Are you the type of person that just wants to do everything themselves? Maybe, you’re the type that likes to do everything themselves, like home stuff, work stuff, you never need any help. You just think that nobody else can do it as well as you can. Well, I used to be like that; I used to have that attitude. It’s too much work working with other people. There are too many different personalities, you have to wait for other people to do things, and we just need to get things done now. They won’t do it right anyway, so you just might as well do it yourself. I used to be like that, but I am definitely not like that anymore.
Setting Value to Your Time
I first started out to get away from that mentality and realizing to set a value on your time, to set a value on your hourly time, you get paid by the hour or you get paid on a salary for your job. But, a lot of people never take the time to put a price on the hourly wage that they think they are worth. If you are cutting your grass and you are a neurosurgeon that doesn’t really make sense unless you enjoy cutting your grass. I know some crazy people out there, love cutting their grass. Unless you actually enjoy it, then why are you doing it? You could hire somebody for a lot cheaper than what a neurosurgeon’s time is worth when you could just be hiring somebody else out to cut your grass.
Also, in the context of work, where I am with my company TechSnips and just in the IT community in general, years ago when I started contributing doing content and training courses, I thought that there was only one way to do things. I would just be the one doing pretty much everything, I would do entire training courses, I still do entire training courses sometimes, but not very often anymore. I would be the one to do all of the writing, I would be the one to do all of the blogging, and it really never occurred to me that some of these tasks other people could help me with, and at the same time, that would not only help me but it would help other people.
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There Is Power in Groups
The experience I want to tell you about today is with TechSnips. So, if you’re not familiar, TechSnips.io is my new startup and we call ourselves an IT career development platform. It’s where a bunch of us come together and produce short how-to screencast and all kinds of IT stuff, there’s a lot PowerShell stuff in there, there is a lot of cloud stuff, virtualization, all kinds of IT things. What we are starting on now, we are going through an experiment.
When I first started TechSnips, they were just going to be short videos that have no relationship to one another. They were not going to be a link, they were just going to be a big kind of library of content on the TechSnips.io site.
However, I’m starting an experiment, so I have decided since we have so much content now, we have got almost 400 short videos on the site. A lot of these can be linked together to form a more cohesive unit, like a training course for example. TechSnips.io will never be just about training courses per say, but what we can do is we can build up, we can get all that content and put it in a way to create a course. This aspect I’ve been putting together recently, and I am primarily the one, well I’m the only one at this point, I designed the curriculum, I designed the introduction slides and stuff. So, TechSnips.io there is no slides, but of course, you need some slides to introduce some concepts. I have been putting together this course on managing active directory on PowerShell. I will introduce it when it is published, but for now, I have found that it’s so rewarding to be able to recruit people and have people volunteer to sign up to do these snippets. So right now, I have designed how it’s all going to be laid out, how it is going to flow and I am essentially the guide in.
Getting Help Can Be Rewarding
We have multiple TechSnips contributors that contribute short videos, 5-10 minutes, something like that of various concepts that coincide with whatever the curriculum is within the course. Once they do that, they just independently publish the videos and then I am in charge of putting them all together. If it was just me doing all of this, this would take me forever. I was just asked the question about how long it would typically take you to do a two to a three-hour course. It would usually take me a hundred hours myself. That is doing everything, that is doing the research, building any code, any documentation that is necessary, doing the presenting, doing the editing, getting everything done.
Now I believe we have up to 30-38 contributors now with TechSnips and any of the published contributors are allowed to contribute to the big course that we are working on. What I have found is that it is so nice not to have to feel alone and feel like I have all of this work to do. Now, I can just pick and choose. “Oh, Nick Rimmer over here, he did this one, so I can just drag and drop this on into the course. Okay, that little piece is done.” Or, “Matt McElderry did this one.” Okay, drag and drop this one over here. Anthony did this one, drag and drop. They have built the blocks for me to build this course. It’s a community effort which is really cool because it really gives you a sense of, without sounding too fluffy and too pie in the sky stuff, it’s really rewarding to be a part of something. I have been very independent for a long time, honestly, I still am but I have never really felt part of something. I have never been one to go to those team building exercises with the company or felt like rah-rah you all are going to get behind something.
Benefiting Not Only You but Others as Well
But, it was not until TechSnips that I realized that it’s different now, I don’t know why I feel different now, but it’s great. Not only is TechSnips getting a benefit out of this, obviously because we are going to sell the course and make money. Hopefully, it will build the TechSnips brand but also the contributors get a share of the money too. Where everybody’s in it, nobody gets a straight pay for just about anything, everybody has a certain percentage of what they make depending on what they do.
Everybody’s activity is aligned with the goals of the company which is great. I’ve worked for many companies to where you obviously are just a salaried employee and I felt no connection whatsoever. I did not feel part of a team, I just sit here and do nothing, I’ll still get paid the same. What is the point of even trying, I need to have some type of motivation by me and this is what TechSnips has that is really valuable? Since TechSnips is built around the contributors, it is all about the contributors. It has allowed me to realize that there’s something more powerful, I don’t know what it is, there is something more powerful about building a team and not doing everything yourself, learning how to delegate. I was just telling Anthony Howell, he’s our new VP of content, I was just telling him that it is really cool that I am trying to delegate things as much as possible at that point you really have to trust people, and I trust everyone on the team as much as I can. It’s really great to be able to work with a bunch of talented people and to trust them and to know that if I come up with some crazy idea that we need 50 videos to do this course, so we need 50 videos for a client, they all get together and work together and make stuff happen. It really is a rewarding feeling.
Not an Advertisement
Now, this is not a big advertisement for TechSnips, it probably sounds that way, but I always like to keep these personal. This is a feeling that I kind of felt today as I was putting together this course about community and getting involved, whether it’s TechSnips or something else or even if it is in your job or your work or a professional organization or somewhat. If you’re just an independent self-righteous curmudgeon like I can be if somebody like me can be converted and to realize the power of a community, and the power of multiple like-minded people coming together for a common goal, pretty much anybody can be swayed.