As developers, we come up with a lot of awesome ideas. Or, rather, we come up with a lot of ideas that we think are awesome. It seems to be a pretty universal trait of developers, that we get caught up in the architecture, design, novelty, or difficulty of an idea and convince ourselves that that alone makes it awesome. We spend hours, days, weeks, and sometimes months building out these “awesome” ideas, and the deeper down the rabbit hole we get the more awesome our idea becomes.
We’re creative thinkers - inventors - and we’re easily excited by our ideas. We get lost in the build phase, and are totally stumped when we show off what we built and get a less than stellar response. We create a reality distortion field when we build something. We get so involved in the process of building something that whatever we’re building gains merit simply because we built it. We are proud of what we build, and that pride allows us to live in a happy little world where all of our ideas are awesome.
The cool thing about this pride effect is that it scales. I’ve been a part of a couple different projects that, in retrospect, were awful ideas. However, each of those projects had a strong core following that all thought the project was totally awesome. The trick was that each of those people joined early enough that they ended up building some personal relationship with the founders. They provided key insight into how the project was built, and ended up feeling their own sense of ownership and pride in how the project evolved.
For most sites, this sort of scaling can’t go on for long. At some point the founders won’t be able to interact with each user personally, and new members will start to view the site without any “founder bias”. This is when a site either sinks or swims, based on if the original idea and the current execution is actually good.
I recently joined a site that, I think, can achieve the impossible and scale the pride effect infinitely. Pullup.io is a community site that you can only join by submitting a Pull Request. In order to join and contribute to the community, you have to actually build something. You can build whatever you want - whether it’s a small bug fix or a total redefinition of what Pullup is, any PR will gain you membership. Pullup is very young and still figuring out what it is, but so far the community is very strong and everyone has a deep sense of ownership.
The sense of ownership mixed with total flexibility to build what you want has turned Pullup into a really interesting experiment. Programmers are tinkerers - we have a lot of fun ideas, and are always excited to gather some data about how they work in the real world. Pullup is an awesome place to express that creativity - as long as you’ve got the time and the programming chops, you can turn Pullup into whatever you want. We try to be pretty easy-going about bugs and weird architecture decisions, to avoid people feeling like they’re not “good enough” to contribute. Pullup is all about enabling people to bring their various skills and ideas, merge those together, and build something truly awesome.
I’d encourage you to come check out Pullup. Right now we’re a discussion site filled with people who actually know what they’re talking bout. But, if that doesn’t sound awesome, then come make Pullup whatever you think is cooler. I guarantee that we’ll all think it’s awesome, because we all built it together.