VoV 033: “Panelists Contributing to Opensource” (Pt. 2)

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In this episode, the panel talks amongst themselves on the topic: how does one contribute to opensource work? They discuss the various ways that they contribute, such as speaking at conferences, recording videos for YouTube, podcasting, among others. Check-out today’s episode to get some insight and inspiration of how YOU can contribute to YOUR community! 

Show Topics:

1:11 – We have decided we haven’t completed this topic

1:23 – Last time we went around the panel and see how we contribute? One of the ways I contribute to opensource is organizing events and conferences. Divya, you write some code – a little bit?

2:05 – Divya.

2:11 – Panelist: Divya, you speak at conferences, write blog posts, and code. Super top-secret project?

2:33 – Divya: I am trying to grow. Maybe I can talk about the secret project later?

2:56 – Panelist: Yes, I contribute through videos and education. I’ve tried in the past seeing issues in opensource, but I find that I am better at teaching. Charles you run a Vue Podcast?

3:29 – Chuck: Yeah, that’s what they say. I work on the podcasts, online conferences, eBooks, and online summits. Lastly, Code Badges that is on Kickstarter.

4:06 – Panelist: How we can contribute to opensource and still make a living. What is free and what we charge for? Finding a balance is important – we covered that last time.

How to get into opensource in a variety of ways: How do you start speaking at conferences? How to you write code for opensource? Divya, how do they start? Do you need a public speaking degree?

5:29 – Divya: It might help. To get started with public speaking – it’s deceptively easy but then it’s not at the same time. You submit a proposal to a conference and it’s either accepted or declined. You have to learn how to CRAFT your ideas in a CFP to show the panel that this topic is RELEVANT to the conference and that you are an expert. It’s not the speaking that’s the hard part it’s the writing of the proposal.

7:00 – Panelist: You have talked about CFP – what is that?

7:09 – Divya: It’s a Call For Papers (CFP). It’s just a process of being accepted at a conference. Sometimes conferences have an open call – where they might have a Google form or some software to fill out some details. They will ask for your personal details, a short draft, the title of your talk, and a longer description (why you should be the speaker, etc.). It’s a multi-step process. Even though YOU are the right person to talk about X topic – you don’t have to be – you just have to SOUND like you know what you are talking about. Show that you’ve done your researched, and that you have some understanding. Also, that you are capable of presenting the information at the conference. That’s what I mean by being “THE BEST” person.

9:33- Charles: They aren’t looking always for the expert-level of explaining X topic. Even if it’s at the basic level that’s great. If you can deliver it well then they might pick your proposal.

I have spoken at a number of conferences, and I started talking at Meetups. Most organizers are desperate for people to give talks. If you talk at these informal settings – then you get feedback from

10:47 – Divya: Yes, lightning talks are great for that, too. This way you are flushing out what you do and don’t want to talk about.

11:07 – Charles: A lot of people don’t realize that they are good speakers. The way to get better is to do it. I am a member of Toast Masters. You gain experience by talking at many different events.

12:23 – Panelist: I don’t know much about Toast Masters – what is it?

12:29 – Charles: Toast Masters, yes, they collect dues. As you sit in the meeting you have time to give feedback and get feedback. They have a “MM” master, and a grammatical master, and another specialist that they give you feedback. It’s a really constructive and friendly environment.

13:42 – I’ve been to Toast Masters and the meetings are early in the morning. 7:00 or 7:30 AM start time. Everything Chuck just said. I went to a couple and they don’t force you to talk. You can go just to see what it’s about.

14:21 – Charles makes more comments.

14:48 – Meetups is a great way to get into the community, too. What if Toast Masters sounds intimidating, and you don’t think you can speak at a Meetup just, yet. Are there more

15:18 – You can be the town crier. Stand on the soapbox and...

15:32 – There is someone sitting on a soapbox and screaming to a crowd.

15:43 – Chuck: You can do a YouTube video or a podcast, but I think getting the live feedback is super important. Toastmasters are so friendly and I’ve never been in front of a hostile crowd. You get up and they are rooting for you. It’s not as scary as you make it out to be. You aren’t going to ruin your reputation.

16:48 – Local Theater! That helps a lot, to me, because you have lines to read off of the script. You are a character and you get to do whatever you want. Also, teaching really helps. You don’t have to be a professional teacher but there are volunteer areas at a local library or your community centers and libraries. Find opportunities!

