Recently I was recommended a short book to read called The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann. Seeing as I was going to be spending some time on a plane I thought it would likely make a good choice as something to get through quickly while traveling.
The book is written in the form of a parable explaining five laws to stratospheric success. The tag line for the book is “A Little Story About A Powerful Business Idea”, but as far as I’m concerned it can be applied to life in general. It’s not a hard read, but very engaging and it really explains the principles in an easy to grasp and fun way. I won’t give away all the laws but, the main idea is that giving to people without the expectation of anything in return, as the secret to be hugely successful.
Even though I’ve seen some of these things hold true in small ways in my own life I would have still been a little skeptical. However by looking at the concepts and comparing them to Open Source, and WordPress in particular, you can see how it can be true. The whole concept of open source is just that, people contribute to a project because the believe in it or think it is important. In the case of WordPress the project itself, and many people, have become very successful. There is a large number of people who make their living using, building on, or supporting, WordPress. The results of the 2014 WordPress survey had over 7500 people making their living with it.
There are are many other parts of the book that relate as well, but I’ll leave it for you to read, but think value, and influence as a couple others. Even without this I’d recommend the book, I can see me reading it a few more times to really try and absorb it all and trying to live closer to concepts in it.
I’ve been thinking more about my post the other day building relationships and how I can apply it to my work.
When I wrote that post and was thinking about it I was coming more from the personal side. Building relationships with people I meet or interact with. Why not look at it from a work perspective?
At work my primary role is talking with WordPress.com users. What an opportunity! It’s obvious different than spending time with the same people many times, but taking a step back these people might contact support multiple times. It might not always be me they deal with but the are dealing the company in general.
This means through every interaction I should be looking at it as an opportunity to build a relationship. It might take a while and they might only contact us the one time. But as I’ve seen in my personal life building relationships has proven to be good for me in the long run. Therefore if I try to build relationships with our users it will be good for the company in the long run. If it’s good for the company than in turn its good for me as well.
The great part about this is it’s a no lose situation because even if the user never contacts again, by taking this approach it will make my conversation with our users a pleasant and good experience for them.
I’m still not sure how this will change my day to day work exactly, but for now I’m going to try and make things a little more personal and just look at things in a bit of a different way than I have.
When I was running my own business it seemed work always came in peaks and valleys. Helping people get online was always my favourite part of it. Having to worry about making sure I had the next project to work on when one was finished, I hated.
Not knowing when I would be paid for from someone was hard too. Really I guess it comes down to the fact that I didn’t like and wasn’t good at the business part. It felt like a catch 22 situation, I could find someone to help with the business part but was never really busy enough to justify or afford that.
In the past few months I’ve ended up having more inquiries and people looking for web development work than I did in a long time. If I wasn’t 100% sure that I’m in the right spot at Automattic it would almost be tempting to take a look.
Just one of the great parts of working at Automattic and supporting WordPress.com is that I still get to help people all day get setup online without having to make sure there was a next person to help. There is a steady stream of users looking for help from me.
It’s not quite the same thing as going from the beginning to the end with one client but everyday I get to help many people. Some it might just be a small question but others it’s finding out what they really need and if WordPress.com is the best option for them. I wish I had of used WordPress.com more when I was doing client work. For many of the sites I did it would have been more than enough without having to worry about server side aspect of things at all.