designer, if you're a developer, the thing you do— 4:43 anybody can write html. Anybody can. Anybody can write any programming language. >>Right. 4:47 Anybody can put together a web design. 4:50 The trick though is how you do it, how you deliver it, what skills you bring to the table, 4:53 what knowledge you have in your head. 4:59 Because we all know just because everybody can write html, 5:01 or anybody can learn to program a language, it doesn't mean they can do it really well. 5:05 The secret sauce, the secret things, the advantage that you have is what you've got up here. 5:09 You can share as much as possible. 5:15 They still can't do it the way you do it. 5:17 The way you say it, the way you design it, the way you develop it is always going to be unique. 5:19 So never hold back and think you're hurting yourself by sharing information, 5:24 because that's not the truth at all. 5:28 So I think one of the things that a lot of our members out there might think 5:31 is that once they start publishing content out there, 5:36 if they can become sources of information online, then it really adds value for them 5:41 from a personal branding point of view. 5:49 It makes them more attractive as someone to hire, someone to do business with. 5:51 Then being able to share that knowledge with others, I think then it becomes— 5:55 there's a perception of them. They do become a source. 6:00 Now, you've become a source too because you've published— >>Yeah. 6:03 —a couple of books, you've been blogging for years, you've been podcasting for years, 6:06 you've been going to events and speaking for years. 6:10 What is it like to be a source—to be known as a source of information 6:12 and constantly having people come to you with questions— 6:17 Yeah. >>—needing advice, needing information? 6:21 It's difficult. I mean, don't get me wrong—I love it. >>Yeah. 6:23 I mean, I'd be a jerk to say I don't. 6:26 But it's difficult because it's one of those things that once you set an expectation level, 6:28 as far as the kind of help you can give, the kind of content you're going to deliver, 6:33 people come to expect it. And so you have to live up to that. You have to keep delivering. 6:37 And one of the things it is—it's a good problem to have. Don't get me wrong. 6:41 Having people come to me for help and advice is flattering, it's exciting. 6:44 I love helping them. Mentoring and teaching is something I love to do. 6:49 But sometime it is difficult. It does take time away. 6:53 And for me personally, I've found I have to set aside some time where I try to every morning 6:55 answer the e-mails that are those sort of things. >>Yeah. 7:00 Because I do have time where I have to give time to my paying clients first, of course. 7:03 They're paying— >>Right. >>There's a certain level of commitment there. 7:07 But I still want to help and give back. >>Yeah. >>So you figure out that balance. 7:10 And it's something that you constantly figure out as you go further. 7:13 You go along and—some days I do better at it than I do others. I'm a human. 7:15 Well, I think it's a responsibility that we have. 7:20 As we become more experienced, as we become more successful along our career path, 7:23 individually, professionally, personally, we have a responsibility to give back— >>Most certainly. 7:28 —to pay it forward. Some parting thoughts. 7:34 What are some ways that professionals in the industry can truly pay it forward 7:37 and follow their passions at the same time? 7:41 Well, I think—I'm a big, big advocate for giving back in whatever way possible. 7:43 And one of the things that I think not enough people do is realize 7:49 that they do have skills and they do have knowledge that they can give back. 7:52 And I wish more people would take their skill set and go out there and find— 7:55 whether it's a nonprofit or a school or a community group or a church group— 8:01 whatever is appropriate for you—and give back in that way. 8:05 Everybody thinks giving back and social good is about writing a check 8:08 at Christmas or the holidays. And that's great. But you know what? 8:12 If you've got some skill set and you can build a website or design a brochure 8:15 or do an app for your local Boys and Girls Club or a charity you believe in, 8:20 that's a great way to give back. And it pays it forward. 8:25 And you want to talk about something that's going to look— 8:28 you get more reward out of giving back than you could ever imagine. 8:31 If you've never volunteered, you're missing out on it. 8:34 Plus, I mean, being very practical, it looks killer on your resume. 8:36 When you say, oh, yeah, I built this website for The One Campaign 8:40 or I'm working with the UN Foundation on a campaign, that looks really good. 8:44 But it also feels really good, so take the time and energy to give back to the world. 8:48 I beg you. Please Trust me, trust me. 8:53 And it's a great way to get exposed to a whole new level of people. 8:55 So take that knowledge and share it. 9:00 Share it with the world, but then use your skills to make the world a better place. 9:02 Consider the potential impact you can have as you move forward in your career. 9:06 The more knowledge you gain, the more opportunities you may find 9:11 to share what you've learned within your online network or your community. 9:15 The connections we build in our journey may be re-established some time down the road. 9:20 So always remember that those we help now may be able to return the favor in the future. 9:25
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