18:18 – Divya: Improvisation is good for that, too, back to Chris’ point. Improvisation you don’t have the lines, but it forces you to think on the spot. It helps you practice to think on the spot.

19:04 – Teaching is good for that, too. It makes you think on the spot. You have to respond on the fly. Life teaching is Improvisation.

19:31 – Charles: You learn the patterns that work.

19:57 – Panelist: There are some websites that can track your CFP due dates. You can apply to talk to 5-6 different conferences. You pitch the same idea to 5-6 conferences and you are bound to get picked for at least 1 of those conferences.

20:51 – Divya: There is an account that tweets the CFP due dates that are closing in 1-2 weeks. Check Twitter.

21:25 – Chuck: Take your CFP and have someone else look at it. I know a bunch of conference organizers and ask them for their feedback.

21:48 – Title and description need to be there.

22:48 – Divya: Look at past events to see what was already done in past conferences. This is to see what they are kind of looking for.

Divya talks about certain conferences and their past schedules.

23:52 – Eric was saying earlier that you could send in more than 1 proposal. Another one suggests sending in 3 proposals. Someone would love to accept you, but say there is someone else you beats you by a hair.

24:31 – Divya: The CFP process is usually blind and they don’t “see” you until later. Most conferences try to do this so there is no bias. They will ask for no name, but only focusing on content.

25:28 – Sarah May has some great suggestions. Look at the show notes under LINKS.

25:57 – Advertisement – Get A Coder Job!

26:34 – We have talked about how you submit your proposals. Maybe let’s transition into another topic, like education. Eric – do you have any tips into writing blog posts and such?

27:36 – Eric: Find a topic that you want to learn and/or you are expert on. Going out there and putting out content for something you are learning. If you get something wrong then someone will probably call you out. Like Reddit you might get more criticism then vs. your own blog. I look for topics that interest me.

28:30 – Panelist: How do you get people to see it?

28:40 – Eric: Consistency – sharing on your social media channels.

Reddit, Frontend, and/or other sites. I’m doing this for myself (first), and secondary I am teaching other people.

29:23 – Getting feedback from people is great.

29:40 – Eric: It’s a process to build that audience, build quality content, and keep up with it. Facebook groups – hey I put this content out there. Another way you can do it is work with a publisher and try going to a site called PluralSite.

30:47 – Do you have to be famous, like Joe, to get onto their site?

31:09 – Chuck: The audition process I got screwed on. They ask you to record a video, fix anything in the video, and then they will tell you if they will accept your courses or not.

31:37 – People who will distribute your content, there is a screening process. Guest blog, too, will get your name out there.

32:23 – Chuck: You just have to be a level above the reader.

32:37 – Odds are that you can explain it better than someone who learned it 5 years ago. Even if it’s a basic JavaScript thing that you JUST learned, who cares put it out there. If you made X mistake then I’m sure thousands of other developers have made the same mistake.

33:17 – Twitter is a great platform, too. A short and sweet Tweet – show them your main idea and it can get

34:01 – Comments.

34:04 – I use Ghost for my blogging platform. You can start off on Wordpress and others write on Medium.

34:25 – Divya: I like to own my own content so I don’t write on Medium anymore.

34:40 – I like my content on my OWN site. That’s why I haven’t been using Medium anymore. There are more pop-ups and such, too, so that’s why I don’t like it.

35:06 – Divya: If you don’t want to start up your own site, Medium is nice. Other users pick it up, which is an easy way to spread content right away.

37:13 – Chuck: Some of them will pay you for that.

37:23 – Sarah Drasner on the Vue team is an editor of CSS tricks. Good way to get your content out there.

37:48 – Divya: Sarah will work with you. Not only do you get access to put content out there, but then you get feedback from Sarah, too!

38:19 – Remember if you are doing a guest post – make sure to put out solid examples and good content. You want to put time and effort into it, so put more

39:02 – Any more advice on educational content?

39:11 – Chuck: I am always looking for guests for the podcasts and topics. You reach out and say I would like to be a guest on such and such a show.

39:39 – I thought back in the day – oh those podcast hosts are for THOSE famous people. They must have some journalism degree, and here I AM! It apparently is not that bad.

