I wonder if there is any industry which changes faster than Web Development? I wonder if there is another industry in which people so freely relinquish their valuable knowledge?
This slide from the great talk that Ada Rose Edwards gave at ffconf, still had me smiling days later… and even more so as I tried to find a copy of the slide from the talk (more details below):
I love the “Share what you learn” mentality that so many people in Web Development appear to have. While musing on this it occurs to me that maybe it is innate. I run a code club for primary school pupils, and quite frequently the pupils will use their new found skills to write ‘how-to’ guides for the other pupils to learn from. I recall the thrill, in the mid-90’s, when I first realised you could “View Source” and instantly, and without cost, see the underlying code that was used to build those early websites. I’ve observed that same thrill when the 9 & 10 year-olds I teach discover this for themselves, and quickly transition to self-guided learning… and even self-guided sharing.
Rather wonderfully apt, is how I just made the screen grab above. After much searching of twitter, and looking through Ada’s site I couldn’t find a photo of that slide from ffconf, however I did find Ada’s github repo, which included the source of the deck, which uses Jekyll! Hence I was able to clone the repo, run it locally and take the screen grab. Additionally in looking through Ada’s repo, there is more detail about using Jekyll for creating, and sharing presentations… This tangential-yet-connected learning, feels very much in-line with the hypertext references which form the basis of the Web itself.
If I’m honest, my original plan for this post, included discussing fatigue, imposter syndrome, the problems with a lack of attention. But actually, focusing on the the positives, I wonder if it is this constant learning, the perpetual discovery and access to a global platform which enables me to freely share these discoveries as I go, which completes a virtuous circle. In trying to share what we’ve learned, we have to make our own understanding more concrete. After all, if you can’t explain it to a 6 year old, or project manager, or a sales person, or a CEO… then you probably don’t understand it well enough.