40:19 – Chuck: When I was coding semi-professionally for 1 year and my friend Eric Berry (Teach Me To Code – website) he was looking for someone to record videos for him. I submitted a video and I just walked through how to do basic routing. Basic for Ruby on Rails users, and I said that this is my first video. I tweeted that information. Screen Flow reached out to me because I mentioned their name, and I got a license and a microphone to help me record my videos! That gave me the confidence to start podcasting. It’s scary and I’m thinking I will screw this up, I don’t have professional equipment, and look at me now!

42:46 – To be a podcast host it isn’t much.

42:55 – Chuck: I am trying to make podcasting easier. The hard part is preparing the content, get it edited, getting it posted. It’s all the other stuff. Recording and talking isn’t that bad.

43:28 – What are my steps if I want to start a new podcast?

43:39 – What microphone should I get?

43:48 - $100-$130 is the Yeti microphone. Do I need a professional microphone? People can’t tell when guests talk on their iPhone microphone or not. Especially if you already have those then you won’t be out if you don’t want to continue with podcasting. Record for free with Audacity. Have something to talk about and somewhere to post it.

45:01 – Panelist asks Chuck more questions.

45:13 – Divya.

45:29 – It’s easier if everyone is in the same room. If the sound quality is good enough then people will stay, but if the quality is poor then people will go away. I recommend Wordpress - it’s super easy. You can host on Amazon, but if you will host long-term then use Libsyn or Blubrry. Great platforms will cost you less then some others.

46:58 – iTunes?

47:04 – Podcast through iTunes you just give them a RSS feed. All you do is fill out some forms. Submit that and it will run – same for Google Play. You might want to get some artwork. In the beginning for me I got a stock image – edited it – and that was it. One I got one of my headshots and put the title on there.

48:06 – Then when people will hear this...

48:23 – Summary: microphone, content, set up WordPress, submit it to iTunes, and record frequently. Keep improving.

48:46 – Anything you are doing anything online – make sure your mantra is “this is good enough.” If you spend tons of hours trying to perfect it – you might drive yourself crazy.

49:18 – Not everyone will enjoy podcasting or YouTubing – so make sure you don’t invest a lot of money at first to see where you are.

50:06 – Educational content topic continued. Contributing to coder depositories. What’s the best way to get into that?

50:28 – Chuck: Some will say: This one is good for a newbie to tackle. You just reach out – don’t just pick it up and tackle it – I would reach out to the person first. Understand what they need and then work on it, because they might have 2 other people working on it.

51:11 – Divya: Hacktoberfest – Digital Ocean – they publish opensource projects.

52:22 – Yeah check it out because you can get a free t-shirt!

53:50 – Chuck: Doing the work that the hotshots don’t want to do. It helps everyone out, but it might not be the most glamorous job. 

55:11 – Spelling mistakes – scan the code base.

55:43 – Divya: If you do small contributions that people DON’T want to do – then these contributors will see you and you will be on their radar. You start building a relationship. Eventually people will start giving you more responsibilities, etc.

56:59 – Chuck: I have seen people been contributors through Ruby on Rails. They got the gig because the core team sees your previous work is reliable and good work.

57:26 – Is there a core contributor guideline?

57:37 – Good question. If Divya likes you then you are in.

57:47 – It’s Evan who makes those decisions, but we are working on a formal guideline.

58:52 – Will they kick you out?

59:00 – Unless they were doing bad stuff that means pain for other people you won’t get kicked out.

59:33 – Representing Vue to some degree, too. The people who are representing Vue are apart of it. We are trying to get a better answer for it, so it’s complicated, but working on it.

1:00:02 – How did you get on the team? Well, I was contributing code, I was discussing ways to better x, y, and z. Evan invited me to come into the core team. Basically he did it so he wouldn’t have to keep babysitting us.

1:01:06 – Chuck.

1:01:20 – Panelist.

1:01:48 – Panelist: One of our core team members got his job because he was answering questions from the community. He is not a software developer by training, but his background is a business analyst. You don’t have to contribute a ton of code. He was a guest so check out the past episode. See show notes for links.

1:03:05 – Chuck: We need to go to picks and I think that topic would be great for Joe!

1:03:24 – Advertisement – Fresh Books!








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